Died of a broken heart, John's with Rosie again
John and Rosie Kilfedder on their wedding day.
AN Enniskillen man who watched his terminally-ill wife pass away four days after their wedding died of a broken heart last week, his family have said. John Kilfedder passed away at South West Acute Hospital following a short spell of ill-health. His distraught sister Brenda Fallis says after losing his beloved wife Rosemary last year to cancer, six weeks after she was diagnosed, the 52-year-old's life was never quite the same again and in the end: "He had no fight left in him".
"John wasn't scared of dying since Rosie passed away so knowing they are both together again is a great comfort to me. He never thought about the afterlife or anything like that yet he would say: If anything happens to me, I am going to be with Rosie again," she said.
It was a tragedy that touched the hearts of thousands of people in Fermanagh last year when Rosie, too ill to have her wedding at Rossorry Parish Church, found enough strength to marry her long-term partner in an emotionally-charged ceremony in the couple's living room, conducted by Rev. Arthur Barrett.
In the space of seven days the mother-of-three celebrated her 59th birthday, got married and then sadly passed away - a day after Valentine's Day. On Saturday, hundreds of people paid their respects at John's funeral service at Rossorry, a place where he found much solace after Rosie's death, with Rev. Barrett telling mourners the couple were now "having their honeymoon in paradise".
"Losing John has been a nightmare, it seems so unfair. I know he is happy with Rosie but I would have liked him here longer," said Brenda, fighting back tears.
Rosemary's children; Julie, Shirley and Robbie say they will also miss the popular man.
"He was the father figure I always wanted, but we knew his heart was broken," commented Julie.
She continued: "If I needed a talk I always went to him, I got closer to him after mum died. He needed me and I needed him. I am finding this really hard. I remember saying to him in the hospital: 'Don't you be thinking of going anywhere' and he replied: 'It depends who I meet'. He knew what was happening," she said.
Shirley added: "They are together, we have no doubt about that. But I feel like I have lost both my mum and dad now. John said to us more times this year that he couldn't be more proud of me, Julie and Robbie, but we couldn't have been prouder of him. He was the best".
After Rosie's death last year, John gave a moving interview to this newspaper about his loss.
On their wedding, he said: "I cried through my vows, I found them very difficult, especially the bit: 'Till death do us part'... that was brutal."
On her death, he said: "I don't know how I'm feeling to be honest with you. I don't know how to explain it. There are no words... it's brutal... I can't believe it".
On his last moments with her, he said: "It was such a shock, I was in bits. I lay with her the whole time".
And while his heart was very much broken, John (son of Molly and the late Robert Kilfedder from Kesh) kept himself busy over the last year; he lost a lot of weight, took up painting and decorating again, joined a local bowls clubs and was about to rejoin Ballyreagh Silver Band where he spent many years playing the cornet.
In fact, Brenda says the family will feel much sadness today (Thursday) when the Twelfth of July celebrations take place in Enniskillen as John never missed the parade over the years.
His loved ones must now prepare for life without him and they will do this by recalling all the happy times spent with a person they say was loved by everyone, especially Rosie.
Poignantly, Julie recently discovered her mother's diary and found a heartfelt message about John written inside. One Christmas, Rosie wrote: "I am just thinking today that this is the best Christmas I have ever had and I owe it all to John. He has made me the happiest woman alive and I know he can't believe that but I know it's true".
"Mum was never one to tell people her true feelings so the fact she wrote this shows how much she loved John," said Julie.
John, who worked at The Poachers Inn in Ballinamallard, enjoyed cooking for his family and especially liked making desserts.
"He could have sold them in any of the restaurants in town. He used to bring us out for Sunday dinner and as soon as you came into the house you could smell the dinner," said Shirley.
"He made home-made pancakes and used to spell out my son's name (Jody) in pancake mixture. That's just the type of man he was; he cared so much about everyone," added Julie.
On his Facebook page, friends and family have been paying tribute to "the gentle giant" this week.
Jill Weir wrote: "Lovely service for you today John. As the Minister said you are with Rosie having the honeymoon you never had here. God bless you both".
Linda Fitzpatrick wrote: "RIP John. Together again with your true love".
Leanne Porter wrote: "Sad to hear the news this morning. RIP John. You are now back in the arms of Rosie".
During the couple's wedding last year they played their favourite song 'Islands in the Stream' by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It was an emotionally-charged moment, so it seems fitting to recall some of those touching lyrics today.
"No more will you cry. Baby, I will hurt you never... We start and end as one in love forever".
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 12 Jul 12