Wednesday 26 July 2017

Family came first for brave Patricia

Patricia Cullen 1944 - 2012

Patricia Cullen's brave three year battle against Motor Neureone Disease ended on October 22nd when she died peacefully in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

She died surrounded by her family, including husband, Pat who lovingly cared for Patricia during her illness at their home in Medebawn off the Avenue Road in Dundalk.

The couple had endured a long and at times frustrating battle with the HSE to secure the medical help and comforts for Patricia to be cared for in her home by Pat and his family.

Eventually with the help of the MND Association, Patricia was provided with the support that she needed not just to survive but to enable her to communicate with her family.

Patricia was one of a family of 13 of Jim and Elizabeth Fergus from Hyde Park in Dundalk, and is survived by her eight brothers and four sisters, the majority of home live in the town.

Educated locally, Patricia was working as a dental nurse in Eugene McEnteggart's practice in town when she met her future husband, Pat, a native of Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow.

He had been a cook with a shipping line operating regular gypsum shipments between Dundalk and Glasgow when he required some dental work.

A few years later the couple emigrated to Australia where they married almost 44 years ago.

Their first child, Barry was born in Australia and after four years living in Melbourne the family returned to Ireland and built a new home in Wicklow.

In 1970 and with work in short supply in Wicklow the family, at Patricia's suggestion, moved back to her home town where Pat found work in Macardle Moore where he remained for 28 years until his retirement.

Over the 44 years of their marriage, moving home almost became a way of life with Pat and Patricia and in total they moved 14 times.

Apart from the move from Australia to Wicklow, the couple built three homes in Dundalk, and resided in a variety of locations round town including Shore Road, Greenacres, Blackrock, and the Avenue Road where they settled eight years ago.

Indeed it was a standing joke in the Cullen household, often repeated between Pat and Patricia that on one occasion Patricia found herself in her car on Hill Street Bridge in a confused state of mind as she was unable to remember where she lived at that time.

In all the homes that the couple shared, Patricia's excellent taste in decor and furnishings was always evident, and she readily undertook the decorating herself on occasions.

She also had a love for knitting and sewing and took a great interesting in gardening.

Family was paramount in Patricia's life and she lived for her children and grandchildren. Indeed her love of children extended to caring for the children of neighbours and friends in her own home.

Her illness, for which there is no cure, was diagnosed three years ago, but she never complained and retained her sense of humour, even when it became progressively more difficult to communicate her wishes.

On one such occasion her husband, Pat, on seeing her frustration at her inability to speak, endeavoured to unlock her thoughts by penning a poem titled 'Patricia' and which contained the lines ' this is not the real me, but a shell I used to know' . . . and concluded ' this is not the end so don't pity me at all. So put Danny Boy (her favourite song) on hold maybe for just a while, the pipes, the pipes are calling, but I still have a smile'.

Patricia's courage and the dignity she showed throughout her illness remain a beacon of inspiration for her family and many others.

Patricia is survived by her husband, Pat, sons, Barry (Bettystown) and Fergus (Bay Estate), daughter, Louise ( Blackrock), brothers, Jim, Oliver, Gerry, Noel, Paddy, Brian, Colm and Joe, all of whom live in Dundalk.

Another brother, Paddy resides in Chester in England and sister, Elizabeth resides in Isle of Man and Patricia's three other sisters, Mary Dawe, Kitty Morgan and Anna Durnin reside in Dundalk.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Fionn, Oisin, Angie, Riley, Oscar, Rumy, Morrisey and Erika, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

Having reposed at her home, Patricia's remains were taken to St. Joseph's Redemptorist Church where Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. E. Hoey, Adm., St. Joseph's who gave the eulogy.

The Readings and Prayers of Intercession were led by daughter, Louise, sons, Barry and Fergus, granddaughter, Erika Brady, niece, Audrey Fergus, nephew Damien Fergus, and also her son's partner Connie.

The music, including five of Patricia's favourite songs, were performed by soloist, Roisin Crawley and the organist was Olivia Finnegan.

After Mass burial took place in St. Patrick's cemetery and the exceptional attendance at the Mass and interment was testament to the admiration many held for Patricia.

Month's Mind Mass in St. Joseph's Redemptorist Church on November 18th at 12.30 p.m.

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