Monday 11 December 2017

'I wish we had another 50 years', says partner of fire victim Grace

Grace McDermott and her partner Colin O'Neill
Grace McDermott and her partner Colin O'Neill

The heartbroken fiance of tragic fire victim Grace McDermott has written an open letter to her in which he calls her "my girl, my hero".

New Yorker Grace (26) died in a house fire in Annacotty, Limerick, on May 1.

Her devastated partner Colin O'Neill recalled meeting her in Melbourne in 2012 and the love they shared.

Writing on the Women Are Boring blog, which Grace co-founded, he said: "Over the past few weeks your friends and family have told me how much you loved me.

"I can't tell you how nice that was to hear, but I already knew. You were so incredible at showing me. I have never felt love like the love you gave me.

"You told me all the time and I could even tell when you looked at me. You made me the happiest man in the world when you agreed to marry me, I'm sitting here picturing your face that day.

"It was the best day of my life and I keep trying to replay it in my head."

Colin went on to write of his grief and what might have been.

"Each morning I wake up to the same ritual of horror. For a fleeting second my hazy mind forgets, then I remember that I have lost you all over again," he said.

"So perpetual, it feels almost routine at this point, and the worst part of all is that I can't see that feeling ever ending.


Colin O’Neill has written a blog about his love for fiancee Grace McDermott who died in a house fire
Colin O’Neill has written a blog about his love for fiancee Grace McDermott who died in a house fire

"Though I know that this might sound arrogant, I believe what we had was truly unique.

"I try to tell myself that if the world was meant to lose you on that date, how lucky was I that I got to spend the last five years of your life being loved by you.

"I go through all the usual emotions, daily. In my selfish hours, I feel hard done by, but I am still here. I know how wonderful your life was and I know how much you achieved but you were taken too soon.

"You would have been a fierce and amazing mother and I know how much we both wanted that. It's just unfair."

Colin also said he is determined to honour Grace by living his life as she would have wanted.

"I will try to live my life in a way that would make Grace McDermott proud of me. I will keep my chin up and try to achieve anything I feel she would approve of.

"I know my life will never be the same, but that is something I must live with and walk with (I can hear her screaming at me now 'different doesn't mean bad'), but I will have to disagree with her on that one.

"I suppose I just miss my best friend."

He finished his emotional post by thanking lecturer Grace for all she did for him.

"I love you Grace," he wrote. "Thank you for being my number 1 fan, for teaching me how to be a better human and for choosing me to be your life partner. I just wish it lasted another 50 years."

Grace had been planning their wedding when she died.

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