Heartbroken father pays tribute to son (4) who suffered critical injuries at Limerick house.
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THE father of a four-year-old boy, who died last week after suffering critical injuries in an apparent fall at a house in Limerick, broke down today, thanking doctors who had desperately tried to save his son’s life.
“Our little superhero fought until his last breath and gained his (angel) wings just before a quarter past four last Tuesday,” John Paul O’Connell told mourners at his son Mason O’Connell-Conway’s funeral mass, Sunday.
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Mr. O’Connell thanked staff at University Hospital Limerick, Cork University Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Ireland, Temple Street, “who worked around the clock and who tried their hardest to save our little man.”
Mr. O’Connell wept at St Joseph’s Church, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, as he also thanked neighbors and friends “for helping us through this nightmare.”
“Our little man Mason had a family that extended for miles, on both my side and his mam’s side; you wouldn’t have to spend two minutes with Mason, and he would leave a memory that would last a lifetime.”
“He was a loving, caring, energetic little man, who loved everyone, and he will continue to love and look over us all through this hard time.”
In a poignant tribute to his son, Mr. O’Connell said: “Mason, my little right-hand man, my boy, the moment I laid eyes on you, you stole my heart as you did with so many others. My life will never be the same again.”
“From our from little walks down to the Borough soccer field to walks in the park, well sorry – not walks, runs should I say, because you never walked. You would always say to me, ‘Look at me, Dad, I am Sonic (the Hedgehog), look at me how fast I could run, and you would take off.”
“You live on in all of us, buddy, and we will never forget you. We love you so much until I see you again, my boy, fly high, buddy; I love you so much.”
Mr. O’Connell stood throughout the emotional mass with his hands resting on his son’s small white coffin. He tenderly kissed the coffin as his former partner and Mason’s mother, Elizabeth, sat on a chair with her head laid on her son’s coffin while loved ones took turns trying to console her.
Mason’s parents and extended family members wore white t-shirts emblazoned with their son’s photograph, which read “Mason Forever 4”.
Mason’s favorite football and scarf, along with a photograph of him, were placed on his coffin, brought from his grandmother’s house in Castleconnell to the church in a white carriage drawn by two white horses.
Fr Tom Whelan, assisted by Fr Willie Teehan, told Mason’s family their son had captured “all hearts” in the tight-knit rural community.
Fr Whelan said Mason would be remembered in the community for his love of “football, fishing and walks around the village.”
The village stopped in silence as up to 100 people gathered, wearing face masks and walking behind the cortège to the church and later on to the local cemetery.
A limited number of Mason’s immediate family members gathered inside the church as others waited outside.
Mason’s family, friends, and neighbors “painted a beautiful picture of love and care and friendship” of their short few years with him,” Fr Whelan said.
“He enriched all of your lives, and with his passing, there is a gaping hole in your life and the life of the community in Castleconnell,” he said.
“Your hearts are broken, and while we are with you, we feel so helpless in your presence; we all want to do something, and we can’t.”
A garda spokesman said that “all circumstances” surrounding Mason’s “fatal injuries at a house in Rathbone, Limerick, on Saturday, 13th March” were still being investigated.
“A post mortem has taken place. Details of the post mortem results are not being released for operational reasons,” the spokesman said.
“Investigating gardai maintain an open mind in this investigation, and An Garda Siochana is not providing any further information at this time,” the spokesman concluded.