Thursday the 10th of June was your Funeral, Mam, and you would have been so very, very proud of the respect and affection that surrounded you and your family throughout, and all the days before it.
There were so many people at Mount Jerome Crematorium Chapel that it was impossible to see everyone, but the first sight that met Martha, Sam and myself was a line of Naval Officers in their Dress Uniform (30, apparently); friends of Martha’s from St John of Gods, and my friends from Fanagans – all lined up in front of the Chapel, flanked on either side by all our other friends and neighbours. It was a throat-closing moment. All of us had tears in our eyes.
Sam was just thinking about the next stage, when my colleague Warren said it would be their privilege for himself and his colleagues to act as pallbearers for Mam, which they did. And which they do with honour for their ‘own’ (I’ve since been told). We had to think of nothing – everything was done for us.
The arrangements were simple and dignified, you would have approved of every aspect: the music, chosen by Martha and sung beautifully by Simon Morgan; the Readings by Gerard, Iain and Michael; Fr Bernard’s address, and particularly, the beautiful ‘Service of Thanksgiving’ booklet that Martha put together with so much love. You’d have been in your element. It was all about you, for one last time.
Outside, later, people were appearing out of nowhere: people we hadn’t seen in years, and it was a little scary! You know the person, and even the name, but you go blank when faced with so many people. But the place was thronged with so many who are dear to our hearts: cousins, friends, neighbours… it was incredible.
We repaired – as tradition demands – to the nearest public house, which carried on (with a nucleus of seven) until about 10pm. As you would expect, Winnie, I later headed out and arrived home at 5.30am Friday morning, having been chatting, drinking and smoking with a lovely bunch of people in the after-hours section of a music bar. You would expect no less of me, my darling.
It was all good, Mam. God bless you and we know you’re safe in the arms of love.