In order to know yourself, you need to understand where and even who you came from, and in my life, that’s a lot. These larger than life icons informed most everything that defines me, from their striking curiosity about life to their endless devotion to family. Through my mother’s eyes I learned nothing but admiration for her two older sisters. The eldest possessing a brilliant mind that saw no limits, making the cliche of a life-long learner her mantra. The middle sister organized like no other, from the Director of Early Education for the New York City Board of Education to most every niece or nephews’ birthday party: doing both jobs with equal furor. My mother, the youngest, brought the big laugh and warm embrace, turning acquaintances into best friends with ease. But the sisters were entwined in such a way that they shared their strengths, their capabilities, and even their truths. If I didn’t know that when I was a child observing them as distinctive entities, I learned it when first my mother passed, and then another sister, until the oldest was the last one to call me Moira love. She made sure to love me with every bit of her sisters’ traits, and watch over me until her final days. At nearly 98 when she passed on March 1st, her care for my heart and soul was more of a gift than I could ever repay, keeping all her sisters alive within me: all their separation dissolved.
Tag Archives: Family Gatherings
A Legendary Sendoff for a Legend
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.
A quiet Farewell to a dear and lovely Lady
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.