Monday 11 December 2017

'Sweetheart, you always walk with us' - Sister of murdered nurse Sara Neligan pays tribute

Sara Neligan, shown at her graduation about nine years ago, was murdered in June 2007 in her apartment in Dublin
Sara Neligan, shown at her graduation about nine years ago, was murdered in June 2007 in her apartment in Dublin Newsdesk Newsdesk

Life is full of those little regrets, things left unsaid, letters left unwritten. We never regret telling someone how much they mean to us; we do regret not telling them. We never regret thanking someone, but we can be haunted by those we never thanked properly for all they did for us. And sometimes you can only see it in retrospect. This summer, we want you to get closure. We want you to write the letter you wish you had sent. We will publish the best of your letters in the Sunday Independent and there will be prizes for the nicest letters. Send your letters, including your address and contact details, to The Letter I Wish I'd Sent, LIFE magazine, Independent House, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

Nurse Sara Neligan (31) was killed on June 14 2007 at an apartment on Dublin's Pearse Street.

As the tenth anniversary of Sara's untimely death arrived this week, her sister Kate wrote a touching letter to her:


Dear Sara,

SO this letter thing pops up in last week’s Sunday Independent. They’re inviting us to write the letters that we wished we had written.

Funny, it came at a time when I was thinking of you a lot.

Not necessarily because it is 10 years this week since we lost you, but I guess it has

taken this long to reflect, to battle through the pain and to remind myself of the essence of you, lest I forget.

OK. So, to explain to the reader. You were a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a niece, a godmother and an intensive care nurse.

You excelled in each of these roles. God, were I unwell I’d be steeped to have had you nurse me with your gentle manner and calm competence

and celestial smile.

You were born to nurse and take care of people. In fact, I was always a bit jealous of your dedication to your career and how fulfilling you found it.

You made a real difference to people’s lives, you helped so many people get well. I, on the other hand, helped many investment bankers get wealthier.

When I had my children, I sense you would have swapped your role with mine (that’s sisters for you, right?

Always wanting what the other one has) and I think you wanted more than anything your own little people to shower with love. It wasn’t to be.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, you got a little lost and I really wish that we had found you.

It’s complicated, life is. You were here and then, just like that, you were gone.

You were kind, caring, compassionate, intelligent, beautiful and funny. Very, very funny.

Silly things remind me of you. Primark, tanning wipes (you never quite got the hang of those, mind), cherry tomatoes and Chanel No 5 to name but a few.

Certain songs remind me and can tug heavy on my heartstrings, but then others evoke easier memories. As it is with photographs and places.

I wish every day that I had fought harder to help you when you were struggling and to tell you how much you were truly loved.

We are all striving for something on planet Earth.

So often it is the wrong thing. (I have my eye on a Stella McCartney clutch at the minute...) But I think really the bottom line is love.

You had it and you gave it in abundance. That is your legacy.

Your life, and sadly your death, makes me want to be a better person; for my children to be better people.

So you see, sweetheart, you always walk with us.

I’m not so sure when I teeter up to the pearly gates in my Christian Louboutin’s that I will get as warm a welcome as you, dearest.

Love, hugs and helium balloons.

Your sister,


Sunday Independent

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