All people walk through life making a ripple, one that perhaps seems bigger with hindsight, but there are some who create a wave all their own, visible from the very start which only gets taller and more powerful each day. Our Uncle Brian was that sort. I say our because he can be claimed by so very many. Large families are like that. But for those whose family extends far beyond bloodline, those titans are impossible to possess solely. Titled by those who called him brother, cousin, husband, uncle, god-father, father, grand-father, boss, colleague, even competitor, Captain Brian Anthony McAllister’s list of affiliates is endless. Who among us could not call this man ours?
Legends demand a status all their own, clearly larger than average, yet touching us all. Brian was tenacious, persistent, generous, patriotic, often crazy and certainly wild, but with a contagious laugh, and the ability to make you feel as if you were the very best. Waking a man with this largess easily filled rooms with people, each also laughing even while they shed tears, all remembering his stories and their stories with him, in vivid happiness, recalling his prodigious love, feeling gratitude for their connection to him.
In a family as large as ours, small gatherings are a rarity, but due to an abundance of circumstances, this farewell was a small one. Our dear Aunt Pat, Catherine Buckley McAllister, passed in mid-May, but it was yesterday we gathered in her Montreal to celebrate her long and meaningful life. I am so grateful for her love, her ability to listen, and her attention to me through different stages of my life. She was a true lady, elegant and smart, strong and steady, and I am so grateful to have had such a mentor in my corner. As I contemplate the loss of yet another mother, I am reminded of how lucky I have been to have had so many powerful women to learn from and admire, always, and this Aunt is most certainly among that list.
As we are often reminded at funerals, we, family and friends, are forever woven together, each impacting another in endless ways, from the simplest of encounters; and it is often in those quiet moments that we can feel those timeless ties. This lovely lady will always remind me of the good stuff. Like beauty. And joy. And slowing down long enough to really hear and see each other. Such a wonderful teacher, and teaching, especially in the chaos of today’s world. Rest in Peace dear Aunt Pat. We will all miss you.
August days keep us at the beach longer than planned and cause us to drive into the hills to find a cold mountain stream and even make biking into the dusk tremendous fun. Summer is at its best with corn on the table for dinner and peaches overflowing the breakfast bowl. August means loud and laughing people, salty and sandy bodies, breaking schedules and disrupting routines to make one big messy vacation that leaves you exhausted and smiling. For as long as I can remember August has centered around family, and thankfully, these last few weeks, that was exactly what this month brought.