'All that matters is love' - writer Emma's sad farewell
Best-selling author Emma Hannigan said there would "never have been enough time" to do all the things she wanted, in moving words she wrote before her death.
She bade a poignant farewell and thank you to her friends, family and loyal readers following an 11-year cancer battle at a packed service at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, in Foxrock, Dublin, yesterday.
Fr Gerry Byrne, the chaplain at the Blackrock Clinic where Emma (45) passed away last Saturday, told how she had asked him to officiate at her funeral service and planned it with him.
The much-loved author asked him to read out the words she had prepared at the service.
"I have no regrets, only that I have to leave right now," she wrote. "One thing is glaringly obvious: when it all comes down to the wire, all that matters is love. The love I have in my heart for the people who made my life worthwhile."
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In the speech, Emma recalled her "idyllic" childhood, growing up in Bray with her brother Timmy, her schooling at St Gerard's and meeting her husband Cian. "We were simply meant to be together," she said.
She recalled how the couple had their two children - Sacha and Kim - before settling in a house beside her parents and how "cancer hit for the first time in 2007".
Emma wrote lovingly about her close-knit family. "I hope you know I will be there in your hearts and you will always be in mine," she said.
Her wicker coffin was adorned with a picture of Emma, sparkly high-heeled shoes, one of her books and an angel that her daughter Kim had made for her when she was in kindergarten.
She wrote: "Life was great, surrounded by my family and so many great friends. I can hold my head up and say that I never had a day where I felt lonely or as if I had nobody to turn to. I never felt I was on my own.
"I don't want to go looking over my shoulder or waving my fist in anger. That was never my style. But the truth of the matter is this - I would never have wanted to go. There would never have been enough time."