Treen, Tourmakeady, Co Mayo
December 27, 2014 to June 1, 2020
Santa Claus was especially busy in December, 2014, because that year Matthew, Daniel, Darcey and Dolan Duffy had a very particular list – they asked for a best friend, a room-mate, a playmate and a little bit of a troublemaker. There was one hitch though, Santa was running late. He made his usual delivery of goodies and presents on Christmas Eve, but there was one gift a little too special for the sleigh. Thankfully on 27 December, 2014, Ben Duffy was finally delivered – and what a gift he was. His presence was our present and, eventually, we forgave Santa for the extended wait.
The five years we had with Ben were obviously too brief - but so beautiful. As we begin to reflect through the pain of loss, we can take some small comfort that we were all truly blessed to have had him in our lives; even for such a short period. Ben was a boy full of life; who lived every minute with vibrant infectious energy.
Our family, friends and neighbours have shared many of their memories with us. Little notes added to cards. Tales of incidents. Sketches of childhood. Chuckles of things said. Memories that are painful to hold but we fear letting go. We just want to pull Ben close once more and tell him how much he was loved. By us. By the community. By all those across Ireland; by all those who sent kind wishes and to say how Ben’s passing brought them closer to their precious bundles of energy.
Ben loved Lego, watching movies with his family and playing football. His schoolfriends told us that he was brilliant goalie even though we thought midfield was his favourite position to play. He loved nothing more than chasing after his elder brothers and sister; always trying and often failing to catch up with them. He was a superhero who lay on the bed and pretended to fly.
Ben loved digging holes. Loved the trampoline; especially if he could get on there with his siblings for Ring-o-Rosie and all-fall-down! It was no surprise that he loved trampoline parks, Thomasland and Alton Towers. He loved milk – better if it was in the form of ice cream. He loved playing the drums (like Animal of the Muppets) and loved music and dancing. He loved sitting in the bath, loved football, played Gaelic for Tourmakeady under-6s, soccer with Partry Athletic FC and basketball with Ballintubber Bulls. He loved butterflies and picking flowers. He loved his little walks and little talks with his Mammy; holding her hand, playing with her hair.
Ben was a natural-born Mammie’s boy; he singularly focussed on and adored his Mammy, his three litres of milk and his pet cat ‘Ginger’. He in turn was adored by his loving parents, Alan and Tracey, his brothers and sister; Matthew, Daniel, Darcey and Dolan - his grandparents, his aunts, uncles, cousins - and all his many, many friends.
Ben loved his own voice. Very loud. Ben loved life.
We have to say goodbye to Ben now. We slowly have to finalise events and rituals that take him from us. We now have to start to accept that he is gone in body; but we hold dearly on to his energy, his spirit, and he will always surround us and live on in our hearts and make us stronger. One day in a far-off future all our wonderful fun memories will one day return a huge smile on our faces once again. Yes, we are sure Ben has taken his place in heaven to keep all the other angels on their toes. We are convinced he is watching over us, and giving us the strength that we so, so badly need right now. We must get through this. One day at a time.