‘You Have Given Me All I Need’ – Maria’s Tribute to Big Sister, Liz

The late Liz O’Connor pictured with her baby Jamie and her parents Margaret and John A. Nolan, brother Paudie and his new pup ‘Brownie’ with neighbour Mikey Conway (second from left) and Liz’s father-in-law, Jim O’Connor (right) at Nolan’s in May 1988. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The late Liz O’Connor pictured with her baby Jamie in May 1988. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Maria Nolan-Lucey found herself in the surreal position of delivering a few fond words in tribute to a sibling for the second time in five months at the Church of Saints Stephen and John here in Castleisland this afternoon.

Maria was singing the praises of her older sister Liz O’Connor (57) who passed away on Thursday after an 18 month battle with cancer.

She found herself in the same position last October after the unexpected death of her brother Denis.

Most Unnatural Situation

In sympathising with Johnny and Margaret Nolan, the parents of Liz and Denis, Fr. Mossie Brick said that for parents to bury two children was the most unnatural situation to find themselves in.

He hoped that they would find the strength to cope with their loss in the expressions of sympathy from their neighbours and friends and those of their two departed children.

Addressing Liz’s husband Tommy, Fr. Brick said that people are gone only if we forget them and that Liz is not gone as long as there are people here who remember her. He also recalled that Tommy and his father Jim had lost Joan their mother and wife respectively only last April.

Jamie and Donal Unable to Travel

The hardship which has been imposed by the Covid pandemic meant that Liz’s and Tommy’s son couldn’t travel home for his mom’s funeral and Liz’s brother Donal was likewise confined in London.

At the lighting of the Mass candle on her coffin, Fr. Brick drew both Jamie and Donal into the ceremony which they were both tuned into from their homes on opposite sides of the world.

And he remembered Liz as a person who didn’t let thoughts of death kill her zest for life.

Always Smiling

In the course of her tribute, Maria spoke with fondness of the caring, loving, smiling big sister who brought her all the way in cooking from ‘burning water’ to becoming competent in the kitchen.

“She always had a smile on her face and could brighten the darkest days. She had a great love of rugby and often travelled to Thomond Park with our brother John.

‘You Have Given Me All I Need’

“Liz, you lifted me up all of my life, now it’s my turn to lift you. Rest in Peace Liz you have given me all I need,” said Maria.

Marie then thanked Fr. Brick and Joan Walsh and Bernard Tangney for their considerable input into the service.

And in recognition of the street side turnout for Liz’s final journey, Maria thanked ‘the whole town’ for being with her family on the sad occasion.

Liz’s place of employment, Garvey’s SuperValu closed during her funeral service and the staff stood in a guard of honour as her cortege made its way from her home in Dromulton.  It was that kind of day.

May God be good to Liz, Denis and Joan O’Connor.

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