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RIP Funeral held for Wexford mum who passed away just hours after marrying

Inseparable from her beloved partner Philip “Powder” Freeman, it was her dying wish to marry him before she passed away

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The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman.

The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman.

The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman.

THERE was a level of disbelief among the mourners at St Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy today, as they gathered to bid a sad and final farewell to young mother Lisa O’Connor-Freeman. Disbelief that life can be so cruel.

Having just become a mother for the first time to baby Phia in October, Lisa was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer which, despite her brave battle, cruelly and quickly took her away from her heartbroken family aged just 39.

Inseparable from her beloved partner Philip “Powder” Freeman, it was her dying wish to marry him before she passed away. Last Friday, Philip proposed to the love of his life. They were married in her hospital bed on Saturday with what Fr Jim Doyle described as “her very last words”.

On Sunday, Philip broke the tragic news that his new wife and mother to their three month old baby had succumbed to her illness.

In the days that followed, tributes poured in for a beloved mother, wife, friend, neighbour and teacher at the CBS Secondary School in Wexford town, which was closed today as a mark of respect.

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The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman with her husband Philip.

The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman with her husband Philip.

The late Lisa O'Connor-Freeman with her husband Philip.

The sight of candles burning lit up social media last night ahead of today’s funeral mass, as, at the family’s request, those mourning the terrible loss of the young woman shone a “#light4lisa”.

A beloved teacher, students and staff from Wexford CBS lined the path to St Aidan's Cathedral to bid farewell to a “dedicated teacher”. Inside, it was noted how Lisa was “absolutely determined” to become a teacher and “nothing would get in the way of her becoming a maths teacher”.

Her aunt Mag described her as “the sweetest and kindest” girl and fondly recalled family holidays in years gone by. She recalled how Lisa would lay out all her plans in life on their many walks around Templescoby, including her plans to become a teacher and her beloved Philip.

The devastation and the void now left in Lisa's absence was laid bare when Mag recalled that “during her sickness, Lisa talked about Phia. She talked about her first steps, her first words, her first day at school, her twenty-first.

"She never complained once. She never cried for herself; but she often cried asking how could she let everyone know how grateful she was for all they had done for her.”

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The funeral of Lisa O'Connor-Freeman (39) arrives at St Aidan's Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

The funeral of Lisa O'Connor-Freeman (39) arrives at St Aidan's Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

The funeral of Lisa O'Connor-Freeman (39) arrives at St Aidan's Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

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“We are broken-hearted,” Mag said. “The pain of this loss is too much to bear. We wonder if things will ever be the same. They can never be. Beneath our pain and aching hearts, she has etched herself so deeply on our lives.”

Having only welcomed baby Phia in October, Lisa and Philip had bought a house together and were in the process of renovating it. Fr Doyle noted that “Lisa did get to see her new home with baby Phia on Christmas Day.”

Painting a picture of the type of woman that Lisa was, it was noted that she was a kind, bubbly and social personality, with a keen sense of humour. She kept herself sharp in mind and body and loved taking part in quizzes and undertaking all kinds of fitness challenges, something which was reflected in the guard of honour provided by her local fitness group AWOL fitness.

She was utterly devoted to her students and was over the moon when she got the job at Wexford CBS. She became a vital member of staff there, organising all manner of school tours and fundraisers, as well as being a real role model for her students.

Above all though, family meant a lot to Lisa. She had a special bond with her parents Christy and Jenny and was a “best friend” to her sister Tracy. As time went on, she would be a doting godmother to her nephew Corey.

She showed all the instincts of a great mother and her life was complete when she and Philip welcomed Phia back in October.

"She loved her life with all of us,” aunty Mag said. “She had really reached the top of the mountain with baby Phia and Philip. The three of them were in their own little bubble. Every day I'd get sent a photo of Phia in different outfits and Lisa knitted hats and blankets for her, something I never thought I’d see her do.

Her uncle Lou noted how the little family’s best laid plans were cruelly dashed.

"Philip was the love of her life. Her life was complete with the birth of her beautiful Phia,” he said. “They had so much to look forward to. Words will never explain their deep love for each other.

"Phia will always be Lisa’s shining light and no doubt Philip will raise Phia with the help of Lisa’s family and his own and Lisa will rest easy knowing that Phia is being so well looked after.

"Philip made Lisa happy and proud throughout their many years together and definitely happy the day they both said ‘I do’.”

Both the O’Connor and Freeman families took some small comfort in the outpouring of love and support expressed to them at a devastating time.

In advance of the funeral, a heartbroken Philip said: “I cannot tell you all how overwhelming your kindness has been for us these past few days. Please know we are all so thankful. I have hundreds of messages to reply to and I promise I will reply to them all eventually.”

This love and support was also reflected in the crowd that gathered inside and outside the cathedral and lined the street as Lisa was taken to her final resting place at St Mary’s Cemetery.

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