Belfast Telegraph

Her name meant 'little friend'. And she was. It's so hard without her now

By Claire Williamson

She was her best friend. When Ammie Rea was born her parents chose her name because it meant "little friend", and that was what she became.

Ammie always told people she met what a great childhood she had, and how much she loved her family.

The 19-year-old and her mum shared everything, and loved going out places together.

But all that ended two-and-a-half years ago when Ammie was killed in a horrific car crash.

Now when her mum Tracey goes into town, she carries around a heaviness and hurt that won't go away as she looks at other mothers and daughters out shopping.

Yesterday it was the grieving mother's birthday – a day that should be filled with celebrations and family.

But the 47-year-old spent the morning in court watching the man who crashed his car, killing her daughter instantly, jailed for six months.

Tracey said: "Ammie was my best friend.

"We went for coffee, shopping... and now when I'm out and see other mothers with their daughters, it's hard.

"At Christmas you are walking past things and you think Ammie would love that, and what you would give to be able to go and buy her something. But what can I buy her now? Flowers for the cemetery – it's horrible."

Ammie also left behind her dad Howard and her two brothers, Matthew (12) and Harry (6), all of whom she doted on.

"It's just left such a void – an emptiness. It's so quiet without her – you don't have the jingle jangle of bangles and heels and fake tan."

Ammie had a bright future ahead of her and had planned to work with children in the classroom, but in December 2011 the family were torn apart.

Ammie had been snuggled up on the sofa with her mum when she was picked up by her boyfriend. As she left, her mum shouted at her: "Love you." She replied: "Love you too."

Her mum responded: "Love you more.". And she replied: "I know."

Those would be the last words they would say to each other.

Tracey added: "I was so glad, that was the best way it could have been. For her to know how much she was loved and for me to know that she loved me."

The next morning a knock came to the door which changed their lives forever when they were told their precious daughter had died.

Tracey said: "It was total disbelief. Until I saw her in her coffin I couldn't accept it."

Tracey has a recurring dream where Ammie is alive.

"She is arguing with me that she is not dead, saying: 'Mummy don't be silly, I'm not dead'. And I say: 'But where have you been?' I wake up and I find it difficult then to separate reality." Ammie's brothers have struggled with the loss of their big sister, but both boys have traits of her that keeps her memory alive.

Her dad often goes to the cemetery to spend some time with his little girl.

Tracey said: "It's hard for him trying to keep strong for us. He takes himself over to the cemetery and sits and has his time with her – it's heartbreaking." As the family look to the future, they are constantly reminded of what could have been.

Tracey added: "I hope to get out of the blackness and start to make decisions about what I'm going to do.

"That bit is closed now – we need to start and make plans for the future."

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