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2015 i-CARE Winner – Tracy Culleton

tracyCommendation Award Winner

Listen to her song here.

I am Tracy and I work as a carer for the elderly with Bluebird Care in Tipperary. I got my qualifications to become a carer with my mother, we both did the course in Limerick Senior College. Little did I know when I was doing the course how rewarding the actual work would be. I also learned to play guitar in Limerick a couple of years before that as I studied languages in UL for four years.

Well, with my skills altogether to date, I am happy to say that I wrote a song as a thank you to each of the older people I had the privilege of looking after. They each have enriched me and how I grew in faith and courage through my work. They are true gems of our society and we should continue to care for them to the best of our ability. They lived through so much more than I and some of the perks of the job is that they chat to me about old remedies and recipes, they share brown bread recipes and in season now, elderflower cordial recipe, one woman made unreal apple jelly and I am so lucky to have met these people. They pass on the different tips and techniques in arts and crafts and they highlight the therapeutic benefits of traditional crafts and gardening, and they talk frequently of what’s going on in the garden and seasonal ideas. At the moment I am knitting a cable knit sweater, I was given the pattern and encouraged by one of the nuns in the convent where I provide care. And I like the way she asks me every week how I’m getting on and I can ask her questions about the pattern. She says I look like I’m going to take off when I’m knitting.

I really have connected with so many of my interests again since the people I work and care for encourage me and chat about their experiences. In my free time I’m back gardening again, growing tomatoes and spuds and I’m painting scenery pictures, and I’m doing a bit of stone carving and of course my knitting. I even brought my guitar to the home of one of the elderly ladies I care for and I played Garth Brooks, she knew the song and she really enjoyed me singing. But when she asked for Daniel O’Donnell I had to put it away.

The management at Bluebird Care are happy to see, alongside the high standards of care provision and strict adherence to the care plans... also a nurturing relationship between staff and client and as a Bluebird Care staff member I feel that I myself am healing, growing and blossoming as a person, little by little. I am confident that the work I do is good for the client; I have support of talking about any concerns that arise with Bluebird Care management – but over the time you get to know the client and you kind of make friends with them. I too have a disability and sometimes it gets me down but care and friendship transcends all difficulties.

This time two years ago I was going through a very hard time but since Andrew and the team at Bluebird Care took me on, and got me back involved in the community again, I am really appreciative I’m doing much better now. I have grown stronger and every day now I am so blessed that I have a new motivation. I am responsible and positive and my personal dreams and goals live regardless of my limitations. I got the opportunity with Bluebird Care to help in the community and I have helped many elderly people but in turn it has helped me so much too.

One of my elderly customers used to say “Be like water, no matter how tiny the trickle it will eventually get somewhere”. “Happiness and a loving fulfilled life is not the destination it is the journey” – Glen Hansard, The Frames. Here’s a song of thanks I wrote for every one of the people I’ve met through my work as a carer. Go raibh maith agaibh go leir.

Lyrics of Song:

We Get So Much Back
– written and sung by Tracy Culleton

You may not really know this, it’s something I never said

Since my time with you, through the work that I do, I feel so grateful and glad

I’m back doing the things I love; I’m knitting my nephew gloves

You helped me along that’s why I’m singing this song to show you that I care

Chorus

We get so much back x 2

Takes you to a place of peace that you can’t find on a map, We get so much back

Your company enriches me, can’t be measured on a scales

The priceless gifts give the spirit a lift the good time we share

Chorus

I know you’re longer on this road I’m travelling just like you

In prayer we may sigh but it’s a funny ole life we could see things anew

Chorus x 2