MOURNERS at the funeral of a little girl who died on Christmas Day wore pink in memory of their angel 'Lulu'.
And dozens of balloons were released by the graveside for five-year-old Lucia Cleary -- 66 to mark every month of her short life, and five for the years she shared with her family.
Lucia, from the Meadows in Ballybrit, Galway city, was injured when her family car was involved in a three-car crash in storm conditions on the M6 motorway on December 18.
She was brought to University Hospital Galway and later transferred to Temple Street, Dublin, where she died on Christmas Day.
The congregation at the Church of St Oliver Plunkett in Renmore, Galway, was told that Lucia, known affectionately as Lulu, had become a new angel.
They were asked to pray for her heartbroken parents, Paul and Lisa, brother Josh and wider family.
Fr Des Forde told the congregation that they had gathered for a very sad occasion at this usually joyous time of year "to celebrate a very short life that made a very big impact in so many areas".
Speaking to her family, he added: "No matter what words we put on it, the pain of Lisa and Paul and Josh and of the Cleary and Mulrooney family cannot be taken away.
"For you are the ones that have to now bow your heads and be able to accept that she is not going to be with you any more in the way that you want or the way you'd like."
Pointing to Lucia's pink coffin and to the hundreds of mourners who had worn pink ribbons, ties and scarves in her memory, Fr Forde said the girl's favourite colour would remind everybody of this special person: "She has gone to that place where most of us won't get the premier tickets that she has got.
"Because she has gone into that place of angelhood. The rest of us will try and scrape in by our teeth just to be in the presence of God."
Fr Forde said the family had been left shattered by the accident which led to her death "on Christmas Day of all days, when God became one with us, Lucia was made one with God".
He said after Lucia died, her mother Lisa was able to hug her: "The hug was empty on one side, but was made up on the other side by a crushing hug. That's the hug of life that all of us need at this time and into the future."