Ann hoped for a miracle, says grieving Rose
RACHEL O'Reilly's sister Ann had been making plans for the future right up until her death last week.
Her heartbroken mother, Rose Callaly -- who has now lost two daughters -- said Ann really expected a miracle to cure her "until the very last breath that she took".
Ann, who died from cancer, yearned to do teaching and went back to college to get an honour in Irish.
She had secured a place to train as a primary teacher in St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, but had to defer when the tumour behind her eye returned early this year.
"Until the very last, she intended to live and she planned and was out and about," Rose revealed today.
"I think anybody normal would have been in bed three months before with the illness, but the sheer willpower kept her going. She was always like that, but I suppose she threw herself into keeping busy after Rachel died," Rose said.
She spoke of how Rachel's murder, at the hands of her husband Joe O'Reilly six years ago, and the trial, took a heavy toll on Ann.
"Life can hurt you along the way and Ann did have her hurts," she said.
"I suppose when her sister died, the stress of that and then all the things around that for a couple of years after, when we went through tremendous stress, I'm sure that contributed to it," Rose said. She said it is a comfort that her two daughters are now together.
Shortly before her death, on September 17 at the age of 32, Ann's girlfriends brought an album of photographs of their nights out.
Rose said it is "absolutely beautiful" to look back at all the happy times.
"Every photograph she's in, and every one we have of her, that big smile is there and the eyes lighting," she added.
Rose and Ann had intended to go travelling together and up to the very end, Ann spoke about going.
"She'll be able to go on all her trips now, but I couldn't imagine going on this one without her," Rose said.
Ann was laid to rest beside Rachel in Balgriffin cemetery last Monday.