Bernard Lucas, husband of the late Caitríona revealed that volunteering is helping him to find comfort in the aftermath of his wife’s death.
Caitríona died tragically in September while volunteering with the Irish Coast Guard in Kilkee after the boat she was in capsized. She became the first member of the Coast Guard to die while on a rescue mission.
Speaking on The Late Late Show, Bernard said that he and Caitríona were “childhood sweethearts” who “shared a lot of common interests”. He recalled when they first met at a disco when she was seventeen. During the interview he spoke of the day that changed everything.
“My pager went off at home. It was an upturned boat in Kilkee. So I proceeded to Doolin as normal and got on the boat in Doolin and went from Doolin to Kilkee. I hadn’t known she was going to be on the boat. I had no idea of, number one, that she was on the boat, or number two, the enormity which unfolded later on.”
“They asked to speak to me and that was it. I was taken over to where Caitríona had been taken from the water and I flew with her to Limerick in the helicopter. [It was] awful, absolutely awful.”
Their two children, Ben and Emma also appeared on the show. Over four months ago, Ben delivered a powerful eulogy at the funeral. On Friday the twenty year old commented “It really hasn’t hit me, I don’t realise the enormity of the situation yet, just been on auto-pilot since September”.
Originally from Ballyvaughan, Caitríona was described by her husband as “a marvellous person, very bubbly, full of life just loved helping others, getting involved in different projects”.
Two weeks after the accident, Bernard resumed his voluntary work with the Coast Guard. “It’s what we did. It’s what we do and it’s what Caitríona did and loved. I suppose I get comfort from it.”
He encouraged others to volunteer with the service to help families searching for their loved ones. “It is the best thing you can do, it really is. You don’t realise what it means to people to get a person back that has been missing or retrieve a body from the water and to give it back to people. Let them have a place [to visit] and let them have closure.”