'I will be there in your hearts and you will always be in mine'
In her final words, Emma Hannigan urges her loved ones to 'let the sparkles break through'
Mourners gathered for the funeral Mass of author Emma Hannigan last week heard from the lady herself, as Fr Gerry Byrne read aloud words she had written prior to her death.
'I have no regrets, only that I have to leave right now,' said Fr Byrne as he read Emma's letter to those gathered at her funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock. Fr Byrne was chaplain at Blackrock Clinic, where Emma spent her final days.
In her letter, Emma spoke about a happy childhood in Bray, meeting her husband Cian and their life with their children. She wrote about her close relationship with her family. She lived beside her parents and would speak to them daily.
'I hope you know I will be there in your hearts and you will always be in mine,' wrote Emma.
To her children Sacha and Kim she wrote: 'Keep dancing both of you. Keep having fun. Be careful, won't you? Never go out on your own and stay with a group.'
A photograph of Emma, a pair of sparkly shoes, an angel, and one of her books were placed on top of her wicker coffin.
'Yes, life was great, surrounded by so many great friends, she wrote. '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.
'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.
'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,' wrote Emma.
'There is enough sadness, suffering and strife in the world,' she wrote. 'Let the laugher be heard. Let the sparkles break through.'
Fr Byrne said that Emma was 'a bright star that rose high and sparked.'
Music at the ceremony, chosen by Emma, included 'Smile' by Michael Jackson, and 'She's Like the Wind'.
She was later laid to rest at Shanganagh Cemetery.
Emma is survived by her husband Cian, her children Sacha and Kim, parents Philip and Denise, brother Timmy and her sister-in-law Hilary.
In her final days, Emma helped to raise over €125,000 for Breast Cancer Ireland. She urged fans and followers to make €4 donations by texting CURE to 50300. Dubray books donated the proceeds from her latest novel 'Letters to My Daughter', which subsequently reached the top of the book charts.