The shock of the Creeslough tragedy is with us forever.
Those of us on a bus, in a car driving home to Inishowen on the road from Dublin, Belfast, Derry on Friday who heard the news, those of us in our kitchens preparing food, those of us in shops, pubs, those of us ending our workday.
This has been a heart-wrenching weekend.
We sat with our families, our friends, waiting on news, watching from a distance the horrific image of destruction at Creeslough Supermarket.
As the scale of the tragedy unfolded, the world beyond our county’s borders reached into Donegal – our families, our friends abroad called home to us, stood with us.
Over the coming weeks, more will be told – of the victims’ lives, their loves, of the heroism of those who plunged selflessly into the chaos to rescue those trapped, of the generosity, the steadfastness, the effort at Creeslough.
Across Inishowen, vigils were held over the weekend – on Carndonagh’s Diamond, on Buncrana’s Shorefront, on Moville’s Square, on Malin’s Green.
In Clonmany, in Muff, in Burt, Burnfoot, Newtown… across all Inishowen our collective compassion echoed.
Our communities standing together faced our loss, celebrated our life.
Some of us for the first time in many years visited a church, a chapel.
This Monday as we begin a new workweek some of us will drive back towards Dublin, Belfast, Derry.
When again we drive up that road, with teammates, friends, family, towards Dunfanaghy, Falcarragh, west Donegal, when we pass through Creeslough, we will remember those who died and those who were injured.
We will remember our communities standing together. We will remember our home and how much we belong.
We will remember a weekend when time seemed to stop. When we stood with those with whom we disagree, squabble, those we dislike, in silence remembering the victims at Creeslough.
And when we drive through any townland or village in Inishowen and stop to buy fuel or sweets, we will look to our families, our friends, our community.
We must hold close our loved ones, our friends, our community – and talk to each other.
May those affected by the Creeslough tragedy find comfort at this time.