St Brendan’s Village, Mulranny and formerly of Ballyveeny, Ballycro
We lost Annie suddenly. On the morning of her 70th birthday, she did not wake up. It was a birthday she had been looking forward to so much. It was a birthday we were looking forward to celebrating with her. Instead of a celebratory weekend, we were plunged into organising a mournful funeral for Annie. Our beloved sister. A cherished mother to Adrian. A much-loved aunt and grand-aunt and a relative and friend to so many.
We learned over that weekend that, typical of Annie, she had excitedly opened some of her many birthday cards from friends and family on the night before. She just could not wait. Those of us who were fortunate to meet Annie in her final days observed that we had never seen her so happy. She was thrilled to be reunited with her son who had come from the UK to treat her for her big day. She proudly introduced him to her many new friends in Mulranny. She was beaming.
Her zest for life and her excitedness had amused us all for years. As Fr Chris accurately observed in his lovely homily, “This was not a lady who hid her age. The opposite, she was proud of it”. And she was so eager to celebrate with her loved ones.
We take solace in knowing that Annie was at her happiest in her final hours. We only wish she had been given just one more day to immerse herself in the love that was coming her way that day and weekend. Instead, we were all numbed on that Good Friday morning to learn that one of the brightest lights in our lives had quenched. And we are still coming to terms with the fact that the member of our family, who perhaps savoured life, company and fun the most was lying lifeless on her special day, just as we lined up that Easter weekend to shower her with the love and attention she deserved.
We miss her smile and her laugh. We miss her wide-eyed enthusiasm for all things family related and for all things Ballycroy related. We miss her encyclopaedic knowledge of birthdays and anniversaries that put us to shame. We miss how proud she was of her past, the way a framed photograph of her revered parents, Mike and Ellen Rowland, was given pride of place in her little home. We miss how proud she was of her present, the way she loved to see her nephews and nieces progress in life. We miss the chats. We miss the phone calls. We miss her thoughtfulness and selflessness. We miss how much she positively contributed to our family.
We are proud of the way Annie made so many friends in the final three and a half years of her life that she spent in St Brendan’s Village in Mulranny. The work she had done for the Irish community in London during the five decades she spent in England was simply transferred to her new community. She instinctively supported those who needed help, including her older brother JJ, a resident of the retirement village who we know misses her immensely.
We are proud of Adrian and the way he handled the horrible situation he faced that Easter weekend. From the heights of a happy reunion to the depths of losing his mother without warning, we hope that he takes some comfort from knowing that he made Annie’s final day her most joyous one. We are all here to support you Adrian and you will never be alone.
We wish to say a special word of thanks to Dr Cowley for facilitating Annie’s stay in St Brendan’s Village from December 2018. Those were a very fulfilling three and a half years for her. We thank Frances McLoughlin and all the staff of St Brendan’s for welcoming Annie into your community and for looking after her.
So, on we go, learning to live our lives without Annie. She would get a kick out of knowing she passed on the same day as Our Lord but of course there is no resurrection and all we can do, is to keep her memory alive and recall the joy she brought us all throughout her 70 years on this earth.
Thanks to you for taking a moment to read this and to everyone that showed their sympathy and support to our family in the past few weeks.
Rest in peace our dearest Annie.