Life is a gift, we are often told, and the late Carmel Jordan lived every day of her life as if she was acutely aware of its blessing.
Positivity seeped from Carmel. You could not fail to meet her and not be smiling within seconds. Everyone that came into her orbit was made to feel special. She was magical in that sense. She had infectious enthusiasm and nothing, it appeared, could put her in bad form for long.
She had been sick these last four years. But she bore the cancer with a bravery, a determination that surprised no one that knew her. There was good news at times and there was bad news too. But when you met Carmel you still encountered the same, positive, person. Living life as a gift. She couldn’t have had much energy at times but you would never know that when you met her.
She was of good Breaffy stock, as the older generation would say. She was born Reddington and when she married Mike Jordan, they built their home, where their sons, Steve and Conor, grew-up, just up the road from the family house in Lisnaran.
The lads meant everything to her and she was immensely proud of them and would, I’m sure, have been delighted with Steve’s excellent Business Studies degree results three weeks ago.
Carmel immersed herself in the local GAA club, especially the Ladies club. She loved being around the club and formed so many strong relationships with so many people. A lot of people in Breaffy are hurting this week.
Her funeral Mass was one of the hardest I was ever at, yet it was a wonderful celebration of her life too. That was what was hardest to grasp - that someone so full of life could suddenly be taken from us. Her brother-in-law Paul Jordan and her dear friends Helen Heneghan and Alice Connaughton spoke eloquently and vividly about the Carmel we all knew and loved. Paul read Dylan Thomas’ poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light, resonated particularly. Carmel did because she valued life so much. So many in Breaffy valued Carmel immensely too.
She had the misfortune to have had to babysit me when I was a toddler. We’d often joke about it. “I remember you when you were in nappies Edwin McGreal,” she’d say, if ever she wanted to put manners on me. And I felt old myself when her two sons started playing football with me. So, I’d slag Carmel that she must have been 30 when she was babysitting me as a two-year-old.
“Ya cheeky fecker,” she’d laugh. She was much younger of course, in her mid teens when she used to sit me.
Carmel was only 43 when she died last week. The brightest of lights has gone out, all too early. The place won’t be the same without her.