The grieving mother of Jonathan Heagney yesterday paid an emotional tribute to the “perfect son” who will live for ever in her memory.
Several hundred mourners turned out to pay their final respects to the young man, who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident as he walked home from a family wedding in the Republic last Saturday morning.
He had married his partner of eight years, Elaine Duggan, just four months ago and yesterday many of the people who attended the couple’s wedding returned to the Church of St John in Galbally, Co Tyrone, for his funeral.
Addressing mourners, Pauline Heagney described her son’s devotion to Elaine and said she had been “the smile on his face and the light of his beautiful blue eyes”.
Jonathan would have celebrated his 27th birthday next week and Mrs Heagney read out messages from two birthday cards which she and her husband had bought to mark the occasion.
“My dear son Jonathan, it was your birthday on Friday week, and as you know I’ve always been prepared,” she said. “I already have your birthday cards and presents and I would like to read you the verses.
“Son, there are so many things I want for you, so many wishes in my heart as I watch you grow into your whole life. I wish you a world of adventure and experience, and also the serenity that comes from listening to your voice as the world rushes around you.
“My greatest wish is that you will always remember how much you are loved, for you are a good and caring person, a man I am proud to have for a son. Happy birthday my dearest darling beautiful son, with all my love, mum.”
My greatest |wish is that you remember how much you are loved
Requiem mass was celebrated by Fr Gerard McAleer, the Parish Priest of Donaghmore, while the concelebrants included Fr Gregory Carvill, who officiated at Jonathan and Elaine’s wedding in July.
During the offertory procession a horseshoe, commemorating Jonathan’s love of horses and ponies, was brought up, along with a football, symbolising his lifelong support for Tyrone’s GAA team, and a family photograph.
Fr McAleer told mourners that on the previous day, Kerry GAA star Marc O’Se had travelled from Dingle to pay his respects at the Heagney family home in Carrickmore.
He described how the community had been brought closer together by Jonathan’s tragic death.
Fr McAleer also spoke movingly about Jonathan’s enduring love for his wife and the scenes of celebration at the couple’s wedding earlier in the summer.
“It was a proud and happy day for them and their families,” he said. “Jonathan was at home earlier in the morning, crying with delight as he told his mother how happy he was to be marrying his Elaine, his dream girl.”
Jonathan, survived by parents Pauline and Kieran and sister Janine, was buried at St Colmcille’s Church Cemetery in Carrickmore.