I touched him – his skin was shockingly cold, like
marble; my brother, a cuddly, lively, warm little boy lying
here like an empty shell. I traced his face, the face I
loved, his eyelids, his forehead, lips, then his entwined
fingers & bloodless hands. I didn’t cry. I couldn’t. I just
needed to be with him. That’s the only feeling I had.
Frances recollects how austere the hospital funeral home was:
Cathal was not at a funeral home. He was in a very small
stone building on the hospital grounds. The building in
its austerity reminded me of a monk’s cell. There was
none of the comforts of a funeral home. And that
seemed fitting to me. His body had filled out since
I’d seen him the year before. I remember thinking that
he would have been strong and broad like my uncles.
The doctor told mammy how strong and well-cared for
he looked. That broke us even more. The needlessness.
Extract from When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family. Published by Veritas.