Thursday 21 September 2017

'What we had was truly unique' - Heartbroken fiancé of tragic fire victim Grace McDermott

Colin and Grace in happier times
Colin and Grace in happier times

Kathy Armstrong

The heartbroken fiancé of tragic Grace McDermott has penned a touching open letter to her, calling her "my girl, my hero."

New York native Grace (26) died in a house fire in Annacotty, Limerick on May 1.

Her devastated partner Colin O'Neill reminisced about meeting her in Melbourne in 2012 and the love they shared.

Writing on the Women Are Boring blog, which Grace co-founded, he said: "Over the past few weeks your friends and family have told me how much you loved me.

"I can’t tell you how nice that was to hear, but I already knew. You were so incredible at showing me. I have never felt love like the love you gave me.

"You told me all the time and I could even tell when you looked at me. You made me the happiest man in the world when you agreed to marry me, I’m sitting here picturing your face that day.

Colin has thanked Grace for all she taught him
Colin has thanked Grace for all she taught him

"It was the best day of my life and I keep trying to replay it in my head."
He continued to speak candidly about his grief and what might have been.

He said: "Each morning I wake up to the same ritual of horror. For a fleeting second my hazy mind forgets, then I remember that I have lost you all over again.

"So perpetual, it feels almost routine at this point and the worst part of all is that I can’t see that feeling ever ending...

Read More: 'The same songs, hymns and flowers' - Devastated mum of US lecturer swapping wedding plans for funeral

Scene of the fire in Limerick and inset Grace McDermott
Scene of the fire in Limerick and inset Grace McDermott

"Though I know that this might sound arrogant, I believe what we had was truly unique.

"I try to tell myself that if the world was meant to lose you on that date, how lucky was I that I got to spend the last five years of your life being loved by you.

"I go through all the usual emotions, daily. In my selfish hours, I feel hard done by, but I am still here. I know how wonderful your life was and I know how much you achieved, but you were taken too soon.

"You would have been a fierce and amazing mother and I know how much we both wanted that. It’s just unfair."

Colin also said that he is determined to honour Grace by living his life as she would have wanted.

He said: "I will try to live my life in a way that would make Grace McDermott proud of me. I will keep my chin up and try to achieve anything I feel she would approve of.

"I know my life will never be the same but that is something I must live with and walk with (I can hear her screaming at me now ‘different doesn’t mean bad’) but I will have to disagree with her on that one.

"I suppose I just miss my best friend."

Read More: 'Grace's fiancé was her first love, and Ireland her second' - Sister's tribute at funeral of fire victim

He finished his emotional post by thanking the DCU lecturer for all she did for him.

He said: "I love you Grace. Thank you for being my number 1 fan, for teaching me how to be a better human and for choosing me to be your life partner.

"I just wish it lasted another 50 years."

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