Monday 16 September 2019

'I wished I hugged you before you left, that is my only regret' - mum's heartbreaking letter to late daughter leaves Ryan Tubridy close to tears

Ciara Lawlor from Kilkenny fell ill at Marlay Park concert
Ciara Lawlor from Kilkenny fell ill at Marlay Park concert

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

IRISH mother, Eimear Lawlor, penned a heart-breaking letter to her late daughter Ciara, which left Ryan Tubridy struggling for words on air yesterday.

Ciara Lawlor (17) died tragically in July 2016, after collapsing at a Kodaline concert in Marlay Park.

As part of the ‘Letter Never Sent’ series on the Ryan Tubridy show on RTE Radio One, Eimear’s letter to her daughter was read out on air by the host.

Tubridy, who was lost for words after reading the letter, had to take a break to regather himself. He sounded close to tears as he said, “I’m not sure what to say about that.”

The letter started reminiscently with memories of Ciara as a baby.  

“Do you remember me telling Dad I was pregnant with you and he hugged me and said, 'we’re a family now',” it began.

“You arrived into this world in St. Luke’s hospital in Kilkenny at 8.40am on August 25, 1998. Jack had a baby sister. I pushed you and Jack in the double-buggy while he protectively held your hand and called you Bobby. Was it that he wanted a baby brother or just couldn’t say Ciara because he was only one-and-a-half?

“Do you remember when your baby brother Barry arrived two years after you were born? Do you remember how the two of you would laugh and chat for hours in your room? You were so pretty with the head of brown hair, which was to be replaced with the unruly curly hair with the spirit of its own and no matter how I tried to tame it, it bounced back to the wild mane of curls.

“I know you must have cried when you were a baby, all babies do, but I honestly can’t remember you crying. You never gave me any trouble. You asked me so many questions, you wanted to meet everyone. Do you remember how you loved Christmas, family time? You loved everyone in your family. You loved that you had three aunties and six uncles and 25 cousins. Do you remember our mother-daughter Saturdays?”

She continued in the letter as she happily recounted how close her relationship was with her daughter. Their relationship extended further than just mother-and-daughter and Eimear remembered how she was her Ciara’s best-friend.

“Do you remember you changed school in second class? When the girls in your new school asked you who is your best friend you said 'my Mammy' and they laughed at you, but you didn’t care, I was your best friend.

“Do you remember what your friends in secondary school used to say when they shared a secret with you? They would always finish their stories saying, 'and Ciara don’t tell your Mother!' but you did, you told me all your friends secrets.

“Do you remember when you put eye-shadow on me and said that you loved putting eye-shadow on my wrinkly eyelids?”

Eimear’s letter took a heartbreaking turn, as she described the days around the tragic death of her daughter.

“Do you remember you left me for the Kodaline concert on the Friday afternoon in July 2016? You were so happy with all your friends. I wished I hugged you before that, before you left. That is my only regret.

“Family, neighbours and friends silently lined the street as you were brought back home to Kilkenny on a Monday evening. On a Wednesday morning in July we said goodbye, but you will always be forever my angel and always in our hearts and minds.

“Lots of love and hugs, Mammy.”

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