An Irish singer who once performed at the White House for George Bush has opened up about her bittersweet moment when her ailing father couldn’t walk her down the aisle on their wedding day – so she later showed up at his hospital in her wedding dress.
Laire Malone toured the world for 10 years with the band The Commitments, supporting the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Arrested Development and Lou Reed.
But the biggest event of her life was to take place last Tuesday, her wedding anniversary, and the one person she wanted most to be there was her beloved father, John.
John, 78, from Roscrea Co Tipperary, who now lives in Drumcondra, north Dublin, is currently being treated at Mater Private Hospital for stage four cancer.
Claire was set to marry the love of her life, Paddy Lynn, who is also the father of her two children, son Maverick, 3, and daughter Teddi, 1.
The couple arranged a ceremony at the beautiful Seagrave Barn in Togher, Co Louth, which was handy as they live nearby.
“We did everything we could to get my father there,” Claire explains.
“My father is my best friend. We have a very unique relationship. We spend a lot of time together.
“All I did was try to get him to my wedding. I racked the brains of doctors. He’s in and out and I drive ’em all crazy, we know ’em all so well.
“But it was just about getting my dad healthy for the day and sure, then he went to the hospital on the Saturday before, then I was at the venue on Monday. It was all clear, we wanted to get him out on Tuesday morning, he should have another blood transfusion.”
She had also made sure to take every precaution to protect her frail father.
“We had emailed everyone on Friday to do antigens so there would be no Covid,” she explains.
“In fact in the five days before that we lost about 30 guests due to Covid which was so disappointing but I thought ‘this is the thing anyway'”.
Claire woke up early that Tuesday morning, July 12th.
“I woke up around 5:30 a.m. and couldn’t breathe, I was so worried about the morning and the day ahead,” she recalls.
At 8:40 a.m., she received a call from the hospital.
“They said it wasn’t safe for him to go to the wedding because he was clotting and losing blood all the time, so it wasn’t safe for him,” she sighs.
“I just fell on the floor. I couldn’t get up, couldn’t stop crying.
“All I talked about going to the wedding was him giving me away. In my speech, ‘my biggest wish for today was for you to walk me down the aisle and it came through’.”
Claire’s mother Lorraine died 14 years ago and she has only one sibling, Niall.
“For three hours I literally lay on the floor crying. I went into the forest alone, spoke out loud, prayed to my mother and tried to manifest it so that it would happen. Then it just didn’t work, I collapsed,” she reflects.
She then had to make the decision whether or not to have the wedding outdoors.
“Literally about an hour and a half, two hours before I just had to make a decision. Either I’ll continue now,” she confirms.
Then she came up with a plan.
“The guys who run the venue put a wifi pod thing in the woods so we have a signal,” she beams.
“My sister-in-law Geraldine, she had her phone on and my father was sitting with one of the nurses in the Mater Private and he was able to watch it.”
She also got a nice replacement to walk her down the aisle.
“My mother’s two cousins, Attracta and Marion, I gave them a poem to read. So they came to my house, and I always feel my mom when they’re around, so I just looked at them when we were taking a picture and said, ‘Come down the aisle with me, and they popped both in tears, so that everyone howled for a good 45 minutes. So they brought me down.”
During the ceremony, her celebrant, Karen, kept in touch with her father by phone.
“I also kept going to the phone and saying ‘I love you dad.’ A microphone was set up and he said back, “I know you do”. Everyone roared and I sang.
“It was the most emotional day of my life, but it was just magical.”
The next day they continued the celebrations and came home on Thursday.
On Friday morning, Claire and Paddy traveled to Mater Hospital with their two children.
“I came into the hospital and said, ‘I want my father to see me.’ So they said, ‘You can come in here, we’ll organize a lounge and stuff,'” she notes
“So we went in and put on our wedding clothes and they took dad from his room to the day room and all the nurses stood behind him while he looked at my wedding dress.
“Everyone was crying, it was so freaking emotional, and he just beamed as he held my hand up to look at my wedding ring.”
Claire took on the role of Imelda May in the band The Commitments, originally played by Angeline Ball.
Original stars like Dick Maskey, Ken McCluskey and Michael Ahern were permanent members of the outside world, while vocalist Joe Walsh filled in for Andrew Strong.
“One of our best moments was performing at the White House for George Bush on St. Patrick’s Day,” Claire admits.
“We toured the world. It was us, we’re not trying to be anyone. Looking back I thought, ‘Is this my life, traveling around the world’.”
Claire now sings in a band called Gossip.
“We are now in full swing after two years of doing nothing because of Covid,” she adds. “We make ceremonial music for weddings and funerals. We do everything from Adele to Guns ‘N Roses.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/bride-delights-dad-who-couldnt-give-her-away-by-visiting-hospital-in-wedding-dress-41865058.html The bride pleases the father, who could not betray her, by visiting the hospital in her wedding dress