Shane Lappin tragedy: Key to their dream home laid at front of church funeral while heartbroken wife looks on
Mr Lappin, 30, died in a tragic building accident at the dream home he was building for his new bride Sarah, the pair having only married in August. The accident, understood to have involved a teleporter, took place in the Madden Road area of Keady on Saturday.
About twenty relatives followed the coffin into a completely empty St Patrick’s Church in Keady, due to Coronavirus, but online viewers peaked at 1000 during a live broadcast on Facebook.
The service opened with a beautiful rendition of Fields of Gold, with the evocative line about undying love: “You’ll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley.”
Symbols of Shane’s life were placed at the front by children; a toy tractor, his John Deere boiler suit, the key to “the dream home” he had been building and photos of both families taken on their wedding day last summer.
Fr McKeever said of Shane: “When he came to see me about his wedding papers about this time last year, he was full of excitement about his upcoming wedding to Sarah. He was full of plans and hopes.”
He added: “I cannot explain how a 17-year-old girl from Cloghogue could run into a 19-year-old lad from Keady by chance in Warrenpoint and know at that very moment that they would be married. And for them to actually get married! Many dream of love at first sight and find it is only an illusion. But for Shane and Sarah it was real. They were meant for each other. They were devoted to each other. What strange power brought them together? The same power that brought Shane into the world as a miracle baby. And the same power to which he now returns.”
Later as he shook incense above the coffin, Sarah stood close by, a relative embracing her from behind with two hands to comfort her.
Fr McKeever also noted “the love and high esteem that everyone had for Shane: friends, neighbours, teachers, workmates and employers over the years, all the customers he dealt with across the country in his work for John Bell, and of course above all his family and his new in-laws.”
And he used the biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus and his grieving sister’s complaint to explore the question of suffering and divine love.
“In the gospel, Jesus did not answer Martha’s grief-filled complaint by giving her reasons. Instead, he answered her by making her a promise: ‘Your brother will rise again’.”
He added: “It is tempting to spend our time thinking only of the future that Shane had planned yet now cannot be. But that would not be fair to Shane or fair on ourselves because he already achieved so much in a short life and has left us so many happy memories which he would not want to be forgotten.
“Shane’s parents always saw him as a miracle baby, a special gift of God. He was a dream son, never causing any trouble, never getting into fights or falling out. Even as a child at school he was so pleasant and friendly, something that his teachers noticed. He was always eager to work, especially in farming as he was never happier than on a John Deere tractor.
“When he was born, the doctor who delivered him remarked that he had never seen a baby with such large hands. They were farmer’s hands, Lappin hands. But they were much more than that. Shane had hands that were smart hands, that he could turn to anything. A skilled joiner by trade, he could also fix any tractor and take on any practical job. The work he did in building his own house is a testament to that.
“With Shane’s big hands went a big heart. He’d always do a favour for someone if he could. He never made any distinctions between people but made time for everyone, especially to talk.”
Fr McKeever noted that “because he was so generous with his time, Shane was never on time” with the exception of his wedding day; his bride-to-be had got him a wrist watch and a pocket watch as presents.
As the coffin was carried outside afterwards it was raining heavily. A relative told the News Letter: “The angels are weeping.”
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