Friday 19 January 2018

Tom Meagher: 'Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I will love you forever'

JILL Meagher's father George is overcome by grief as he and his wife
Edith, son Michael and Jill's husband Tom, right, watch a flock of doves
fly away at the end of her funeral at Fawkner Memorial Park in Melbourne yesterday
JILL Meagher's father George is overcome by grief as he and his wife Edith, son Michael and Jill's husband Tom, right, watch a flock of doves fly away at the end of her funeral at Fawkner Memorial Park in Melbourne yesterday
Jill's relatives release 29 white doves at her funeral in Fawkner Memorial Park, Melbourne, Australia
Jill Meagher
Jill's uncle Michael McKeon and a family member at the memorial Mass at St Peter's Church, Drogheda.
Jill's poem to her husband for their wedding day.

James Dowling Melbourne

"SLAN abhaile mo chara, safe home my friend."

The last words of a grieving husband Tom Meagher to his beautiful wife who was violently taken from him two weeks ago.

He said: "I could not have asked for more loyalty, happiness, fun and most importantly love.

"Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I'll love you forever."

Yesterday's funeral of Australian murder victim Jill Meagher was moving, and at times uproariously funny -- but always tinged with an inestimable sense of loss.

More than 120 family and friends gathered in Melbourne's northside to remember Jill.

The 29-year-old from Drogheda, Co Louth, was found in a shallow grave west of the city last weekend, after being missing for almost a week.

Her parents George and Edith McKeon, brother Michael, husband Tom, his sister and two friends remembered Jill's unique and quirky life and did not dwell on the horrible moments that ended it.

Local man Adrian Ernest Bayley (41) has been charged with her murder.

Shrine

The only acknowledgment of the circumstances which ended her life was the handing of white ribbons for a charity that fights violence against women, given to the 120 invited guests to the private service at Fawkner Memorial Park.

The family released 29 white doves -- one for each year of her life, a symbol of her free spirit.

Her father George cried as he lifted his head skywards and waved goodbye to the doves. He gripped hold of Jill's heartbroken husband in a long embrace as the two consoled each other.

Earlier there was laughter, brightly coloured high-heels -- a tribute to Jill's colourful sense of style -- and even dancing in the chapel's aisles to Queen's 'Under Pressure'.

In an emotional tribute Mr Meagher said his "beautiful wife" was happiest when making someone else laugh.

He spoke of an impulsive woman -- who instantly hated her tattoo and who was the only person he knew to have 20 jobs in 17 months.

Mrs McKeon spoke lovingly of her "fantastic" daughter.

She said: "From the moment she was born she was just so funny, just so goofy.

"She had a great love for the craic -- all you Australians have known Jill long enough to know what that means.

Jill's brother Michael said: "I am lost without her but I don't think she is gone. She is with us always."

Earlier, Jill's dad George spoke through tears as he read the birthday card he gave her on her 22nd birthday, adding: "I'm looking ahead to the time when I can see you and be with you again."

The service ended with Ms Meagher's favourite tune, Mama Cass Elliott's 'Make Your Own Kind of Music'.

Although the funeral was a private affair, the family later stopped briefly at the Brunswick Baptist Church on Sydney Road -- metres from where Jill was last seen alive.

It has become a public shrine to Jill's memory and not the crime which took her from us.

Irish Independent

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