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Young Lurgan woman Sarahlouise (27) had a passion for singing and life, mourners told

Mum Geraldine pays tribute to Craigavon Hospital staff for their 'compassionate' care

Mourners at the funeral of a young Lurgan woman who died aged 27 have heard how she “fought to hold on to life”.

Sarahlouise O’Brien-Avery passed away peacefully in Craigavon Area Hospital on Sunday two-and-a-half weeks after being admitted.

During a funeral service at St Peter’s Church today (Wednesday), parish priest Canon Liam Stevenson said Sarahlouise’s failing health was a “huge burden” for her, leading to her admission to hospital,

Quoting from the first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes, he said there were “times to weep and times to mourn” in her very short life.

But he said there were also “times to laugh and times to dance”.

“When she laughed, she really had a very comical chuckle,” he said. “She had a beautiful voice and enjoyed karaoke singing nights. She actually won a karaoke competition. She loved singing with her mum, Geraldine, especially Abba songs.

“Sarahlouise loved her make-up and love doing make-up on her sisters. She spent ages on her eyebrows and her eyelashes.”

Mourners heard how Sarahlouise attended St Patrick’s PS in Aghagallon before transferring to Brownlow Integrated School. After leaving school, she worked in NV clothes shop before moving on to work in Home Bargains in Rushmere, where she had recently been promoted.

Canon Stevenson asked the grieving relatives and friends to keep talking about Sarahlouise to keep her memory alive.

He said: “Sarahlouise was always a very determined child, she knew her mind and worked to get what she wanted. She fought to hold on to life as strongly as she could. Even in the hospital and 4 South she talked about getting back to work.

“She related very well to the nurses and the auxiliaries who all loved her.

“Our gospel today is most appropriate for a grieving family. Jesus tells us ‘come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest’.

“Jesus wouldn’t have said these words if he didn’t mean them, and I would ask all the family members to bring your heavy burdens of sorrow, grief, disappointment, upset and even frustration to Jesus here in St Peter’s.”

Sarah’s mother Geraldine read a reflection and afterwards thanked all the nurses and auxiliaries at 4 South.

She said: “I wish to give you a massive thank you for the loving care and compassionate way you looked after Sarah – always making sure she never felt lonely, was comfortable and received everything she needed.

“Each and every one of you made her feel more special than she already was. We are and always will be eternally grateful. God bless you.”

Sarahlouise is survived by her parents Geraldine and Edward, brother Joshua, sisters Cuan, Jess and Briege, aunt, partner Niall and the family circle.

Interment took place afterwards in St Colman’s Cemetery.

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