My mother, Mary Casey Breslin, died two weeks ago today. It was a terrible shock to all of our family, but I wanted to say a few words about her so that you would have an idea about what an influence she was on my life and the lives of many others.
Firstly, Mary was a loving and caring wife and mother, who amongst other things made sure I always had the best of everything, protected me from any perceived harm or injustice, and nurtured and encouraged my love for learning. She was a formidable woman, and always strived for perfection for both herself and her family. She was the kind of customer that you would either love or hate to have in your establishment, as any flaw or deficiency would be exposed!
She had a huge network of friends that she helped through both actions and words. She was one of those people that you could always call on if you were in trouble and needed help, advice or information.
Mary was an extremely intelligent and organised woman, and showed throughout her life how she was able to adapt herself to new situations and take on a variety of challenges. Having being forced to give up her civil service job in the tax office when she married (a regulation at that time), her jobs included homemaker, senior administrator in a car rentals agency, and part-time book keeper for local businesses.
She was also very modern and took to technology very easily. I remember when I was in Virginia in 1996, we used to communicate via a precursor to internet chat (VMS Phone) as international phone call prices were exhorbitant at that time. She used the Web for buying books, paying bills and internet banking, but also mastered services like boards, blogs, Skype, PayPal and eBay with ease (she racked up more positive feedback in a few months on her eBay account than I managed for many years!).
Mary loved many things, including: her family, her two grandchildren, her home and village, being beside the sea, Elvis, the comedian Dave Allen, holidays in San Francisco, Cyprus and Rome, Pope John Paul II, Hummel figurines, “The Past is Myself” by Christabel Bielenberg, Bjorn Borg, repeating baby stories about John, the Royals, TV soaps, the Thorn Birds, QVC, style and fashion, making greeting cards, the odd sherry, Italian food, the burned bit at the end of a roast, dolphins, gardening, the colour turquoise, and much more. We loved her too, and we always will.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.
Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or might or pain can reach you.
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.
May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
– John O’Donohue