Emma McLaughlin was a “very special” person who was gifted with a beautiful light that drew people to her, mourners at her funeral were told yesterday.
Hundreds gathered at St Patrick’s Church in Pennyburn to pay their respects to the 37-year-old, who passed away on Monday after a 14-year battle with a brain tumour.
Emma’s partner Harry and young daughter Hope, siblings JR, Rory and Claire, other relatives and close friends, led mourners the short distance from her Garden City home to the church, where hundreds of mourners had gathered.
Only the tolling of the church bell broke the silence, as the whicker casket was carried into the church, past children from St Patrick’s Primary School who had formed a guard of honour along the church steps.
Emma’s uncle, Fr Billy McLaughlin, was the main celebrant of the Funeral Mass, officiating alongside Parish Priest, Fr Michael McCaughey ,Fr Brian Ward, and Fr Peter Devlin from Malin.
Fr McLaughlin told those who had packed into the church of how his niece had left an indelible mark on all she met, himself included.
He said: “I loved her like I never loved anyone in my life, and she and I could talk and say things to each other that we couldn’t say to anybody else. She called me her soulmate, and she certainly was mine. I will miss her, Harry and Hope will miss her, Harry’s parents, her siblings, who have been so much part of her life, we will all mourn her passing. But every time I see a picture of her, even in her casket, she was beautiful and alive and will always be so.
“She was a light that could just draw people. She had no guile, she didn’t try to draw people in she just drew people in. She rejoiced in everyone she met. So when we come to celebrate her life, we have truly come to celebrate someone who was very, very special.”
Prayers were offered up during the service for Emma’s family, including her late parents Pat and Berna, her devoted friends and the medical staff who had cared for her.
Following the Funeral Mass, which featured music from the Henry Girls and the Long Tower Folk Group among others, Emma’s remains were carried out to a stirring rendition of ‘The Parting Shot’, and taken to Buncrana for burial at Cockhill Cemetery.