Elisha Gault RIP
A silent stillness came over Carrick on Suir as 14 year old Elisha Gault was carried from her home for the last time, on Thursday morning.
Her coffin held aloft by her parents and family, Elisha was brought in silence the short distance from her home on New Street to the centre of Dillon Bridge, surrounded by all those who had loved her in her short life.
A guard of honour of Civil Defence members stood to attention as the funeral of the teenager they had helped search for, for more than a week, passed by.
The railings of Dillon Bridge were lined with candles as the town came to a standstill to say farewell.
New Street, Elisha’s home, was lined with young people clutching white flowers. As her funeral cortege turned onto Main Street and Dillon Bridge mothers stood with small children holding their hands, grannies, old men who had seen the River Suir claim many lives, and all that could be heard amid the silence were the efforts of men and woman to hold back their tears.
A hearse brought family flowers including a wreath that just said ‘Egg’ - the pet name used for Elisha by her loving mother.
Elisha’s family and friends paused to reflect on Dillon Bridge. As they threw white flowers into the flowing waters the Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 117, which located Elisha, hovered overheard in a mark of respect.
A swan, the symbol of the town, flew over head. The river giving its own gesture of farewell.
A bunch of white balloons were released into the sky and drifted away, reflecting the white blooms that drifted down the river, the hopeful white in stark contrast with the black mourning clothes of those standing on the bridge.
Flowers were thrown into the River Suir in a gesture of love for Elisha.
The search for Elisha gripped the community of Carrick on Suir, and beyond, and when her remains were found in the River Suir after eight days it left her family heartbroken and brought a pall of sadness down on the town. More than 100 people gathered on Dillon Bridge including many of those who had been involved in the search for the teenager and also locals who had not known the 14 year old but whose hearts ached for those mourning Elisha.
Elisha was taken to the nearby village of Piltown to be laid to rest.
At the Church of the Assumption, where young people filled the pews and spilled out into the surrounding churchyard, parish priest Fr Paschal Moore appeal to the teenagers to build a strong support network around themselves, and in his words of comfort to Elisha’s family he said the community would be there for them to lean on.
“We all need someone we can talk to, cry to, say anything to,” the parish priest spoke directly to the young people at the funeral mass. He urged them to build support networks and to surround themselves with ‘real people’ not the ‘fake friends’ of Facebook. “Turn your iPhones off for a while,” he encouraged them to talk to each other.
Fr Moore said Elisha had been beautiful but she took the only route she thought was open to her. She was wrong, he said, but it was the only route she could see.
He said “the mind matters” and he urged all at the mass to take care of their minds.
Elisha’s family were experiencing “searing pain” and mixed emotions, Fr Moore said. He told the grieving family, Elisha’s parents Grainne and Cameron, her sisters Chloe, Bhrianna and Saoirse, that the community would be there for them to lean on at any time.
During the mass former classmates of Elisha’s from Comeragh College in Carrick on Suir joined with the parish choir and Mala Raggett to provide music for the funeral mass. Friends brought symbols of Elisha’s life to the altar including a mobile phone and a CD.
As Elisha’s coffin was carried by her family across the road to her final resting place members of the Civil Defence again formed a guard of honour.
It was the wish of Elisha’s family that their beautiful and intelligent daughter and sister be remembered with laughter and music so following the funeral mass they gathered in Carrick on Suir to “celebrate her laugh” even while they tried to come to terms with what Grainne Gault, Elisha’s mother, said was ‘a hole in my heart that will never be filled.’
If you have been affected by this story please take note of the services below and reach out if you need support.
ISPCC Childline offers a confidential and non-judgmental, 24 hour service for children and young people (up to 18) who may have any concerns or who would like to talk about anything that may be on their mind. Childline can be contacted in the following ways: Call 1800 66 66 66, Text ‘Talk’ to 50101, Chat online at Childline.ie
You can also contact any of these services -
Samaritans 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org;
Aware 1800 80 48 48;
Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email email@example.com;
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (ages 13 to 19)