Early on Sunday morning we got a text telling us that our brother-in-law had passed away. It was a surprise, although not unexpected – he has been ill since August. One of the fears we both had when leaving Ireland was that there were some people we might not see again; sadly true in this case.
The days that followed have been a blur of phonecalls, internet searches, airports, hugs, tears, prayers, more hugs, more airports, more internet searches.
Things that are engraved in my brain that I will never forget :
- My sister-in-law’s strength, dignity and absolute faith
- My niece’s desolate sobs as her Dad left the family home for the last time
- The vast hordes of ordinary folk who came to pay their last respects to a kind, gentle man
- Panicking over whether we’d make it to the crematorium on time
- Barely making it to the crematorium on time
- Getting to see my lovely daughters (including the one who isn’t really my daughter!) and my best friend
- Spending some time with our dear friend Denis
- Being on a cancelled flight for the first time ever.
Snow in Stanstead Airport on Wednesday morning meant that our flight never left Cork, instead Ryanair decided to cancel it just as Stanstead re-opened the runway… so, not a cancellation caused by necessity, more a cancellation so that they could re-allocate the plane to another route.
Several hundred euro later, we have re-booked with another airline and are currently en-route, frazzled after a 5am start but looking forward to getting home.
It’s hard to believe it, but we will be back in Ireland in ten days time, for a happier occasion this time, the marriage of our niece.
The tears will not be far below the surface and our brother-in-law will be sorely missed, but we will celebrate life, love and happiness.