MOURNERS at the funeral of a young man who shot himself dead in front of his former partner were told that his last actions should never be allowed to represent his whole life and character.
Hundreds of grieving neighbours and loved ones packed into St Joseph’s Church in Caledon on Tuesday to pay their respects to Pat Hughes.
The 23-year-old from the Derrylappin Road in Brantry took his own life at a hairdresser’s in Dungannon on Friday, February 3.
His devastated family, including his parents, Patsy and Kathleen, and his former girlfriend Sinead McAnallen, were among those who gathered for his funeral.
They heard Fr Pat Hannigan describe how personal difficulties had pushed Mr Hughes to take his own life.
“When Pat went to the salon in Dungannon life was already overwhelming him,” Fr Hanningan said. “He could not go on any longer and there was nothing that anyone could say or do that could have helped him. Of course he loved his son Austin and Sinead, his parents, his family and his friends and his neighbours. I am sure he hoped that they would understand.
“But of course they don’t understand, none of us can. At least we don’t understand fully.
“We wish to tell his family that we remember Pat not by how he died but as the quiet and helpful fellow that he was.
“It is a time of immense pain and disorientation for them all, for a whole community and for all their neighbours.
“What has happened with the death of Pat has not fully sunk in yet and his family, all of us, are numbed because of it.
A former pupil of St Ciaran’s Ballygawley, Mr Hughes worked in an engineering firm and also helped out on the family farm. Mementos of his work including a car and a tractor were brought up during the service.
“He was fierce proud of his family and his neighbours and extremely helpful to anyone,” Fr Hannigan continued. “Yet something happened. Something went wrong with him.
“We can tell ourselves and Patsy, Kathleen, Sinead and Austin that a single human act, done in extreme confusion and distress, is something any one of us might do given the psychological circumstances.
“We do not know ourselves so well what can trigger something in any one of us. We would do well to remember the words ‘there but for the Grace of God go I.’
“What happened was not representative and can never be allowed to represent the whole life and character of a person - the whole life and character of Pat.”
Following the service Mr Hughes was interred in the adjoining cemetery.