Lives Remembered

Wendy Healy: 'I love you 'cos you're great'

A STRANGE thing happened when Wendy was buried.

It was December 7 2022, a cold, sombre and dark day, with no sunlight, only clouds.

Under the ancient church tower at Tullylish All Saints’ Parish Church, as she was being laid to rest and Psalm 121 was being recited, a beautiful sunbeam broke through the clouds and shone over her grave, alighting on the faces of her children. It disappeared in moments.

And as I told you a thousand times, Wendy, but you never heard until then: I love you ‘cos you’re great.

Wendy Healy was born in November 1967 to Walter and Alys Wilson and lived in the beautiful townland of Moyallon, Co Down.

The Grange, built in 1780, was near the Bann and surrounded by fields and trees and wondrous gardens, tended daily by Walter and his great friend Tommy.

Wendy and her sisters Mary, Caroline and Jill and brother Robert had so many happy times in their lovely family home, which undoubtedly contributed to forming Wendy’s beautiful character.

It was however tinged with the sadness of her mum’s long and difficult illness and the tragic death of Robert in June 1991 when the Tall Ships were in Belfast.

After attending the local primary school, where Wendy was shy but performed speech and drama, she studied English and music at Portadown College.

She loved English, but also enjoyed music where her class spent the week talking about the weekend past, and then the weekend to come.

She also spent a week on Rathlin Island to obtain the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award.

Proceeding to Queen’s in Belfast, Wendy lived a spartan existence and enjoyed the student life, going out to trad nights and making lots of friends.

She graduated in music and English, achieving grade 8 piano and playing guitar and violin – skills she would later pass on to her children and by teaching piano to others – before spending two years teaching in Bridge Integrated Primary School.

Sadly the loss of Robert played on her mind, and perhaps this ‘delayed grief’ caused her subsequent long years of mental health issues. But these did not prevent her from achieving an amazing life.

Wendy married Joseph in a delightful ceremony in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in November 1993, a priest and minister presiding, the choir comprised of her classmates.

She had five children, Aaron, Joshua, Sarah, Matthew and Eve, and these were her happiest days.

She was a truly wonderful mum and in her element with her babies, even though her illness persisted.

Wendy combined motherhood with sub teaching, and she had the same effect at every school.

The children adored her – ‘Here comes Mrs Healy, the kind teacher with the stories’ was one of only two compliments she ever truly accepted.

The other she took to her grave: ‘You have a winning smile’, said a music examiner to a young Wendy .

She enjoyed poetry and English, attending English classes at Queen’s with her father until his death, and loved John Donne, Seamus Heaney and her cousin Jane Clarke, and had an ageing script of Desiderata above her bed.

Tragically she succumbed to her terrible illness on December 2 2022.

It became clear that she had touched the lives of so many people, many of whom loved her immensely, which her illness prevented her from realising.

And as I told you a thousand times but you never heard me until now, Wendy: I love you ‘cos you’re great.

Joseph Healy



Lives Remembered