Six-year-old Kayla Carey was remembered as a beautiful little girl with a loving heart, full of life and happiness as her heartbroken family and friends gathered in St Mary's Church, Navan, for Mass of the Angels earlier today.
Fr Kevin Heery told mourners that Kayla “enjoyed being a young girl and wanted to stay small forever” and it “breaks our hearts that her little aspiration came true”.
He spoke of a little girl who loved stories, especially those with unicorns and said that while the chapters of her life were far too short, they spoke of “beautiful little girl who was loved by her family so much”. They were filled with first steps, her first Christmas, her drawings of home and play, her first day at school and Fr Heery said he had no doubt the recent snowy days would feature with a snowman and a “beaming little Kayla”.
On behalf of the parish, he offered his prayers and sympathies to Kayla's parents Ger and Martin, sister Faith and brother Brooklyn, grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins and all “who knew and loved this special little girl”.
Kayla passed away in Temple Street Children's Hospital last Thursday after contracting meningitis and her tragic death has shocked and devastated the Navan community.
After the funeral, devastated mum Ger posted on her facebook page, “Fly high my baby girl, love you forever, you touched so many in such a short time. Never forget you, love Mammy.”
Kayla’s cousin Jasmine O'Connor remains in Temple Street Hospital and prayers were also offered for her recovery during the funeral Mass.
Kayla was a senior infants pupil in Scoil Mhuire, Navan, and pupils from fourth, fifth and sixth classes, formed a guard of honour as the funeral cortege passed by the school before Kayla was laid to rest in St Finian's Cemetery.
The school choir with pupils from fifth and sixth class sang some hymns during the Mass of the Angels.
Among the congregration were mourners of all ages including young children being comforted by their parents.
Fr Heery said words could not express the “shock and the grief and the loss” of Kayla's very sudden passing, a little girl who was at the “very beginning of life, so full of life, happiness and love.”
Mourners were told how Kayla had a lovely, quiet way about her in class. She had loving heart and was so sensitive to other children and wanted to see them happy.
At the end of the Mass, symbols of Kayla were presented including a unicorn, a Mancester United Jersey, a pair of Wellington Boots and a picture.
There was widespread shock last week as news broke of Kayla's sudden death after contracting meningitis. Both Kayla and her cousin Jasmine had been at school the day before.
Scoil Mhuire principal Colm Devlin paid tribute to little Kayla and said she would be greatly missed by all who knew her. He said: “This is a terrible tragedy for her family, our school and the whole community. We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Kayla’s family and friends.”
Kayla's cousin Jasmine is a fourth class pupil in the school and Mr Devlin said: “The thoughts and prayers of the staff are with Jasmine and her family and hoping for her recovery.”
On Friday, children were sent home from school as a precaution and parents were invited in to a meeting for advice.
The school implemented its critical incident management plan and psychologists from the National Educational Pyschological Service (NEPS) visited the school to offer support and advice and Mr Devlin said he is very grateful for their help and also that of the HSE.
“We have been grateful for the support of the HSE in providing medical information for parents of classmates of Kayla. The teachers will help students to deal with the tragic event.” He also said the school is open to parents, to support them and to offer them advice and guidance. Navan Mayor Tommy Reilly said: “My heart goes out to both families, particularly Kayla's family and her grandparents. It is a terrible tragedy for the town and for the school.”