Our father, Seamus, was born in Tannaghmore, one hundred years ago today. When he died at the age of 85, he left behind his wife, seven children and eight grandchildren. Since his death, a further seven great-grandchildren have been born. And although he never knew them, he would have adored them, every one.
Our mother, Martha did get to meet one of those great-grandchildren, our Miss Martha. That baby brought Mum such a lot of joy in the year before she died. Mum was thrilled to know that there were two more great-grandchildren on the way that year. Ava, born a few months after Mum died and then Evie, three months after Ava.
Who would have dreamed then that the next person to die in this family would be little Ava at eight years old? Brave, beautiful Ava who smiled (usually), frowned (occasionally), or stuck her tongue out (often) whenever someone took her picture. Ava, who lost the use of both legs and her right arm but who kept on painting, drawing, making and crafting with her left. Ava, who loved musicals and old films and sunflowers and cats and her beloved family. Ava, who had very strong opinions and was not afraid to air them.
Ava died in the early hours of Friday morning, fourteen months after her cancer diagnosis. She will be laid to rest today, on her great-grandfather Seamus' one-hundredth birthday.
She leaves behind the parents who adored her, her two big brothers and two little sisters. Also, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and one last remaining great-grandfather. Please remember them all today and in days to come.
These are a few of the charities that supported Ava and her family during her illness. One, in particular, will continue to support them in their bereavement and that is The Cancer Fund For Children.
Other organisations that provided support to Ava and her family are, Macmillan NI and Horizon House, Newtownabbey where Ava's wake took place.
Any of these organisations are worth supporting as the help given to Ava, her mum and dad, and her sisters and brothers, was invaluable.