Giving thanks for the people who shaped us

0
Have your say

I was attending a wake recently and the deceased was laid out in a wicker coffin. Back at the parochial house I mentioned my fascination with how the coffin was constructed. I was stuck by the detail and the beauty of the wicker work.

I was attending a wake recently and the deceased was laid out in a wicker coffin. Back at the parochial house I mentioned my fascination with how the coffin was constructed. I was stuck by the detail and the beauty of the wicker work.

At this Father Sean suggested that when I die we would get away with a wicker basket. Death is a reality we can’t avoid, yet most of us find the subject too difficult to talk about or discuss. Often it’s when we experience the death of someone close, a family member or friend we begin to appreciate the hurt and pain of loss. Last week was poignant for me as Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of my grandfather Dan. I was only ten at the time and it was my first experience of death. We knew for months that my grandfather had cancer and finally during the last days and week I was told he was going to die. I was devastated because I would often have stayed at my grandparents.

Now everything would change, nothing would be the same again and I thought life was so unfair. There was always a great sense of excitement when staying or visiting my grandparents’ house in Creggan. My father is one of fourteen children so you can imagine what a Saturday was like. This was the afternoon when you met up with aunts, uncles and cousins. I was fortunate because along with a few other cousins we would have stayed up in Eastway on a Friday or Saturday night. This meant you got spoilt with sweets, chocolate, lemonade and being allowed to stay up later. Hoever, it came at a price because on a Saturday morning there were always jobs to do in the backyard. At the time my grandfather kept greyhounds but I’ll save you the details of what had to be cleaned up. When I saw my grandfather preparing the food for the dogs I have to confess I longed to be a greyhound. There always seemed to be beef on the boil which was mixed up with bread, I loved the smell.

After my grandfather died I stopped staying in the house in Eastway for a few weeks. But in time I returned and would spend most Friday nights for the next eight years staying with my grandmother. Also, as I attended Saint Joseph’s Boys’ School this allowed me to call for lunch for seven years as well.

So as we mark the beginning of November with all Saints and All Souls I want to give thanks for those people who have shaped and influenced me in so many ways. With time you discover you’re able to cherish your memories again and look back fondly at family events and celebrations. The challenge is to allow our sadness to be influenced by hope. As we give thanks and celebrate the lives of our loved ones, as we remember all those who walked the way of faith, we open our lives to their intercession. We ask the Saints to pray for all the living; especially those throughout the world who have given up on life or love. Today we pray for the trust that we might believe in the promise of being reunited in God’s kingdom.