Derry mum Emma McLaughlin who died of brain tumour 'an inspiration'
Family and friends of a popular Londonderry woman have paid tribute to the mother-of-one after she lost her brave 14-year fight with a brain tumour.
Emma McLaughlin, known as Dizzy to her pals, passed away surrounded by loved ones last Monday night. She was 37 years old.
Mourners at her requiem mass at St Patrick's Church in Pennyburn on Thursday were told there was "no justice, no fairness, no explanation and no making sense of the hand that Emma was dealt in life".
A heart-wrenching tribute to Emma, who was mum to Hope and the partner of Harry Harris, was read out at the funeral and spoke glowingly about her ability to make friends.
"Emma and Harry fell in love, and together they made Hope, the light of her life," said the eulogy.
"Their love for each other as a family was a joy to everyone around them.
"Harry's patience and dedication to Emma has always been strong, beautiful and constant.
"Their daughter Hope is the creation of love, an incredible little person, an artist, a musician, with the spirit of her granny Berna, and her mammy.
"Emma will always be with us, through Hope.
"Emma had an ability to connect with people on such a deep and meaningful way and surrounded herself with genuine beautiful people."
It continued: "Out and about, she just glowed. You couldn't take your eyes off her all night. Nobody could. She glided effortlessly through any gathering, sitting on someone's knee, embracing and hugging.
"Every person she met got a little bit of her glow too. With Emma there were no half measures, no polite reserve.
"It didn't matter where she was, in Sainsburys, in TK Maxx, on the street, she would look you directly in the eyes and say 'I love you so much babes, you're amazing'."
As she battled her illness, Emma became an inspiration to all who knew her. She endured brain surgery on three separate occasions, as well as gamma knife surgery in a bid to rid her body of the disease.
Gamma knife surgery uses a focused ray of radiation to treat tumours and other abnormalities of the brain.
As well as traditional medicine, Emma also turned to natural remedies and she embarked on a raw food diet, shunning fruit and sugar.
Her requiem mass was told: "Emma did this with such determination and willpower and educated many people about their health.
"People who were themselves facing a diagnosis of cancer, would visit Harry and Emma's home and they would teach them about the diet and offered them hope in their lives."