It was the look of love between stunning bride Elaine O’Brien and her new husband Pakie, but what was meant to be the happiest day of their lives was overshadowed by sadness.
Newlywed Elaine had just fulfilled her lifelong wish – to be the belle of the ball on her own Big Day.
But the 25-year-old had just weeks left to live, as she had been diagnosed with tongue cancer just fifteen months earlier.
Their four-year-old daughter Lexie joined the crowd in Nicker Church, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick last August as a proud flower-girl for her mum and dad’s wedding day.
“When the doctors told her they couldn’t do anymore for her, I asked Elaine in the hospital car-park that day what her one wish was,” Elaine’s aunt Hanora told independent.ie
“I knew it before she answered, she wanted to get married.”
Four months after the wedding, the proud mum left her hospice care and went Christmas shopping with her aunt Hanora.
It was the following day, December 20, that she passed away at home surrounded by her loved ones.
Elaine was laid to rest the Monday before Christmas, her wish that she would enjoy a wedding day with her long-term boyfriend Pakie and her daughter Lexie granted.
“The wedding day was great,” Hanora said.
“We were a little worried thinking it was going to be very emotional and we wondered would Elaine be up to it, but she never wanted any negativity and it was a lovely, lovely day.”
The wedding took just seven weeks to plan with the help of the Clare’s Wish Foundation who organised a lot of the day, including the couple’s photographer.
“There’s good days and bad days now,” Hanora said.
“Pakie is a bit lost alright, he never left Elaine’s side. She was never on her own in the hospice and would come out a lot to visit family. Lexie doesn’t really understand much about what happened, she’s too young,” she continued.
“The last year and a half have been tough, Elaine was diagnosed in May 2012 but we never really thought it would come to this.”
By Denise Calnan