Dance in the Sky as Jake holds mammy’s hand

Mary Lou McDonald, Roseann and Chris Brennan, Henry Shefflin and Andrew McGuinness

By Jimmy Rhatigan

All pics: Donal Foley

THE roles were reversed.

When a little bundle of joy called Jake was a nipper it was his mother Roseann who showered love on her first born.

Last Wednesday, it was Jake Brennan who held his mother Roseann’s hand and encouraged and cajoled her through a celebration of the all too short life of a darling son.

“When people started to arrive for our celebration, my nerves became frayed. Then my beautiful Jakie took over. In my mind I said the magic words, come on Jakie.

“When I came under pressure Jakie and the Angels rescued me. I’m convinced that my words to a wonderful gathering of people were spoken by me but came from Jake.

“My little man was with me all through an evening in his honour and he will always be by my side.”

Mother of three, Roseann Brennan was mulling over the minutes when her turn came to speak to a gathering that came from a few corners of Mother Ireland to celebrate the life of a young boy who is still touching hearts, grabbing minds and inspiring some who may not even have known him.

With her husband, Chris, a quiet but very friendly son of Castlecomer, Roseann was hosting a book launch at the Langton House Hotel Ballroom where Jake had stolen the show with his dark hair, bright eyes and delightful suit on the occasion of the wedding of his parents.

A book, Mammy I Don’t Want to Die, written from the broken heart of his mother was supposed to be the focus.

Yes, the paper back did capture the imagination, a tough read, a tear-jerker for any mother and father in particular, a book that will certainly test the emotions.

It is a recollection of Jake’s infant years right up to the unmerciful hour when he died tragically in an accident near his family home.

The book is a journey into the personal and tragic life of a family, something Roseann believed she had to write to fulfil Jake’s Legacy.

It is a positive following a negative that may encourage troubled families to bond together and turn over a new leaf.

It was the amazing get-together that really hit the spot.

It was a book launch with a difference, a spiritual experience for some perhaps who may have taken solace from an event that could so easily have been morbid and low key.

Not a hope, it was sincere, loving, full of the joys of life, all qualities that mirrored the first chapter of a precious young life of which caring parents, Jake’s brother, Kaelem, seven on May 1 and four year old sister, Savannah will always be part.

Jake left a lasting impression on so many. He was in a way a role model for tender years even though it is unlikely that he knew the meaning of the words.

One could have collected buckets of love as the extended Brennan family, young and young at heart, in tandem with loyal friends from Kilkenny City and County were united in fraternity.

Warriors of kindness travelled from Cork and Belfast, gestures of solidarity with a family who experienced the torture of little boy lost but have now found a chain of affection of which Jake will always be a vital link.

With respect, the occasion was something of a contradiction, an evening when grieving parents and extended families of courage came together to party.

At The Reporter we had already told the story of a loving mother who opened her heart, unlocked the Gates of Hell on Earth following the tragic death of her six year old son.

Last Wednesday, negativity was barred as a ballroom of romance in a local hotel became a corner of Heaven, a celebration of a wonderful young boy and the people who will always cherish him.

There was a mix of courage, charisma and caring in a tastefully decorated room that featured a picture of Jake and many balloons in his favourite colours of red and blue.

The programme of entertainment was superb, soothing, uplifting.

There were no tears or sad songs, it was a celebration after all.

The audience was blown away by a brilliant city choir called Soulful Spirit.

The clock was then turned back to Roseann and Chris’s wedding day when her niece, Sherice sang The Wedding Song.

“As she sang it I could picture Jake in a little suit similar in style to the suit his daddy wore. I remember he was in our arms when that song was sung. It was his day, it was beautiful,” said Roseann.

Laura Ramsbottom, a nurse and family friend who tried to revive Jake before he was pronounced dead, sang Dance in the Sky which she had been sung at his funeral.

Jake loved Dance in the Sky and the consensus had to be that, that is exactly what he was doing as he held hands with his mother on a night when some may have sneaked a few tears for souvenirs.

The memorial evening brought a smile of happiness to many faces, just like Jake’s almost permanent smile that charmed so many lives in his all too short years and brightened so many others.