A week after Ballinderry GAA star Aaron Devlin was laid to rest after losing his battle with Meningitis, his big brother Ronan has thanked all those who supported the family “during dark times”.
From those who sat with them in hospital, called at the house, sent messages, directed traffic, provided furniture, made or dropped down food, he said the Devlins derived strength from that help.
And has promised that “we’ll do our bit to pay it back” when the time comes.
“Life must go on,” Ronan said, “and even though it will never go on in the direction we had hoped it would, we will always remember the support we received – and we’ll always look back on the send-off our son, brother and friend received.
“We now truly know how much of a splash he made, how highly he was thought of – and that his memory will live on in the hearts of many.
“We’ll miss you every day – keep safe. Fly high....and have a beer for me.”
Coilín Devlin, Anna Devlin and Aaron Devlin were all tagged in the Facebook post, which started: “Today marks one week since Aaron’s funeral. I won’t dwell on how tough things were, are, or will be - but we’d like it to be known how thankful we are to anyone (and there were many!) who helped in any way over the past few weeks.
“I’d rather not name individuals or groups, for fear of forgetting someone... thank you.
“Local shops and restaurants left food at various times – this kept us and the men and women who were volunteering their time around the house going. Thank you.
“We had other help with things such as the use of fields for cars, floodlights, marquees, help moving and storing furniture etc etc. Again, thank you.
“Local sports clubs and clubs close to Aaron, and indeed clubs deemed foes on the pitch – your show of support gave us strength. Thanks.
“Our house, and indeed the hospital, was full of friends and family during dark times – you were crucial. Thank you.
“To our own club, Ballinderry Shamrocks – thank you. Thank you to every single club member who helped in any way, big or small.
“After the funeral I asked a friend and a prominent clubman how we could possibly ever thank the club for what they’ve done. His response has stuck with me – ‘You don’t’ he said. ‘Every man or woman helping here is either paying it back or paying it forward. The only thing to do – the next time something happens - you pull on a yellow bib and do your bit’.
“I would hope that no one has to pull on a yellow bib in circumstances like this again, but I’d be naïve to think it can’t happen. If it does, we’ll do our bit to pay it back.”