What is it about the eldest in a big family that makes them so special, even though they may have flown the nest a lifetime ago? Is it perhaps due to the fact that no matter how far away and how long they have been away, their love and concern reaches back over time and miles, just like a parent?
Rosemary ‘Bud’ Redmond (nee Gallagher) left Derry in 1954 aged just 18 years-old to take up a career in the Civil Service in London. She left behind at that time not only her beloved mother and father Dickie and Rosaleen, but also five brothers and two sisters. Over the next few years two more brothers and a baby sister were to be born, carving out 10 places in a big sister’s heart that would remain a treasured space all her life.
The strongest memories are held by those she nurtured when they too had to fly the nest – Richard, Sean and Bernie all finding a big sister who cosseted and supported them when they were homesick; who cooked for them and took them to West-End musicals and gave them a home from home when they needed it. The rest of us were lucky that we did not have to fly the nest in the same way. What we remember most are the visits home, cleaning and polishing the house madly so that everything would be spick and span for her. Throughout a life-time away she was always there at the end of the phone for each and every one of us, listening, counselling, encouraging, motivating, understanding in ways that every one of us cherished and found comforting. Always loving and supportive And so last month we made the journey the other way for a change, to her side, to show her the kind of love and support in her last few days that she had showered on us all our lives. And what a privilege that was. It was only at her moving funeral that we truly saw what she meant to so many other people in her community. Only then did we realise that she gave to everyone that she met with the same generosity of spirit and love that she gave to us. Rosemary Gallager: Always loving and always loved.
What is it about the eldest in a family that makes them so special?