“Mom is asleep and she won’t wake up,” said a nine-year-old boy who had tried to rouse his mother as she sat, seemingly asleep, on the couch in their sitting room.
His older brother reached the worst possible conclusion.
“I lifted her up and I looked at her and I just knew she was dead and I just started crying,” he said.
An inquest yesterday heard how the boys’ mother, a 29-year-old mother of four, died by misadventure, having overdosed on her medication.
Annette Foley, of 49 Richmond Court, Bandon, Co Cork, had altered a prescription written by her GP to secure 60 Lyrica painkiller tablets from an unwitting pharmacist.
She died on May 25, 2017, and at the inquest in Bandon yesterday Garda Margaret Keating, a specialist child interviewer at Anglesea St station in Cork City, gave details of interviews with three of Annette’s children. The second eldest, a boy aged nine, raised the alarm by calling to his brother, 13, who was at his grandmother’s nearby.
“Mom is asleep and she won’t wake up,” he recalled saying.
He said he tried lifting his mother and that she was heavy, even though she weighed just 49kg.
“There was blood coming out of her mouth and she was all black-and-blue,” he said.
The nine-year-old had helped put his 18-month-old sibling to bed the previous night. The oldest boy told interviewers that when he saw his mother on the couch, he first thought she was asleep.
“I lifted her up and I looked at her and I just knew she was dead and I just started crying.
“She was cold, really, really cold and stiff.”
Annette’s eldest daughter is aged eight.
Coroner Frank O’Connell paid tribute to the children, saying he was impressed by their response to the scene they found that morning.
“They sound like great kids and with the correct guidance and care they will turn out to be great people,” he said.