Clarissa's mum Rebecca creates an ‘inspirational' tribute site

January 31st, 2016 7:25 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Rebecca describes the pain at losing Clarissa as ‘the holes in the sails of my heart' and outlines how her day-to-day grief threw up so many imponderables.

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The mother of the child who tragically drowned at Audley Cove in 2013 has created a website and Facebook page in honour of her daughter, writes Jackie Keogh

REBECCA Claire, whose daughter Clarissa McCarthy died in a tragic drowning near Ballydehob on March 5th 2013, has opened her heart on her new website ‘’.

Rebecca’s daughter was drowned by her father at Audley Cove three years ago, when he also took his own life.

Rebecca says: ‘No one gets through life unscathed,’ but the healing power of compassion extends to everyone. And it is with compassion that Rebecca wants to be ‘an inspiration for people who find themselves in difficult situations.’

Rebecca created the new website on the first day of the New Year, saying: ‘I created as a place where I can share my story as a mother who lost her child and the journey I have taken from that point.’

She also created a Facebook page with the same name, with photos of her and Clarissa, requesting readers to ‘please share’ it.

‘I do not put my suffering before anyone else’s (but) I want to create inspiration and positive reinforcement to anyone who has struggled and wishes to find hope in moving forward on their path.

‘I have never shared my experience so candidly, so please be patient with me. This is a journey that I want to share and I feel that I am now ready to do so.

‘It has almost been three years now. Strange how time has passed, but it does. That amazing little girl is still present in my everyday ... she guides every step I take. No matter how much time has separated us physically, she is always and will always be in my heart. 

‘She is still my baby girl and I am still her mother, that love never changes. Yes it hurts, but finding that genuine sweetness, the tangible warmth in that love is how I survive.’

The people I have met since then and the friends and family that have carried me through have instilled in me a calling of determination to be the best that I can be. Not just to make Clarissa proud, but myself as well.’

Since her return to the United States, Rebecca has embarked on a whole new career and is currently a student at The Culinary Institute of America in the beautiful Napa Valley.

She says she hasn’t opened up to too many people about what she’s been through, because she didn’t want people to feel sorry for her, or to cause them to feel the pain she feels.

She describes that pain as ‘the holes in the sails of my heart’ and outlined how her day-to-day grief threw up so many imponderables, so many ‘what ifs’, such as: ‘What if I feel too detached from everyone and that becomes overwhelming?’

Some of these demons were about Rebecca expecting the worst and being afraid of the possible. But some of the issues were real, and she freely admits that it took her ages to patch those holes in the sails of her heart.

Now, she says: ‘I feel ready to share my story and my journey.’ She speaks about all the positive things she does to ground herself and to stay positive. And she started writing her blog so she could offer positivity to other people who are experiencing a heavy heart.

Rebecca believes that even in the most hopeless of places there are still reasons ‘to open your heart’ to the possibility of a tomorrow – a tomorrow that can be full of promise. By opening up to each other, she said, ‘we break down the barriers’ and find that we are all made of the same stuff.

Rebecca describes Clarissa, the three-year-old daughter that she loved with all her heart, as ‘one of the most outgoing little girls I have ever met. She would befriend everyone she encountered and want to know everything about them. She had such an amazing spirit. I want her spirit to live on in these pages.’

People reading Rebecca’s blog are resonating with her message of compassion, service and support. One woman says: ‘Keep speaking from your heart Rebecca.’ Another describes the website and Rebecca’s blog as ‘a beautiful tribute to an amazing little girl and a courageous testament to your own inner strength.’ Others simply admire her ‘courage’.

The website offers inspiration for people who have suffered and are on the road to healing – people who are living productive lives and are looking for a place of love and support. See:

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