Dear Ciara,

Do you remember me telling dad I was pregnant with you and he hugged me and said, ’We’re a family now.’  You arrived into this world in St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny at 8.40am on the 25th August 1998. Jack had a baby sister. I pushed you and Jack in the double buggy while he protectively held your hand, and called you ‘Bobby.’ Was it he wanted a baby brother, or just couldn’t say, Ciara, because he was only one and a half?

Do you remember when your baby brother Barry arrived? Do you remember how the two of you would laugh and chat for hours in your room?

You were so pretty with a head of brown hair which was to be replaced by the unruly curly hair with a spirit of its own and no matter how I tried to tame it, it bounced back to the wild mane of curls.

I know you must have cried when you were a baby, all babies do, but I honestly cannot remember you crying, you never gave me any trouble. You asked so many questions, you wanted to meet everyone

Do you remember how you loved Christmas? Family time. You loved everyone in your family. You loved that you had three aunties and six uncles and twenty-five cousins.

Do you remember our mother and daughter Saturdays when we would go to the Ground Floor? I would have coffee and a scone, you would always have a toasted cheese sandwich.

Do you remember you changed school in 2nd class? When the girls in the new school asked who was your best friend?’ You told me that you said, ‘My mammy,’ and you said they laughed at you, but you said that you didn’t care. I was your best friend.

Do you remember what your friends in secondary would say when they shared a secret with you? They would always finish their story saying, ‘And Ciara, DON’T TELL YOUR MOTHER.’ But, you did. You told me all your friends secrets.

Do you remember when you would put eyeshadow on me and say how you loved putting eyeshadow on wrinkly eyelids!

Do you remember telling me that when dad and I came to visit you when we were old, you wouldn’t put the words on the telly like we had to for Packie because he was nearly deaf?

Do you remember leaving me for the Kodaline concert on a Friday in July 2016? I wished I had hugged you before you left.

That is my only regret.

Family, neighbours and friends silently lined the street as you were brought back home to Kilkenny on Monday evening.

On a Wednesday morning, in July we said goodbyes, you will always be forever young my “Angel.”

Lots of love

Mammy