Thursday 18 January 2018

Shannon couldn't understand why sibling hadn't confided in her

Greg Harkin

SHANNON Gallagher and her "wee sister" Erin were like "two peas in a pod".

Both had moved to Ireland with their mother Lorraine from Scotland for a better life in the county of their great-grandparents.

Just seven weeks ago the Gallagher family's life was turned upside down when Erin, a few days short of her 14th birthday, took her own life.

It emerged she had been the subject of relentless bullying on the internet.

There were heart-breaking scenes of grief as 15-year-old Shannon, clutching her mother, walked behind Erin's coffin at the funeral on Halloween day.

Tomorrow at the same Church of St Mary Immaculate in Stranorlar, Co Donegal, friends and family will gather for another heartbreaking farewell – this time to Shannon.

After Erin's death Shannon poured her heart out in a series of Facebook posts to both her sister and her mother.

"I love you mum. You're the most perfect ever brought to this earth," wrote Shannon to her mother.

"Erin loved you so much. You were her main woman. You tried everything in your power to stop this.

"For her (Erin's) sake let's stay strong, she wouldn't want to see us upset."

Friends said Shannon would write every day to Erin as she struggled to cope with the grief of her death.

And she would tell of her devastation at her sister's death.

"Baby girl," she wrote a few days after Erin's death, "I can't believe this. I miss you so much.

"I keep waiting for you to walk through the door and tell me to man up.

"My heart's been ripped out of my chest thinking I'll never be able to have a conversation with you again," she wrote.

Shannon had bought Christmas presents earlier this week and was dreading the festive season without her sister.

She couldn't understand why Erin hadn't confided in her over her online tormentors.

"You came to me for everything. Why not this? Refusing to believe you're gone. The memories we have will last forever. I love you. Sleep tight girl," wrote Shannon.

Her mum Lorraine also used Facebook in a bid to prevent other teenage suicides, not knowing that a second daughter would take her life so soon afterwards.

Thanking thousands of well-wishers for their messages of support, she said she hoped "Erin's death can help other kids in this situation and that would mean she didn't die for nothing."

Lorraine Gallagher has been visited a second dreadful blow; the loss of a second child.

"Erin and Shannon were like two peas in a pod," said one family friend.

Tomorrow, Shannon will be laid to rest alongside her sister in Castlefin cemetery.

Irish Independent

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