Chestnut Grove, Mill Street, Westport and formerly of Springfield Drive, The Quay, Westport
Paula passed away suddenly surrounded by her loving husband Peter and two daughters Tiffany and Chloe on October 26, 2020, in Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar. We as a family have struggled to understand and accept the loss of a loving wife and mother but more than that, a best friend. Losing someone so special is a deeply painful experience and comes with a hurricane of emotions.
We have found comfort in the kindness and generosity shown to us by family, friends, neighbours and the wider community.
Paula was one of six children, born to Pat and Patricia ‘Patsy’ Cunningham. The family came from Galway, but after a trip to Westport to visit some family, Paula decided she liked it here and wasn’t going home. Paula got her way and a move to Westport followed. She grew up on The Fairgreen, followed by a move then to Springfield Drive, She was a pupil of Sacred Heart School Westport and later went to Letterkenny RTC.
Paula’s work life was mixed to say the least. She was a qualified Marine Aquaculturist, a transport manager, an executive business partner, a nightclub bartender, a bakery assistant, and up until her passing a presiding officer, a job that gave her great satisfaction as it would take her back to The Quay on the occasion of every election.
Paula and Peter’s relationship is the true definition of young love. Paula would often sit on the Idle Wall down The Quay waiting for Peter to finish work at McAleer’s. To say their relationship was a perfect one would be an understatement because they were together one week and off the next one. No matter what the issue was all arguments usually ended after Paula received a bunch of flowers. It still worked after many years!
Numerous proposals were tried and failed. Marriage came on the condition of a house on the moon. While the wedding went ahead and a house in Chestnut Grove was the compromise, the moon was never far from their thoughts. It was touching a few years ago, Peter splashed out and managed to buy Paula an acre of land on the moon - better late than never! And as recently as her last birthday she also officially became a ‘Lady’, as a plot of land in Scotland was acquired although the authenticity of these may come into question but it is something she got great enjoyment out of.
Paula was a mother to two girls. This was no mean feat especially given her medical conditions. She had a hard time juggling our demands. Between solving countless arguments, washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning up after two teenage girls, she never complained, not once. She showered us with unconditional love and was always a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, our biggest support system and a best friend.
She enjoyed the simple things in life - a good book, Ireland AM every morning and a two hour soap binge around the dinner table every evening. No matter what was going on in life, there was nothing a cup of tea (or 30!) and a chat couldn’t solve. Her homemade chocolate biscuit cake was her masterpiece and would be produced at all family celebrations. The recipe for it remains a mystery, but we will enjoy the challenge!
When times were tough, she soldiered on. She never had it easy. Between diabetes and her heart condition, she always battled bravely for many years. She kept herself as healthy as she could to allow her to care for others around her. Sometimes even the dog was more important!. She taught us how to look after ourselves, but more importantly, how to look after and treat our family and friends.
Paula was a passionate figure of strength who constantly showed support and love for her family. We wish we could have had more time and perhaps we would have spent so much more of it together. We wish that so much of her life had not been filled with illness. Things could have been so much different for her, but we take comfort in her now being at peace. Her struggles have come to wan end, but the pain and sadness remains with us. While she may no longer be here, she departs having given us a strong and lasting legacy of love. The way she touched our hearts and lives will always remain. I ask you all to keep those memories and that legacy alive by sharing them with us and with one another. In the words of a certain song, “We never knew lonely till we lost you”. Sleep soundly Paula, we love and miss you.