Family of tragic Cork teenager look to the skies in her memory

Family of tragic Cork teenager look to the skies in her memory
Jennifer Haynes (right) mother of Kimberley O'Connor with Kimberley's sisters Shannon and Britney O'Connor her brother Cody -K and niece Tori O'Connor looking at the stars from her home in Harbour view road, knocknaheeneyPicture: Eddie O'Hare

THE family of a teenager who was tragically killed in a horrific crash has found a remarkable way to honour her memory during lockdown.

16-year-old Kimberly O’Connor, from Harbour View Road in Knocknaheeny, was killed when the car in which she was a front seat passenger collided with a wall outside a property just yards from their home last February.

Recently the late teen’s sister Shannon surprised the family by revealing she had a star named after Kimberly which has been recorded on the national Star Registry.

As a result of the pandemic Kimberly’s mother Jennifer said they no longer have the comfort of being surrounded by friends and family. Instead, they are surrounded by stars - one of which now belongs to Kimberly. Every so often the family look up at the stars together as a means to connect with her.

Jennifer Haynes mother of Kimberley O'Connor looking at the stars from her home in Harbour view road, knocknaheeneyPicture: Eddie O'Hare
Jennifer Haynes mother of Kimberley O'Connor looking at the stars from her home in Harbour view road, knocknaheeneyPicture: Eddie O'Hare

“The lockdown started just a few weeks after Kimberly died,” Jennifer said. “Before we had the comfort of friends and family coming over but then all the doors were shut and it was like we were locked away to grieve alone. The pandemic made it harder for us.” Kimberly is survived by her baby brother Cody, sisters, Britney, and Shannon- and niece Tori who all live with Jennifer in the family home.

Stargazing has served as an important part of the grieving process for the heartbroken family who described Kimberly as kind and a talented performer.

“I’m convinced that she was chosen,” Jennifer said. “Kimberly always wanted to make it. I guess in a way she did. We always called her our superstar. Every night the stars are out we’ll look for the brightest one and say “that’s Kimberly looking down on us.” 

"She was taken so quickly in that crash that I know there had to be a reason. Looking up into the sky let’s us know that there is something there.” 

Kimberly’s knowledge of astronomy never ceased to astound her family and friends.

“Kimberly always had a very strong connection with the skies. Her knowledge about star signs was amazing. What I would have to look up in a book she’d be able to tell you from her head. Just days before she died she was talking about star signs. Her star is in the Libra constellation because that was her sign. The sky is a big part of looking up into Heaven. It gives us a bit of comfort to know there is something there.”” Jennifer said she believes that Kimberly is now being look after her by her late dad Mark in Heaven.

“Everyone has somebody up there who went before them. Kimberly’s dad passed away when she was just four years old. Now, it’s like he’s making up for lost time.” Jennifer praised her children for their immense strength.

“I am so proud of them for how strong they have been,” she added.

She also paid tribute to the local community who raised funds to cover Kimberly’s funeral costs after she died.

“We would have made sure that Kimberly had the best whether that money had been raised or not. However, it meant so much that the community wanted to do that for us. Despite her young age Kimberly did a lot of good things. She was caring, bubbly and very well known for her talent. There was such a high turn out at her funeral it was like it had been for a celebrity.” She spoke of Kimberly’s unbreakable spirit adding:

“Kimberly didn’t believe in negativity. All she wanted was for us to be happy. Her favourite quote “positive vibes” is being inscribed on her headstone. It was something that she always used to say.”

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