Memorial Day weekend I buried my last Aunt. She was 96. Her family came from far and wide for her funeral she was the last of her family. She had been born in 1919 just after Christmas in a place called Ballytarsna, Abbeyleix Queens County which after independence revered back to its Irish name County Laois. Throughout her long life she had rarely and only for short periods left her native place. Her family had moved into the town around 1930. She had moved a few hundred yards up the road when she married a neighbor in 1952. Her husband died in1968 and she had struggled to rear seven children put them through school and college and managed to build a small bungalow beside the old house which eventually she pulled down. As the kids married and had kids her sense of humor came to the fore and she was a much more relaxed and funny. When we went to visit the table was set the cups and plates in their right place and tea was served and we sat argued and told stories. My mother and her could have right barny but at the end of the day when we got home my mother would call and tell her she was home and say thank you.
I look back on their lives and think of the lessons I learned from them. …Faith and family The lesson of hospitality of never letting the night come down on your anger, the love of family and as my cousin said we were their extended family and even though we did not meet as often as we used to we were still family because that’s what our mothers’ wanted.
Remember life is short and keep those contacts and lines of communications open. Forgive and forget because that’s what families do and remember you are not always right. As her coffin was carried out of the church after the last Mass on Sunday ( good rural Irish tradition) past the upper cemetery where her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins lie, and down to the lower cemetery , where her parents and some of her siblings lie, across the way lies her husband and two of her daughters and her mother in law and sister in law, I thought she is at home among the people she loved in the place she called home.
Rest in peace we will not see your like again,
Pray for them and all who have gone before us in faith..