Friday 30 September 2016

Carrey joins heartbroken family at funeral of tragic Cathriona White

Mourners pay tribute to the 'small-town girl' who followed her dreams all the way to Hollywood

Published 11/10/2015 | 02:30

She was a "small-town girl" with big dreams who wasn't afraid to pursue them. She made her boyfriend, the Hollywood actor Jim Carrey, watch televised GAA matches at all hours of the night. She was strong-willed and so tough that as a football player in Cappawhite no-one wanted to mark her.

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The spirit of Cathriona White was captured in words spoken by her younger brother, Tadgh, at her funeral Mass in Our Lady of Fatima Church in the small Tipperary town yesterday.

Carrey was among the hundreds of mourners, having flown to Ireland on a private plane. He sat among her tearful and heartbroken family and relatives, in a grey suit, looking sombre and slightly stunned by it all. Afterwards, he was one of six pall bearers who shouldered her coffin on foot to the graveyard a short distance away.

Cathriona (30) was found dead in her rented LA home last Monday week after apparently taking her own life. She had broken up with Carrey days before, ensuring international media attention around the death of the beautician and make-up artist. There were stories about her immigration status in the US, a marriage and a reported interest in Scientology.

Yesterday, mourners at her funeral were reminded of Cathriona in happier times, starting with her beloved football.

The gifts brought to her coffin by her loved ones told much of the story of her life. Her GAA gear and her jersey demonstrated her passion for the GAA. "Being in LA didn't deter her from being an avid GAA supporter. She introduced her American friends to the sport and even had Jim and his family watching matches live at ridiculous times," said her step-brother Tadgh.

GRIEF: Hollywood actor Jim Carrey pictured carrying the coffin of his former girlfriend Cathriona White
GRIEF: Hollywood actor Jim Carrey pictured carrying the coffin of his former girlfriend Cathriona White
Members of the White family at the Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cappawhite, Co Tipperary
Members of the White family at the Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cappawhite, Co Tipperary

He recalled her football career first at Newcastle and then Clonmel Og. "Her slight frame was no disadvantage because she was tough and nobody wanted to mark her," he said.

Another relative carried up her camera, a new pursuit that she was determined to be successful in. "She had so many photography books but in reality she didn't need them. The ability she had you can't learn. She had a gift for capturing the beauty in everything and everyone," said Tadgh.

Her make-up brushes symbolised her courage and determination. "She was a talented hairdresser and make-up artist, so where bigger can you go than Hollywood. She was a small fish in a big sea but she did not let that get in her way."

There were family photos because family meant so much to her. "She had a desire to love and be loved, and in the short time they spent with her, they all felt loved by her and will carry that with them forever."

Cathriona White funeral. Jim Carrey with Cathrionas coffin on the way to the graveyard Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 10/10/15
Cathriona White funeral. Jim Carrey with Cathrionas coffin on the way to the graveyard Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 10/10/15
Jim Carrey carries the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in her home village of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary ahead of her funeral. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Cathriona White funeral. jim Carrey pictured arriving for the funeral. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 10/10/15
Cathriona White funeral. Jim Carrey pictured with Cathrionas sister Lisa Ahern (left). Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 10/10/15

Fr Tadgh Furlong, the parish priest of Cappawhite, recalled her short life's journey from her schooldays, her time as a junior member of the Legion of Mary, an altar server at the church where she was baptised in 1985. And after school, her time working in Clonmel, then London and finally her move to Los Angeles, where she was determined to make it.

For her step-sister, Sarah, Cathriona had a capacity to love that touched them all.

"When I started writing this I didn't know where to begin," she told mourners at the end of the service. "How do you summarise such an amazing life in just a few words. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realise I just needed one word, love. Catrhiona had such an amazing capacity to love and to be loved."

Love was the constant in her life, from beginning to end, she said.

Jim Carrey carries the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in her home village of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary ahead of her funeral. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Jim Carrey carries the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in her home village of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary ahead of her funeral. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The remains of Cathriona White arrive at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cappawhite Co Tipperary with Cappawhite Ladies Football Team forming a Guard of Honour
Family members

"Anyone who saw her lurking around LA with a camera, trying to capture the poor conditions in which the homeless were forced to live, will know not just her love and talent for photography but also her desire for the world to be a better place because she was in it. And it was," she said.

Cathriona did not make it home to her father Pat's funeral after he died of cancer in 2012, which friends said left her devastated.

Yesterday, her step-sister Sarah said that Cathriona "was more of a daddy's girl than anyone I've ever met. Being here again in such a short amount of time is unimaginably difficult for us. We can take some comfort in the knowledge that Cathriona and Pat are together again," she said.

"There is no easy fix for grief, particularly when we have lost somebody so young with so much left to give," she said.

"Cathriona it is so hard to imagine life without you, because there is no without you. Love is not as fickle and unpredictable as life is. As long as you are loved, you are still here. And you are so loved."

Cathriona was buried in Cappawhite cemetery. Afterwards, family invited everyone back to the Community Resource Centre for tea and sandwiches where Jim Carrey joined them.

The chief mourners at Cathriona's funeral were her sister Lisa, her brother James, step-siblings Larina, Sarah and Tadgh, her mother Brigid, her step mother, Brid, her grandmother Lily, grandfather, James, and many other in-laws, nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts, and a wide circle of friends.

Sunday Independent

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