Wednesday 23 May 2018

'I have no regrets, only that I have to leave right now' - Emma Hannigan's words read out at moving service

Emma Hannigan's wicker coffin is carried into Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Emma Hannigan's mass card
Model Alison Canavan arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mary Mitchell O'Connor arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Author Claudia Carroll arrives with a friend at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

“I have no regrets, only that I have to leave right now," these were the words of best selling author Emma Hannigan, which were delivered at a moving service in Dublin today.

Fr Gerry Byrne officiated at the service in Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock this morning, where he read out the words prepared by Emma. He was the chaplain at Blackrock Clinic and knew her throughout her cancer journey.

Author Claudia Carroll arrives with a friend at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Author Claudia Carroll arrives with a friend at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

In the speech she recalled her idyllic childhood, meeting her husband Cian and having her two children before settling in a house beside her parents, and how she would talk to the members of her family every day.

“I hope you know I will be there in your hearts, and you will always be in mine,” she said.

Model Alison Canavan arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Model Alison Canavan arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

She had a special message for her kids Sacha and Kim. “Keep dancing both of you, keep having fun, be careful won't you. Never go out on your own, and stay with a group.”

Her wicker coffin was adorned with a picture of Emma, sparkly shoes, one of her books and an angel.

“Yes, life was great, surrounded by my family and so many great friends. I can hold my head up and say, 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.

“My cancer fight was up there for all to read on Facebook or through my blog.

Aislinn O'Loughlin arrives at the church for Emma Hannigan's funeral. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Aislinn O'Loughlin arrives at the church for Emma Hannigan's funeral. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“The peer to peer support I received there was priceless. I had such loyal readers and followers who took my hand and walked along by my side.

“To each person I met along my way, thank you. Thank you for helping to shape my life.”

Mary Mitchell O'Connor arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mary Mitchell O'Connor arrives at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock for the funeral of best-selling author Emma Hannigan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“They say all things happen for a reason. 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. So I will try to be gracious about it,” she said.

She said there is enough sadness, suffering and strife in the world. “Let the laughter be heard.”

She said “let the sparkles break through.”

Fr Byrne described her as a “bright star that rose high and sparked".

She had picked the music for the service herself, including Smile by Michael Jackson. A harpist and flutist played “She’s Like the Wind” as her coffin left the church.

Prayer of the Faithful were said for all those who cared for Emma all the years of her illness, her “other family” in the Blackrock Clinic.

The mourners were led by her devastated husband Cian, children, Sacha and Kim, parents Philip and Denise and her brother Timmy and sister-in-law, Hilary.

Emma passed away last Saturday morning at the Blackrock Clinic following an 11-year-battle with cancer at the age of 45. 

After the best-selling author recently revealed she did not have long to live, she turned her efforts to raising money for Breast Cancer Ireland.

The Wicklow native was the charity’s ambassador.

Fr Byrne told mourners that over €125,000 has now been raised by their efforts.

There was a huge outpouring of support, when on social media on 16 February, Emma revealed that: “the time I knew was borrowed must be given back soon, so it seems.”

Following the mass, the author was buried today at Shanganagh Cemetery, Shankill.

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