AS the victim’s families gather on Belmore Street today to mark the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing, one local face will be notably absent.
While her late husband Gordon found himself in the media spotlight in the aftermath of the bomb, Joan Wilson has greatly impressed everyone with the way she has carried the loss of her daughter Marie with dignity over the past three decades.
On the day her daughter died in the Erne hospital from injuries sustained when the bomb went off as she stood with her father near the Cenotaph, Mrs Wilson was playing the organ at the Sunday service in Enniskillen Methodist Church. Arriving at the Erne Hospital, Mrs Wilson found Gordon in a chair with a dislocated shoulder.
Some two and a half hours later, she learned that Marie, a 20-year-old nurse, was in theatre.
When she was later brought to see Marie in Intensive Care, she was lying there, wired up but died a short time later. Gordon passed away in June 1995, six months after the untimely death of their son Peter in a car accident.
While the events of November 8th 1987 occurred many years ago now, 86-year-old Joan remembers the details as if it were only yesterday.
“People say that time heals, but it doesn’t. It only teaches you how to cope better. No matter how bad you feel, you have to get up and go, do something and keep busy.”
She still thinks daily of Marie as a “bright, rebellious and deeply loving daughter” and knows they will meet again some “wonderful day”.
In the midst of her suffering, Mrs Wilson has remained at the family home at Cooper Crescent, across the road from the former Collegiate Grammar School where she taught music.
That is where she will be today, at home remembering her loved ones.
“I prefer to stay at home on November 8th and have a quiet day with my daughter. This is always a week of reflection but I remember my loved ones many times every day.
“My daughter loved this house and it’s where all the family memories are,” she adds.
With five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, she has great hope for the future of her family circle.
Yesterday (Tuesday) marked the first birthday of Mrs Wilson’s twin great-granddaughters, Julie and Jessica Grey. Their arrival on November 7th last brought great joy on what is always a difficult week.