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Ciara Lawlor Memorial

Thanks to everyone who supported The Ciara Lawlor Memorial this year in aid of Ataxia Foundation Ireland. Run with Ciara and The Memorial Walk raised €6,080.

Again, we are overwhelmed by the generosity of people, not only with their donations but with their time.

Less than two years ago, our family started an emotional journey no parent, or sibling should ever have to make. In the last two years, we have had to cross many hurdles. The support from family and friends who have remained a constant in our lives has helped us struggle with the waves of grief that we battle every day.

Though difficult as it is to write we are honoured our daughter’s memory can live on by helping others. We hope to continue to be able to do something beneficial, and that her short life has left a small mark to help others.

The Camino – French Way May 2018



‘More wine.’

That’s how the Camino walk evolved.  I have hazy recollections discussing this with five good friends one summer Friday night in 2017.  After a meal to celebrate our friend’s new job we ended the evening in our usual haunt The Nore Bar, and there we decided to do the Camino. I know it was for my benefit as I was to reach a milestone the following March. Half a century old, but I didn’t want a party because I was still grieving for the loss of my only daughter the year before. I know she would have loved a party, so, it just didn’t seem right. I still wanted to crawl under a stone at times but my good friends they never let me. So that was how the Camino in May 2018 evolved.

Over the next few weeks, a date and number of days we were going away for was agreed, and we let the travel agents organise everything.



Hope amidst the madness of grief

At my daughter’s funeral in the summer of 2016, people told me I would never get over Ciara’s death, that I would take it to my grave.

They meant well—it was probably their way of telling me that they felt my pain. But those words filled me with deep despair and panic. A panic that I would have found it impossible to function with the excruciating pain I felt when Ciara was cruelly snatched from us. A pain that at times left me unable to breathe and I truly felt my heart had split in two.  John and I also had to think about the two boys and their pain at losing their only sister.Continue Reading →

One Less Present to Wrap


25th August 1998

The pain is getting stronger. The nurse checks the babies heart.

The babies’ rhythmic heartbeat on the machine beside me soothes me, momentarily, the contraction intensifies that I lean forward into the pain.

‘Are you OK? Are you sure you don’t want an epidural?’

No’ I reply through clenched teeth. God the pain.

I take the tube from her and suck hard on the gas. I don’t know if it’s helping.

‘I’ve changed my mind I want one.’ I screamed as the contractions became closer and more intense.

‘What?  An epidural? No, I don’t think so, too far gone. Only a few more pushes and then we are there,’ she smiled at me, ‘Here,’ she handed me the tube again.

I sucked hard. Nothing. ‘It’s not working I said,’ ‘It’s N-O-T W-O-R-K-I-N-G,’ I struggle to say through the pain

The nurse lifts up the gas canister, ‘Oh God. Sorry, it’s empty, wait a minute.’

She replaces the empty canister handing me the tube, I grab it and suck hard, it is some relief, but the pain is getting more frequent and more intense.

‘Hi, I’m Carmel.’

A lovely pretty face with a black bob smiles at me. She calms me. ‘I think you’ll be ready soon, one more push.’

I push, the pain is unbearable, but the only way to end it is to push again. With all my strength and will, I push.

‘I see the head, good girl Eimear, keep going. You’re doing great.’

John says something but now all I see is pain. I keep pushing I want it to end. Finally, I feel a sense of relief flood out of me.

‘It’s a girl. Say hello to your daughter. A crown of brown hair. I take her. Another piece in the family jigsaw.

8th July 2016

Before I pull out of Lidl carpark, I look in the mirror and see her waving her arms frantically and running her the car.  I stop. I push the button to open the passenger window.

I sigh, ‘‘Now what?’

She sticks her head inside the now open passenger window and breathing heavily she says,  ‘Money. I need money, we are going to Pegasus after the concert.’

She smiles

I sigh and say, ‘For God’s sake Ciara don’t you have any of your own? And what do you mean after the concert.’

‘We’re all going. Please.’

I know, and she knows I’ll give it to her. I spoil her, and she knows it. I give the one thing never had as a child I never had – a mother’s love.


11.00pm  Friday 8th , July 2016

I’m in the car. John is driving. It is dark. The motorway is nearly empty. We don’t talk, we can’t talk.

‘Any news?’ John asks.

‘No’ I look at the blank screen of the phone.  It rings. I don’t recognize the number, but I know it’s a Meath number (046)


‘Hello, this is Garda …., from the traffic division. We have organized a police escort for you.’

I freeze, I don’t know what to think.

‘Where are you know.

I ask John and tell the guard.

‘An escort. That doesn’t sound good,’ I say

His reassuring voice says, ‘We often provide this service in situations like this. Don’t worry.’

I’m afraid to think the worst.

Soon we are following flashing blue lights with our hazards on.


12.30am Saturday 9th, July 2016

We follow the flashing lights to the entrance of the Emergency Department of Tallaght Hospital.

The scene is wrong. A paramedic is standing at the entrance waiting for us to get out of the car. He should be running over to us telling us to hurry, to follow him. He walks to meet us as we get out of the car, he says something to us. I don’t know what it is, but I follow him and John into a room into a grey bare room with three or four hardback chairs and a round table.

He is speaking, telling us to sit. He sits in front of us and leans forward, his hands are entwined.

‘She is a very, very sick girl.’

I hear John say, ‘Do you mean she might die?’


He nods, ‘I’m really sorry, but she is very sick.’

He stands to leave and a tall woman in a white coat and man wearing blue enter the room.

They sit in front of us and she says quietly and slow, ‘I’m really sorry, but Ciara had died.’


10 pm Monday 12th December 2016

These are the very clear memories I have of Ciara. I have looked at the videos of her as a child and remember nothing. It’s like I gave birth to her yesterday and then dropped her to the bus for the Kodaline concert in Marley Park, I never got to hug her before she left.

I miss her.

I miss her telling me that when she puts eyeshadow on me that I have wrinkly eyelids.

I miss her laughing at me when I drop something in the supermarket.

I miss her telling me all her friends’ secrets that she swore to them that she would not tell me.

I miss going for walks with her when she quizzes me on what I did as a teenager. I always said I would tell her when she was older – now I can only speak to her, but I can’t see her except in my dreams every night.

This Christmas I have one less present to wrap. I don’t know how I will wrap any.

I didn’t know it was possible to cry so much every day –every hour. They may not be visible tears, but I feel them.

It’s like someone has stuck a serrated dagger into my heart and continually turns it.

I miss her.

I miss her.


The world as we know it.

The world seems to be filled with sadness and fear. Maybe it’s 24h/7hr access to the news on the television or internet. But we seem to be constantly immersed in others peoples grief and misery. I now catastrophic news sells better. An earthquake in a Greek island where houses tumble like dominoes or a tsunami in some island we can’t pronounce will grab our attention.Continue Reading →

Second chance

I’d have died for my daughter but she died before me.

Last year her life was severed six weeks before her 18th birthday, no warning,  no goodbyes, no last hug before she got on the bus for the concert.

She never got to go to her debs. She never got her first real taste of freedom moving away from home either going to college or traveling the world. She never got to fulfill her dream to use her recent life guard qualification on Bondi Beach.Continue Reading →

One Less Present to Wrap

25th August 1998

The pain is getting stronger. The nurse checks the babies heart.

The babies’ rhythmic heartbeat on the machine beside me soothes me, momentarily, the contraction intensifies that I lean forward into the pain.

‘Are you OK? Are you sure you don’t want an epidural?’

No’ I reply through clenched teeth. God the pain.Continue Reading →