DANIEL O’Donnell this week posted a thank you on Facebook to everyone who attended his mother Julia’s funeral and wake, sent cards and messages of good will.
On tour in the USA he wrote:- “Hello there. To be honest, I’m not sure how to start this little note to you. I’m sure I don’t have to say how difficult the past few weeks have been for myself and all the family.
“Even though my mother was 94, somehow I think we all thought she was going to live forever. We know how fortunate we have been to have had her for so long, but at this time, it’s not that easy to be rational. She was so much a part of all of our lives and took a great interest in everything we did, from my eldest brother John, right down to the youngest great grandchild Lauren. I suppose she had that sense of pride in us all that only a mother can have.
“We were blessed to be able to spend her final days with her and she was with us in mind right until the very end. We were so lucky that my mother was able to be cared for by the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff of Dungloe Hospital. The care she received was second to none and their kindness to her and to us, we will never forget.
“Looking back over the last year, I could see my mother failing, but somehow, it never dawned on me that the end was so close. We are all very grateful that she didn’t have a long illness and that God was kind and took her to be with him without her having to suffer too much. My father died almost 46 years ago and I have no doubt that they are now reunited.
“We were overwhelmed by the amount of people who attended her wake and funeral. It really was a great comfort to us and we thank those of you who came. If you were able to say a funeral was lovely, we can definitely say that about my mothers. Mary Duff sang beautifully throughout the service accompanied by Stephen Milne, John Staunton and Ronnie Kennedy, it was so kind of them to do this in Mam’s honour.
“About 10 years ago, she asked our neighbour Fr Brian Logue, who lives in Scotland, if he would say her funeral mass. It was he who celebrated my father’s funeral mass as a young priest in 1968.
“We were amazed to find out when we knew my mother was in her final days, that Fr. Logue had come to spend a holiday in the village and was due to leave the day after my mother’s funeral. It was like it was all planned to perfection.
“In recent times, whenever we would return from a neighbours funeral mass, my mother would say “Were there many priests on the alter?” and when we would tell her the number she would always say “the more priests the better for someone’s funeral”. As I sat in the front pew beside her coffin, I glanced at the 11 priests that concelebrated and thought to myself, I hope you can see them Mam, you’ve done well.
“While I write this, I am travelling through North America doing shows. I can’t believe I have been able to do this tour so soon after Mam’s passing, however I believe that it was she who gave me the strength to do it. She loved coming to see the concerts. I have to say I have felt a great sense of peace each night on stage. I know in my heart it’s what she would have wanted me to do.
“We have had some enquiries as to when my mother’s months mind mass will be. It will be held in our local church, St Mary’s, on Friday, June 27 at 7pm. While we don’t expect you to attend, we want you to know that everybody is welcome.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your kindness to her down through the years.
“I would also like to thank you on behalf of all the family for your kind messages of sympathy and your prayers at this time. Even though my mother is out of sight, her memory lives on in so many ways. During this trip, people have brought letters she wrote to them to show me, gloves she knitted and many who met her had stories to share with me, and of course, in our hearts she will live forever. Until we meet again Mam, Rest in Peace.”