11206888_466084373553245_1363324125379369303_oThis morning, Sara Walsh Delaney died. In Beaumont, Sara had been in the same room as Pádraig when he arrived there in late 2013. We got to know her and her parents quite well and had staid in touch with them ever since. They came to Germany just a few weeks ago to get very specialised and intensive therapy for Sara. Back in Ireland, her health deteriorated and she moved into St. Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown.

Sara was an inspiration to us. During the time we knew her, she showed such a strength and shared so many beautiful smiles with us. We learned from Sara that you never give up, that you have to keep fighting, and that an acute hospital is the wrong place for you when you need therapy and specialised care.

Sara’s long journey came to an end this morning. It was a journey that her parents accompanied her on all the way. They were always by her side, always fighting her corner. She could not have had better advocates and friends in them.

Tonight, my thoughts and prayers are with Sara’s family. They lost the most beautiful daughter. But, I am sure that her spirit of love and their care will forever keep them together as one.

May she rest in peace.

We were up most of the night. Pádraig didn’t go to sleep up until after 1am. Pádraig’s sister were in touch with some of the friends in Berkeley at that apartment house, waiting for the parents of their dead or injured friends to arrive.

This morning, listening to RTÉ, I could not but re-live those days almost exactly two years ago. When Pat arrived back from Germany later in the morning we were thinking about a way we could help those families on their way to Berkeley. Then one of RTÉ’s lifeline researchers rang and two hours later, I was talking to Damian O’Reilly, standing in for Joe Duffy.

There were a few things I had planned to say but didn’t manage to squeeze in to the conversation that focused on the great support the Irish provide to those living through moments no-one should have to live through. Charlie McGettigan from Co. Leitrim whose son died 17 years ago on a building site when he was 21 years old; Yvonne, whose son Keith died while on a J1, I think 7 years ago; as well as Anne-Marie, whose son died while on a J1 in the US I think 4 year ago and who has been campaigning for an Irish death cert for her son and others who died abroad ever since – all could not speak highly enough about the support they received from the Irish in the US and at home when they most needed it.

I felt a bit as the odd one out: After all, Pádraig had survived his accident. And Damian O’Reilly acknowledged this when he said that at least Pádraig was still with us today. That is why I wanted to say something to the parents, families, and friends of those who survived this terrible accident, some of them with life-changing injuries:

  • Stay strong. Time will not make you forget but will help you to cope.
  • You have time. Nothing needs to be rushed. But stay on course and keep going.
  • Trust your instincts. Whatever doctors, insurance companies, or the police say – believe in yourselves. You know best what is right and what is wrong.
  • If you think we can help in any way, let us know.

We are with you.