Mourners honour alleged murdered mum as a selfless mate
AS KAREN Jayne Gilliland's three young children placed letters on their mother's coffin, a feeling of sadness swept across the funeral at Rockhampton St Joseph's Cathedral.
The funeral, which was livestreamed for those at home, was an intimate ceremony filled with many emotional sentiments in honour of the beloved mother, friend and family member.
Karen, 42, was sadly killed on June 23 at her home in an alleged domestic violence incident.
She would have been 43 next week.
Her brother Bryan, fondly spoke about his only sibling with his young niece Jade, 6 - Karen's daughter - by his side.
He read out messages he had received from Karen's friends and work colleagues about her kind nature.
"She always thought of others… I loved to listen to you laugh throughout the day…. No matter what you were going through you always put our needs before your own…. Best mate to many, friend to all, workplace mum to lab rats, mother to four beautiful souls," Bryan said.
Bryan reminisced about how much Karen loved to read and could be a "literary snob", picking up on grammar and spelling errors.
He spoke about how she would always be late for the bus, running down the driveway with her arms halfway through her jumper and her bag on her shoulder as the bus would be pulling up.
He spoke about how they had many odd jobs to earn money when they were younger, he would shovel cow manure and Karen would raise day-old chickens to laying age.
She raised them as house pets to be quite tame and hand fed, and still had some to the day she died.
Their names were Selma and Patty from The Simpsons, and Reddy.
Bryan remembered the rebellious spirit Karen always had.
"She liked to come across a bit tough but she really wasn't," she said.
Bryan recalled how she always wanted to be a mum and she did everything for her kids.
Karen leaves behind three children, Saul, 15, Lara, 11 and Jade, 6.
Karen will be buried at the Memorial Gardens next to her son, Thomas, who died in hospital three weeks after his birth.
Bryan spoke to the three children and said it was a tough road ahead but he would always be there for them.
"It's okay to fall, that is how we learn," he said to them.
Karen was a student at St Joseph's Wandal and The Cathedral College in Rockhampton.
She worked for Queensland Health in pathology at Rockhampton Hospital.
The funeral began with the opening song of Come As You Are by Deidre Brown.
Parents Cheryl O'Sullivan and Geoff Cranston held back tears as they placed the pall over Karen's white coffin.
Workmates Katie Forrest and Brooke Jones, with Karen's youngest daughter, Jade, placed flowers on the coffin while Nellie O'Sullivan placed photographs.
Children Saul, Lara and Jade came together and put their own letters to their Mum on the coffin.
The first reading, St Paul to Corinthians 5:1 was read by mother Cheryl followed by The Lord is My Shepherd and a second reading Isaiah 43:1, 4-5 read by Ross Martin and gospel acclamation and reading from John 17:24-26.
A prayer of the faithful was spoken by Renarta Whitcombe, Brooke Jones, Katie Forrest and Lara Gilliland, who thanked all of Karen's family and friends and the first responders from the fateful night.
"For those who are here today and those who could not be here with us," Lara said.
An invitation to prayer and song of farewell, Song of the Angels by Bob Dufford and Galilee Song by F. Andersen was sung.
A wake will be held at the Bluebird United Sports Club, Norman Gardens this afternoon.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.