The words below were written in the hours and days after Liane's death. I read them at her funeral celebration at Mt. Jerome on Tuesday April 25th in front of a large crowd. I remember being strengthened by a steely will to pay a homage fitting of the incredible woman she was and felt her with me throughout. I had her engagement ring and wedding ring tied together in my pocket, her love in my heart and her voice of calmness between my ears...
I'm not sure how to do this. How can I try and describe someone so special in plain old words? And, how can I possibly sum up the feelings and memories I have for Liane in one tribute? It’s almost impossible.
I’ve received so many messages this week and have heard from many people from many places saying “there are no words” – well, there are. There are words.
There are words of happiness about the treasured time we all had with Liane, albeit too brief. There are words of beauty to describe her individuality and how she always looked. There are words of sorrow to try and communicate what we are feeling now she has left us.
But maybe most of all there are words of strength, of hope, of power, of resilience and of tender love. Words that can bring us all together, to cross these choppy waters and come out the other side, better for it.
For me Liane was a fiery spark full of love and determination. She was beautiful, smart, challenging, empathetic and encouraging. She always looked to grow; to better herself as a person and a professional. She was aware and spiritual - vipassna with her dad and brother – mindfulness course finished the night she passed, yoga and recently facing her fitness fears with boot camp.
She was a great listener with time for friends from all walks of life. She was as selfless as she was determined and left her mark on so many people. She was the best thing to happen to my life and strengthened me every day we spent together.
Liane Deasy was from a certain mould of woman like so many of you sitting and standing here in front of me. She was like both our mothers, our sisters, our sisters in law, and many of our friends - a strong, positive and certain woman. No inch given but a powerful respect and warmth in every encounter. She was the powerful type of woman that we see challenging our society today and I deeply loved that about her.
As many of you know she had nocturnal epilepsy and I often wondered if this day would come, as did her family. I've held her through the worst of seizures and nursed her through the hours and days after them. The bad ones were scary and I felt so very helpless. I can't believe I wasn't there for her last Thursday morning, but don't know what I'd have been able to do even if I was…
Her seizures often resulted in a loss of consciousness especially one of the magnitude of last week, so you can all take solace from the fact that her death was a painless and fast one.
We debated going to Sydney together but she decided not to go. She was committed to a new job and more importantly she wanted us to go away together and spend precious holiday time alone. All 31 days. We liked that we could let each other breathe and remain independent in our relationship despite committing our lives to one another. We'd booked a yoga retreat in Italy for July and were counting down the weeks to relaxing together. We were looking at beach holidays and a getaway for next year’s midterm. The future held so many plans – maybe a family, definitely more sea swimming and as much travel as possible.
All that will be different now, but I feel she’ll be with me wherever I go.
We first met in Galway at a fancy dress party back in late 2007 - she was the pretty blonde girl from Adelaide Road I'd never spoken to. We got on famously from the start despite being so different - I found her so intriguing and was stunned that somebody so pretty was laughing with me and enjoying my company. She liked my then long hair, my outgoing personality and my eyes. We were in full-blown hippy mode back then – all ideals and passion and living in a city that nurtured that in both of us.
A few months later and we were inseparable, building our love out west on the streets of Salthill, the long piers of Galway and in the warm embraces of a new relationship. After college in UL, she moved to Dublin for me - a bold and brave decision - and worked so hard to make it all work - volunteering, working multiple jobs, slowly building her reputation as a SLT of a gentle nature and passionate professionalism. She was so proud of her work - often telling me of mothers, fathers and children who felt she'd performed miracles with them. She had such passion for the people she worked with and for many of whom are here today. This passion brought about success and her young career was already one of note in Irish Speech Therapy circles.
We moved in together and shared so many adventures – camping in Sardinia, hitch-hiking the coast of Portugal, exploring Sydney with friends and family, Airbnb-ing across as Ireland, sauna-ing our way through Finland and many more.
I’m so scared of losing all those memories. I worry that as time passes my mind will shed those precious gifts. But I know that even if it does, she’s in a part of me that nobody can ever touch. There’s a Panzer shaped compartment in my heart that will hold her ‘til the day I die.
I proposed to Liane in the winter of 2013 on Killiney Hill halfway through a walk that she still reminds me we need to finish. 18 months later we married in Clifden - the best few days of my life. She looked like a model with her backless dress and perfect smile. I remember countless people saying that she’d make Pip Middleton jealous with her figure hugging dress and her turning to me – “who the hell is Pip Middleton??”
Our wedding vows we'd written ourselves and I'm going to read them now as they remain the same today as they did 20 months ago;
I love you and will always love you. I endeavor to listen to you and hear you, to support and respect you, to laugh and have fun with you and to continue to appreciate you in new and different ways; as we grow older; as each of us meets challenges, periods of growth, change and good times. I will actively work to continue to grow in awareness of myself as a person in order to help me to do this. Today and for all our days together.
