Tuesday 20 August 2019

'She will always be our funny, quirky 19-year-old' - father's farewell to Jessica Moore (19) at funeral

Tragic Jessica Moore died after falling ill
Tragic Jessica Moore died after falling ill
Tribute: Family and friends carry the remains of Jessica Moore, as her mother Catherine and sister Ali look on, after her funeral Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Bullaun, Co Galway. Photo: Frank McGrath
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

She had a talent that could have "shined all around the world" - but as Jessica Moore's father Brendan sadly pointed out at the funeral of his daughter, all that was left were memories of her beautiful singing voice.

That voice, singing 'The Foggy Dew', played as the coffin of the tragic teenager was carried to her final resting place in Bullaun, Co Galway, yesterday.

The 19-year-old died in the early hours of Monday after falling unwell at her debs ball, an event which she had helped organise as a sixth-year pupil of St Raphael's College in Loughrea.

Her classmates wore their school uniforms as they mourned their friend outside the packed rural church in a week which should have been filled with celebration for them - their CAO offers waiting for them yesterday afternoon.

Jess, a member of Loughrea Youth Theatre, was remembered for her musical talents throughout the emotional ceremony: her guitar was brought up to the altar as a gift, while her dad Brendan recalled how he used to joke with her that her talents would one day be part of her parents' pension fund.

Delivering a moving eulogy, he told her friends to mind each other as they go out into the world together and to always think of their dear friend Jessica.

"She lived her short life to the full, always in the middle of it - but never wanting to be the centre of attention," he said.

"Our girl loved to sing and perform. Even in Jess's toughest days she would love drama - her performances in 'Les Miserables', 'Cat in the Hat' and 'Hairspray' showed just how brilliantly talented she was. Only lately she said she missed performing because she had stepped back for her Leaving Cert year.

"Music and singing were Jess's comfort zone, her place of refuge - when Jess was annoyed, the piano suffered, and by God did she belt out some collection when she wanted to," he added.

"We are so happy we have recordings of her that we can treasure and we can always turn to her for a song."

He lamented the fact he would miss monumental milestones in her life, and how her Leaving Cert results of 531 points had shown she had all the potential to fulfil her dreams. He joked she'd had two other goals, to set the bar for her sister Ali, and to beat her older brother Cian who she was always so proud of.

"We won't get to celebrate her 21st birthday, her graduation, I won't get to walk her down the aisle - although I don't know if that was ever going to happen.

"I often joked with her that she was our pension fund, with her talents she was going to shine all around the world. But here we are," he said.

"Everything was coming together for her. She will always be our vibrant, funny, quirky 19-year-old that we all loved so dearly and that we will miss terribly."

He said that his daughter had been "relaxed and happy" before her debs, even holding a sing-song with Ali (17) in their house before she went out. During the Mass, Ali performed a powerful rendition of 'She Used to be Mine' from the musical 'Waitress' and 'Jealous of the Angels', by Jenn Bostic, in her sister's memory.

Irish Independent

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