Trib­ute to Mal Reilly, a man who loved his life in Dun­leer

Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Martha Reilly

One of his proud­est mo­ments was speak­ing at the open­ing of the Paddy Kieran’s CF Unit in Our Lady of Lour­des Hos­pi­tal

‘Life is not mea­sured by the amount of breaths you take but by the mo­ments that take your breath away’

Malachy Ea­mon Reilly was born on 21st Aug 1979 to Ros­aleen (nee Shields) and Mal Reilly.

He was youngest mem­ber of the Reilly fam­ily and is sur­vived by his sis­ter Hi­lary (Kelly). He was pre­de­ceased by his 3 brothers, Joe and Jim (died in a fire in 1969), John and his sis­ter Deirdre.

Mal was born with Cys­tic Fi­bro­sis (CF), a con­di­tion that 2 of his brothers and 1 sis­ter had. He im­me­di­ately com­menced on life length­en­ing treat­ment of med­i­ca­tion and neb­u­lis­ers. His par­ents never let CF de­fine Mal. They were told that he wouldn’t live to see 12. The doc­tors were wrong and Mal lived with CF right up to his death. It was re­ally very im­por­tant to Mal that peo­ple wouldn’t think that he died from CF. We never thought that it would ‘get’ him and we were right.

He lived a com­pletely nor­mal child­hood play­ing kerbs with his friends in Brookville, at­tend­ing St. Pa­tricks and St. Josephs Pri­mary schools and then St. Josephs CBS, play­ing golf and singing in the Au­gus­tinian Ju­nior choir. He al­ways spoke of his child­hood with great fond­ness and hap­pi­ness.

He fin­ished sec­ondary school and at­tended DKIT com­plet­ing a diploma in elec­tronic engi­neer­ing.It was here that our paths first crossed and we got to know each other from the hall­ways,

In fact we sat our first year ex­ams be­side each other in 1998. We also got to know each other from the Lour­des Hos­pi­tal where I was train­ing to be a nurse and where he spent time as a pa­tient.

It was not un­til 2002 that we man­aged to get to­gether on a Thurs­day night in ‘The Earth’ and be­came a cou­ple. There are a lot of sto­ries at­tached to this de­lay none of which we agreed on. I now just wish we could have be­come a cou­ple sooner and I could have loved him longer.

The year af­ter we met, Mal be­gan work­ing in Dun­leer Post Of­fice ‘just to help out for Christ­mas’ ac­cord­ing to my Dad. He con­tin­ued to work there up to and af­ter Daddy died.

When Mam be­came ill in 2011 he took over its man­age­ment. He loved the Post Of­fice, the cus­tomers, the staff and ev­ery­thing that the vil­lage of Dun­leer had to of­fer. He fit­ted right in, he loved Dun­leer and Dun­leer loved him.

We mar­ried on 25th March 2006 and were de­lighted to wel­come Tara to our fam­ily in 2009 and then Char­lie in 2011 af­ter hav­ing 4 rounds of ICSI fer­til­ity treat­ment, once again achiev­ing the im­pos­si­ble as he was told when grow­ing up with CF that he would never have bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren.

We were so very happy to­gether, hav­ing Tara and Char­lie just added to our hap­pi­ness. We felt com­plete.

Mal was THE most amaz­ing Daddy, re­ally and truly. He was never too busy for them. He played with them con­stantly, rarely missed a match or an event and pro­vided the hap­pi­est home for them to grow up in. One of my tough­est jobs now is to fill his shoes in Lego build­ing and croc­o­dile game chas­ing.

He had achieved so much in his 38 years, singing pro­fes­sion­ally, work­ing full time, run­ning a marathon, winning the Cap­tains prize in Sea­point, teach­ing his chil­dren the gui­tar and how to paint but I know that he had so much more he wanted to achieve.

One of his proud­est mo­ments was speak­ing at the open­ing of the Paddy Kieran’s CF Unit in Our Lady of Lour­des Hos­pi­tal.

Be­tween us we had ran 3 CF Char­ity Balls, 2 Marathons, a CD Launch and a Gar­den BBQ rais­ing in ex­cess of €50,000 to­wards the open­ing of the CF Unit. He was very pas­sion­ate about get­ting bet­ter ser­vices for chil­dren with CF.

While many peo­ple would de­scribe our fam­ily as a fam­ily of 4, we de­scribed it as a fam­ily of 5.

CF was the fifth mem­ber of our fam­ily, the black sheep. We had to look af­ter it and never ig­nore it or it would make its pres­ence very much known by mak­ing Mal sick. We could han­dle CF and ev­ery­thing it threw at us but when oe­sophageal Can­cer came in May 2017, it came like an atomic bomb. We hadn’t a clue what to do ex­cept fight it with all the en­ergy that he put into ev­ery­thing else in his life.

We knew from di­ag­no­sis that Mal’s can­cer could not be cured. Chemo was tor­ture but he per­se­vered as there was a chance it would give him some ex­tra time with us and he would have done any­thing for that.

Can­cer took over our lives bit by bit, part by part.

Sud­denly a good day was what a bad day used to be. We all had to get used to a ‘new nor­mal’. Mal was amaz­ing through­out his ill­ness. Only those very close to us re­ally saw his true brav­ery. We were very lucky that we were able to have Mal at home all through his ill­ness.

Up to the mo­ment he died things were as nor­mal as they could be. Mal kissed Tara and Char­lie good­night at around 8:30pm and at 4:08am on Tues 6th Feb 2018 he took his last breath with me wrapped around him in our bed un­der a sign that reads ‘Love Lives Here’.

I know from speak­ing with every­one who came to of­fer their sym­pa­thy and sup­port that Mal im­pacted many lives and was very highly re­garded and I am over­whelmed with the sup­port we are re­ceiv­ing from the Dun­leer and Drogheda ar­eas through the ‘Friends of Mal’ fundrais­ing that was set up to help us fi­nan­cially due to Mal be­ing pro­hib­ited from ac­cess­ing any life in­sur­ance due to his CF.

I don’t think that Mal knew how much peo­ple thought of him. I can’t change that but I can as­sure you all that our chil­dren will know the amaz­ing per­son that he was and your sup­port is his legacy to them.

If you knew Mal, You knew him. He was just Mal. He was so much to so many; hus­band, daddy, son, brother, in-law, un­cle, friend, singer, per­former, mu­si­cian, golfer, run­ner, friendly face of the Post Of­fice, to put it into one word; Mal was a leg­end.

He was the ab­so­lute love of my life and the ev­ery­thing of our lovely lit­tle fam­ily. Mal was, is and should be re­mem­bered as amaz­ing.

Till we meet again my Mal, till we meet again.

The late Mal Reilly

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