SALLYANNE CLARKE'S friends have been helping her cope after the tragic death of her son, Andrew.
"One Day at A Time" – that is the maxim Sallyanne Clarke has been using to get through the tragic death of her 16-year-old son Andrew shortly before New Year's Day
The heartbroken mother and wife of top chef Derry Clarke has spoken to the Sunday Independent about how she and her family have been coping since their loss.
She also expressed her appreciation for a night organised by friends to help encourage people back into their restaurant L'Ecrivain.
"Sometimes people don't know what to say but what can they say? Just being there, that's what matters.
"We threw ourselves back into work last week and have been working our full rosters since, with one day off a week. We just want to keep busy.
"We still have a business to run and 30 people are employed at the restaurant who all need to keep their jobs. We just have to get on with it.
"I didn't find out about it [the party] until Thursday, but seeing everyone there and so many supporting us, it was really special."
Speaking about her loss, Sallyanne said that the huge outpouring of emotion through letters and cards was also helping her family cope with the tragedy.
She said: "We have been really moved by it all. We're doing as expected. It depends on the day – some days are okay, others not so much but we just have to take it one day at a time.
"The words from my mother Sadie and Andrew's best friend's grandmother Patricia, who was like a second grandmother to Andrew, probably stand out for me. They keep telling me that God had other plans for Andrew and that he is in heaven now and I have found that very comforting. But as I said, it's one day at a time."
Around 120 of the couple's friends – many from the world of showbusiness, broadcasting and the food industry – gathered together in the Baggot Street restaurant last Thursday night as a show of support.
RTE star Pat Kenny and his wife Cathy, businesswoman Norah Casey, Newstalk CEO Frank Cronin, FM104 boss Mary Nelson, celebrity photographer Barry McColl, Tara Foy and Lorraine Keane were among guests at the gathering organised by family friend Brian Kennedy.
As a source explained: "There was a bit of a concern that people would avoid the restaurant because they didn't know what to say or that they might have felt a bit awkward. But what can you say after something like this?
"Sallyanne and Derry still have a business to run so it was just about telling people it's okay, to come back in the door and also to show that they are there for them in a quiet, low-key way.
"There was no press invited and no photographers outside. This was not something that anybody wanted any publicity for. This was about a few good friends showing their support."
The source added: "There was a full house on the night but the restaurant could have been filled twice over. Derry and Sallyanne were busy working for most of the night and then came out to thank their friends and spend time with them. It was really, really lovely and you could see it meant so much to them. It really lifted them."