A plastic bowl and beaker, a little yellow truck and a toy lawnmower were among the gifts offered at the funeral of toddler Brandon Thomas Byrne in Clonsilla, Dublin, on Tuesday.
The 21-month-old boy, who died last Friday after being struck by an SUV near a holiday home close to Ballinagare village, Co Roscommon, was described by his parents as “our gorgeous, beautiful cuddle-bud Brandon”.
In the tribute, read by his uncle Mark Kehir, his parents Louise Kehir and Andrew Byrne said their son’s death had “left a huge void” in their hearts.
“He would just look at you with his big brown eyes and cheeky little grin and you would give him anything. He was full of love and gave so much love to everyone he met. He was a sociable little boy. He loved being in the mix.
“He had a great appetite for exploring and going on adventures, whether it was out his back garden or the neighbours’ gardens . . . Nothing gave him more joy than splashing water or collecting stones and putting them on his lawnmower or bringing them over to show Mammy and Daddy.”
He “loved playing peekaboo with his daddy on the bed” as well as sitting down to his “big dinner of spaghetti or his beloved Bachelor’s baked beans”.
“Brandon you were so full of life and zest that kept Mammy and Daddy going . . . You’ve done so much in your 21 months here with us and though we had hoped for longer, you are off on a new adventure, will look over us and can tell us when we meet again as the three musketeers. Love you always, Mammy and Daddy.”
The altar at St Philip the Apostle Church in Mountview, Clonsilla was decorated with bunches of colourful balloons as Mr Kehir told mourners it had been a “real joy” to watch his sister and brother-in-law “thrive” as “wonderful parents”.
He said Brandon’s grandparents were feeling “particular pain and sorrow . . . We all feel that loss with you and we know how much you love him, being the only grandson on both sides. He really didn’t know how good he had it”.
“It’s one of the cruel things in life when you love someone or something so much, that when it’s taken from you, you have to deal with immense pain. That pain is a symbol of that love and it’s weighing very, very heavy on us at the moment and will weigh on us for the rest of our lives. Little feet make the biggest impact in that pain. But he is always going to be with us in our hearts.”
Fr John Owen, extending the parish’s condolences to Brandon’s family, said when a child died there was an inclination to grieve the loss of the adult they might have become.
“The most important thing about Brandon is not what he might have achieved but the fact that he was,” said Fr Owen. “I think we can all agree children can pack an awful lot of living into a single day. One moment in the life of a child like Brandon is like a day in our own . . . Heaven lies about us in our infancy. There is something beautiful about children even though they are unfinished, because children teach us how to live. Their vision is so fresh and very clear, and they are always themselves. They say it as it is,” said Fr Owen.
“Brandon was like a rainbow that lit up for a sky for a while, then faded and now has gone home to God. May Brandon, our little angel, rest in peace.”
Following his funeral Mass, Brandon was brought for burial to Mulhuddart cemetery.