Meghann Scully holds up a photo of her brother Marcus
"NEVER, ever take anything for granted in life,” urges Meghann Scully, who lost her 18-year-old brother, Marcus, in a car accident.
The presenter of Fully Charged on Spin South West and well-known Irish model has opened up about her loss in the hope it may prevent future tragedies in 2017. Fifteen died on the roads of Limerick in 2016 compared to four in 2015. One is too many.
Meghann, who is now based in Limerick, said: “I never said goodbye to Marcus because I never expected this to happen to us but the reality is it can happen to anyone.”
The pain her brother’s death has caused is something she never wants anyone else to have to endure.
“My heart is forever broken and while I have learned to laugh again and I try to make the most out of every moment of my life, I will never get over this,” said Meghann.
Growing up, jumping into cars with friends and family was just an everyday occurrence for Meghann, as it is for most of us.
“Something I never thought about or I guess had to think about, or so I thought. On March 4, 2005, that all changed.
“My brother Marcus set off for rugby training along with his friend driving them in his new car. Young lads, full of life, remarkable sports players in their own right. Marcus was an extremely popular young man and was always extremely courteous and polite but up for a laugh.
“At the time Marcus was in Leaving Cert and he was studying to become a vet. He was at boarding school so we only had Marcus at the weekends. At the time, I didn’t realise how important those weekends were,” she said.
On that evening Meghann was horse riding with her dad and and could see ambulances haring down the Ennis road towards Gort.
“I knew there had been an accident of some sort. When the lesson was over I went home and found my mother quite agitated. She hadn’t been told about the accident but in her heart she knew Marcus wasn’t okay. No guards rang us. We had to ring friends and neighbours to hear of the crash and even then nobody could tell us what was happening. Was it just a tip?
“We were standing in our neighbours’ garden on the main Galway road when an ambulance sped past us, sirens flashing and blaring. Little did we know that was my brother inside,” recalled Meghann.
On Marcus’ way home from training there was a collision. While the driver died instantly, Marcus was conscious and talking. He was cut from the car and rushed to hospital.
Meghann and her family made their way to the hospital but still weren’t told the enormity of what was happening.
“All I remember was seeing neighbours and Marcus’ friends arrive into the ER, which at the time confused me. It took some time to get information but I remember a nurse pointing to a room saying, 'Marcus is in there' – the resuscitation room. The next few hours were a waiting game as Marcus went for surgery. His injuries were too great and although a strong young man with a zest for life – it wasn’t enough, he couldn’t fight it.
“At 2.30am on March 5 after waiting in the ER for what seemed like an eternity, Marcus took his final breath. Our lives were destroyed.”
The now 27-year-old says nothing can prepare you for the trail of devastation that ensues.
“Marcus was more than a big brother, he was a friend and father figure. Suddenly I was an only child with an emptiness in my heart. People often say that time is a great healer which isn’t always the case.
“Time makes you question so many things, it builds a fear within you and now stepping into a car, even to go to the shop isn’t just a quick trip. It’s a constant reminder of how everything can change in a split second.”
Christmas and the New Year is a time to celebrate with loved ones but for the Scully family it is a sad reminder of the loss they suffered.
But not only the loss of Marcus but the passing of dad Maxie a year later. Marcus' passing greatly hastened his father's death.
“Dad had ailments from as far back as I can remember. As kids we would visit him in various hospitals but he was a fighter. People often referred to him as the bionic man. No matter how ill he got he always recovered. He lived a fulfilling life, rode horses, enjoyed his nights out and travelled. He was a real spontaneous man, probably because he knew how precious life was.
“After my brother’s accident the grief was so great that my dad threw in the towel. After years of battling illness and surviving, he was emotionally exhausted.
“And because he spent 52 years surviving he couldn’t understand that Marcus was taken in one fell swoop. As the weeks past his health deteriorated, he ended up in hospital which led to a nursing home and eventually lost the fight in August 2006,” said Meghann.
So, if you ever speed, or you don’t fasten your seatbelt, or you text while driving or get behind the wheel when you are tired or after a couple of pints, Meghann has some heartfelt words of advice, at the time of year when we all try to change our ways.
“Never, ever take life for granted. In a split second everything can change so the next time you get behind the wheel, or are in a car, remember you aren’t invincible. Mind yourself and mind your friends.”