‘I asked him to let me go. I knew my family were gone and I just wanted to be with them’
Geraldine Mullan has spoken out about the tragic loss of family after they were killed in a road accident in Co Donegal just four months ago.
On the last day Geraldine spent with her family, they watched a movie and went bowling. She says it is this memory, of their final happy day together, is what helps her through a tragedy that no parent or wife should have to endure.
“I didn’t know that day would have been our last, but I wouldn’t have changed anything about that day and the way we spent it – because we spent it as a family. It was full of love. It was… it was full of fun. It was full of smiles. And that’s what I try to remember is: the smiles that John, Tomás and Amelia had that day and the laughs that we had.
It was heartwarming that we did get to spend that day together.”
In an interview with RTE’s Primetime last year, Geraldine spoke out about life after losing her children Tómas (14) and Amelia (6) along with her husband John Mullan after the family’s car skidded across the road and plunged into the water at Lough Foyle in Co Donegal last August. She was the sole survivor of the accident.
“I don’t have any Christmas presents to wrap for John, Tomás and Amelia this year and, that, I find very difficult, but I will still get through the Christmas. It’s still going to be another day without them.”
This year the house where the family lived will have no Christmas decorations, but instead, it is adorned with photographs of happy times. She shows the camera crew around the home where she says her children’s school bags still sit at their desks.
A collage of 50 family photos represents the 50 years her husband John would have celebrated just two weeks after his death. The children helped her pick them out as his present.
In the emotional interview with Mirim O’ Callaghan, the brave and dignified mother of two also spoke about the importance of thanking all those who have helped support her since that heartbreaking night – especially those who managed to retrieve her family from the water.
“He just said, I am so sorry, Geraldine, I can’t let you go”
One last time
“The fact that I got to see them, got to kiss them one more time, got to say goodbye to them meant everything to me. I know they’re no longer here with me. And you know, I know, when it’s my time to go, I know that they’ll be there waiting for me. So, for now, it’s just goodbye. So it was very important that I got to see and I got to hold them one last time.”
And she also wanted to thank her rescuers, in particular Kevin Barr from the coastguard. “I had lost all hope at that time,” she tells Miriam with heartbreaking honesty.
“I knew my family were gone and I just wanted to be with them. And I did. I asked him on a couple of occasions to let me go. And, you know, Kevin was so brave. He held onto me and he kept apologising because he knew they were gone too.”
“And he just said, I am so sorry, Geraldine, I can’t let you go. You know? And I, I am here today because of Kevin and the work of all those people that worked so hard that night to get me out of the water.”
The circumstances of the accident are still too difficult for Geraldine to speak about but as she faces into her first Christmas without her family she says that the fact that her daughter was found wrapped in her big brother’s arms brings her great comfort.
She has a final heartbreaking message that she describes as her Christmas present to her family each year.
“I didn’t know 20th August was going to be the last day I got to tell John, Tomás and Amelia I loved them. So my message is just simple: just remember how precious life is, cherish every moment and tell the ones that you love them.”
Image via Geraldine Mullan Facebook
You can watch the full interview on RTE player here.