A GALWAY woman whose husband and two children died in a tragic car accident has spoken of the night her life was "irrevocably changed for the worst".
Geraldine Mullan (née Connaughton) suffered every parent’s worst nightmare after the car carrying her and her family overturned in wet conditions and plunged into Lough Foyle in Donegal.
Though Geraldine was able to free herself and pull her two children from the car, Tomás (14) and Amelia (six) died at the scene of the crash.
Her husband, local businessman John Mullan (49) also perished in the accident this past Thursday, August 20.
All three were laid to rest at a funeral service held at St. Pius X Church in Moville, Co Donegal, where Tomás had served as an altar boy.
Speaking at the funeral, Geraldine described how she “screamed and roared and begged” for her family to survive the crash.
"I called out your names until I knew ye had already gone," she said.
She recalled how the day of the crash, her husband John took a “rare” day off with the family heading out for a bit of bowling and some dinner.
"On the way home in the car we laughed and we joked about how Tomás and Amelia were so looking forward to going back to school," she recalled.
The 45-year-old health worker went on to say an emotional goodbye to her two children.
"I was privileged and honoured to be Tomás and Amelia’s mum. I am just sorry I didn’t get to be their mum for longer," she said.
"Thank you Tomás and Amelia for letting me be your mammy," she added.
Geraldine said that she will continue to attend their GAA matches, scouting events and karate tournaments to help keep their memory alive.
“I know I have no kids now to go but I will still go and watch and help… At all the extracurricular activities, I will be the mum on the sideline cheering on all your kids,” she said.
“I will picture Amelia in her communion dress… I will picture Tomás as he would have done very well in his Junior Cert and Leaving Cert… I will have memories and hopes and dreams of what they would have gone on to do, because I know both of them would have excelled."
The Galway native spoke of how Tomás remained “big brother to the end” with divers recovering the children’s bodies noting that Amelia was found in Tomás’s arms.
“That’s where she loved being. So for that Tomás, I thank you for minding my dearest Amelia until the end.”
There was also a moving tribute to John, her husband, who she met while caring for his mother. According to Geraldine, he was just a few weeks away from turning 50, with presents already wrapped and hidden around the house for his big day.
“Unfortunately, now I have nobody to give those presents to,” she admitted though expressed her desire to sing Happy Birthday to her late husband regardless.
“My rock, my soulmate, my best friend… You showed me what it was like to fall in love and be loved. I had 10 precious years with you. I used to think I would grow old with you and you used to say the best is yet to come… My heart is broken; it is never going to heal, but that is ok because I have you, Tomás and Amelia in my heart and you will always stay there,” she said.
Speaking to all of the mourners both in the church and lining the streets of Moville, Geradline encouraged everyone presence to cherish their time with loved ones.
“Please go home and hug your kids and loved ones. Give them the tightest hug and sweetest kiss,” she said.
Breaking into tears, she said: “Cherish each day as if it is your last because last Thursday was the last day I got to spend with my beloved family.”
“Every second and every minute and every hour and every day that I am without John, Tomás and Amelia is a second too long, but I promise I will always love them and cherish them until we meet again,” she added.
Under government guidelines, just 50 people were allowed to attend the funeral service.
However, hundreds gathered outside the church to pay their respects while the Mass was broadcast live via the Moville parish website.