“It breaks our hearts to lose you all, you didn’t go alone, for part of us went with you all, the day God called you home.”
Clodagh Hawe’s sister Jacqueline turned to poetry to convey the heartache and deep sense of loss that has engulfed two families and a rural community following last week’s murder-suicide.
Choking back tears, she told the hundreds of mourners that life would never be the same.
“You left us peaceful memories. Your love is still our guide. And although we cannot see you. You are always by our sides.
“Our family chain is broken. And nothing will ever be the same. But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.
Hundreds had journeyed to the funeral at St Mary’s Church in Castlerahan with capacity inside reached long before the service began.
Outside, the mourners huddled together sheltering from the early autumnal breeze.
As the five hearses swept into the grounds in a slow solemn convoy, silence descended on the large crowd.
The only audible sounds were from cattle in nearby fields and crows in the trees.
Men, women, and children, some dressed in their school uniforms, who had lined the steep church driveway, wiped away tears as the cortege passed.
First came Clodagh — her smiling face beaming from a photograph placed in the rear of the hearse.
Then the three boys, Liam aged 13, Niall aged 11 and Ryan, 6, each carried in a white coffin.
And finally, Alan Hawe, his coffin draped in a red and white GAA jersey.
In his homily, Fr Felim Kelly reflected on the popularity of the Hawe family — well regarded within the tight-knit parish and beyond.
Their loss in such tragic circumstances has rocked the community to the core, the priest said.
“We are all trying to cope with a tragedy beyond our understanding.”
Gardaí believe that Mr Hawe, a deputy school principal, stabbed his wife and children to death in their home at Oakdene in the townland of Barconey near Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, before taking his own life last Monday.
However, during the service there were reflections of an idyllic family life.
Fr Kelly recalled how they each played an active role in the church and had their own seat at St Mary’s.
Posing the question on many people’s lips, Fr Kelly asked: “How so much goodness could be destroyed?
“How such happiness could be invaded? How? Why?”
But the parish priest told mourners: “It is not for us to seek answers or to surmise about behaviour. “Clodagh, Alan, Liam, Niall, and Ryan are at peace. “This is the assurance of hope.”
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