THE mother of a young Plumbridge boy who died suddenly last week has made a moving plea for people to seek help if they are suffering from mental health problems.
Over 1,000 people attending the funeral in the local Sacred Heart Church of 15-year-old, Aodhan Ward, heard his mother, Jennifer, make the emotional appeal.
Students from Drumragh Integrated College and St Peter’s Primary School in Plumbridge staged a poignant guard of honour as his remains were taken to and from the church.
“Aodhan was strong and the life and soul of every occasion with his cheeky one-liners,” Mrs Ward said.
“He had plans for the future and was always surrounded by people. Grief is all our love with no place to go and everyone here today, but we have to channel all that love now into helping each other.
“I know if Aodhan had been able to give us and himself more time he would have realised that we can’t always fix every problem. But we can all help each other cope.
“Young people and older people here today – look around and see how heartbroken we all are. We have to help each other, but most importantly we have to let others help us. Talk, talk and tell each other our story and memories.
“It’s okay to laugh and it’s also really, really okay to cry. It’s okay not to feel okay and young people please talk to each other,” she added.
The death of the popular teenager came just seven months after the tragic death of his father and prominent local businessman, Nishy.
The small red tractor which Aodhan had driven in front of his father’s funeral cortege also led mourners to his own funeral on Friday morning.
In his homily, the chief celebrant, Fr Brian Donnelly, said that the death of Aodhan had changed everything in an instant of time.
“Aodhan idolised his father. He was everything that Nishy could have wished for in a son and Nishy was everything that Aodhan could have wished for in a father.
“The loss of someone we love is a shattering experience. It seems to have robbed us of a future of happiness.
“When Nishy died Aodhan stood forlorn knowing that his heart’s best prayer was no more. No-one knows what was going on in his mind, but had we known we might have been able to reassure him that bright days lay ahead. We could have assured and encouraged him that life has its ups and downs and that days of sorrow do pass.
“But when you are young you expect answers to come quickly. Simply put, we cannot put an old head on young shoulders.
“The loss of someone we love is a shattering experience. It seems to have robbed us of a future of happiness,” he said.