“My mom was one of the greatest women I knew.”
These were the words expressed by Jeffrey Jeeti who paid tribute to his mother Pat and 10-year-old sister Jessica during their Funeral Mass on Friday at St Mel’s Cathedral Centre in Longford town.
“She would do her best to get anything we wanted and she loved God so much that wherever there was a church programme, she wouldn’t hesitate to go. I loved her so much and will miss her forever.”
Jeffrey’s sentiments added to the heartache of the congregation who gathered in the rain on Friday morning to say farewell to the mother and daughter who were killed alongside two friends in a horrific car crash on the N4 on June 28 last.
Jessica’s classmates and friends from Longford’s Gaelscoil provided a guard of honour as her little white coffin was taken from the Cathedral Centre alongside her mother’s and driven the short journey to Ballymacormack cemetery for burial. The were followed by Pat’s husband Jim and their three sons Jamie, Jack and Jeffrey.
“Jessica was a bright, beautiful and intelligent girl,” Jeffrey continued. “Her passion for singing amazed me. She was never tired of doing house chores and daddy, Jamie, Jack and I will miss her greatly. Oh Jessica, we shall meet again someday.”
And as Amazing Grace and Nearer My God to Thee rang through the Cathedral Centre from the Gaelscoil choir and the Nigerian African Longford Choir, the tears began to flow. The two coffins, side by side at the altar, were surrounded by family members, whose grief and sadness were palpable throughout.
During the homily, Fr Brendan O’Sullivan - who was assisted during the service by Fr Paul Kangkai - said, “Our hearts are heavy but our faith is strong.
“May the Lord bless you and take care of you; may the Lord be gracious to you; may the Lord look upon you with favour and give you peace,” he told Jessica and Pat’s heartbroken family - “the grieving family left behind”.
The local Parish Priest went on to speak about the “devastating blow” suffered by the entire community in Longford town, when the events on the N4 near Mullingar on June 28 last began to unfold.
“We gather with you in love, friendship and solidarity and in prayer as we come to bid farewell to Pat and Jessica today,” he added. “A loving wife and mother who kept the house in order. A lovely spirit filled Jessica; a beautiful sister and classmate to all of you - her school family at Gaelscoil, Longfoirt. Jessica was part of the school choir. She had a beautiful voice and I had the privilege to baptise Jessica and to give her the bread of life on her First Communion Day. We are here to celebrate your life and how much it is worth. It has been a privilege to know you Pat and Jessica.” There were emotional scenes afterwards, when Pat and Jessica Jeeti began their final journey “home” and were laid to rest in Ballymacormack Cemetery.