Griefstricken dad of tot who died in bath reads poem for his little boy
'There are no words to describe the happiness you brought us'
IN just a month's time, baby Anthony Williams Daly would have been celebrating his first birthday. But the balloons that would have appeared at his party were instead carried at his funeral yesterday.
It was a heartbreaking sight -- a grieving father carrying his baby son's tiny white coffin into the church as Anthony's mother sobbed uncontrollably.
The small table in front of the altar at the Church of the Resurrection in Farranree, Cork, easily accommodated the coffin that held little Anthony's body.
Around it were tokens of the infant's short but full life, including his bottle, a rattle and a six-pack of Tayto Snax, for which the 11-month old had already developed a taste.
Instead of a birthday celebration, parents Frederick Williams and Maryann Daly celebrated the short life that had brought them so much happiness and joy -- but which ended all too soon at the family home in Onslow Gardens at Blackpool, Cork, on Monday.
Baby Anthony slipped beneath the water at bathtime. Despite frantic efforts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the Mercy University Hospital that night.
Fighting back tears yesterday, his father Frederick recited a poem in church that paid tribute to his young son's life.
"There are no words to describe the happiness you brought into our lives, the joy you gave us. We were so happy, we could have cried," he said.
"We watched you grow bigger and bigger each day, smiling and laughing. We thought it was forever. Then one day not long ago, it was destined for Anto that he was to go."
The boy's father spoke of how their hearts had been taken when Anthony took his last breath as they bathed him.
He said the one thing their little son would have known was how loved he was and that he'd never be forgotten by Daddy and Mammy, who would keep him in their hearts forever.
"We know you're in one of the stars every night, laughing and smiling. We know you will be there crying and then one day you're going to call us and say, 'Daddy and Mammy, I love you but you must stay.'"
He thanked the gardai, ambulance staff, nurses, doctors and all who had helped -- especially the extended families.
Farranree's parish priest, Fr Sean O'Driscoll, brought mourners back to the day -- just 11 months ago -- when Anthony came into the world.
He said it was a day filled with great joy and excitement for his parents, brother James, sisters Bridget and Brittany, and his grandparents.
"He was loved and welcomed. Little did we imagine that 11 months later we'd be saying goodbye to him. It's hard for us to imagine the sense of grief and loss Frederick and Maryann must be going through.
"We are brought into this world as gifts to our families and Anthony arrived as a gift to his family.
"But we don't know for how long that gift will be shared.
"For Anthony, that gift was a very short time to be shared with his family and loved ones. It was given on loan by God for a very short time."
Fr O'Driscoll said Anthony had been lavished with love all that time and had also given back so much to his loved ones by lifting their hearts.
The priest said he knew that the Christian community would now reach out to them in their time of grief and that the Good Shepherd would guide them through the darkness to a place of light.
As the tiny coffin made its final journey from the church, pupils from Scoil Aiseiri Chriost, where Anthony's brother James is a pupil, formed a guard of honour.
Little bubbles filled the bright air outside the church on Cork's northside, again serving as a poignant reminder of the tiny little boy whose life was being celebrated.