I promise to be here for you for every step of our journey ahead, through the thick and through the thin. I want to grow with you and support you, to enjoy you and comfort you. I promise to be honest, to be forgiving and to be aware of what you need as our relationship changes. I hope to be a parent with you and nurture children into our loving world. Most importantly I promise to live in truth with you, with an open heart and with courage to explore fearlessly together. I love you and will always love you.
Liane was a private person who valued intimate friendships over anything else. She was at her most comfortable in small groups where you could talk about important things as opposed to busy pubs and small talk. She forged such tight bonds with many of you and I'd like to thank you all for being there for her throughout thick and thin. She valued you all so much. She always wanted to spend more time with you all, especially recently when life seems to be busier than ever before.
Above everyone else came her family. The Deasy clan and the Cornwall family, and over the past decade the Earleys too. She loved every relative so deeply and without question.
Her wise and loving brother Alan and his amazing wife Onnie, her sister/best friend and partner in crime Jane. Her mum and dad with whom she had such strong bonds. She loved you both more than anything and was so thankful for all you gave her. And more recently Derry’s lovely partner Sarah and the newest Mark on the scene, Jane’s fella. She’s mad about you both.
She doted on two godchildren – her best nephew Cillian and her ever so special Rowan, Julie’s daughter. I guess her loss is my gain. I’ll do my very best to care for you both in the way she did, not to mention keeping your young minds well fed with all the latest children’s books!
I've lost a lot in losing Liane:
· My best friend & my soul mate and the future mother of my children. We always spoke of what an amazing mother she'd be. And often wondered if our jobs’ skill sets were purposefully given to us so we'd raise an autistic or special needs child; a risk of the drugs Liane took for her epilepsy. Regardless of that she'd have loved children more than life itself. We'd been “practicing” … - the very start of a what we thought would be a long journey together. We'd even started to agree on some names but life had a different plan.
· She was the perfect fit for me on so many levels but physically - sometimes I see people hold each other and they just fit. Like two pieces of a jigsaw. That was us.
· We giddily agreed recently to get matching tattoos. I’d a nickname for her - Panzer Tank - strong, stubborn, dangerous… and I’ll be following through on my side of the bargain. I’ll keep you all posted.
· She got me out of bed in the morning when I was fighting depression, or ‘in a funk’ as she said, and she soothed me to sleep when my mind wouldn't slow down
· She made me so happy all of the time and as recently as last Monday told me that life without me just wasn't as fun. Well, same back at you Panzer.
All that said, we were lucky, I am lucky. We had something special that a lot of people never have. I've memories I'll carry with me for my whole life from swimming in Vico to chasing monkeys in Sri Lanka. From our matching orange bikes in Galway to our gentle pillow talk.
Liane inspired me, pushed me, supported me and helped me to grow. That growth won't disappear - it just needs to lean on you now, where it had leant on her previously…
So what would Liane want from us today? Aside from more smiling :)
- A celebration of who she was and a sharing of our happy memories of her
- No hassles! The thought of a fuss being made would embarrass and annoy her in equal measure.
- Less make up on her face, and she would be gutted to have missed seeing so many of us in the water this morning
- A spiritual recognition - maybe she's watching over us all. Maybe we will see her in another life. Maybe she isn't and we won't, but she always liked to think there was more than just our life on earth and she’s certainly convinced this cynic.
- She'd want that we protect each other, talk to each other and share our grief - be open and care for those hurting.
- And most of all she’d want that we try and be positive.
I feel so so lucky to have shared just over 9 years with Liane. She's made me a better person. She's left an indelible mark on our lives and we need to honour that with strength and with love. As a friend said this week – we all need to be a little more Liane.
Before I finish I’d like to thank some people on behalf of Liane, myself and both of our extended families:
- Robert and his staff at Fanagans Funeral Home. They’ve made everything so easy for us and their kindness will be long remembered.
- Philip, our celebrant. We’d seen a number of weddings celebrated by Philip and Liane liked his delivery and personality. He’s be amazing with our family and we really appreciate that.
- Liane’s medical teams in St. James’ Hospital – in particular Dr Doherty, and in Beaumount and way back at the start in Crumlin.
- All of Liane’s many work colleagues who inspired and supported her so very well. She was mad about you.
- All of our friends and family for the pure love and support we have received. It has been so important to us at this tough time.
I’ll leave you with a Roald Dahl quote from The Boy in The Witches
“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like,
so long as somebody loves you”
So I’d like you all to leave here today knowing that I love you and that Liane loves you. And that sometimes that love is all we have and sometimes it is all that matters.
For Liane Deasy
With all my love,