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In memory of Eileen Kennedy

In Memory of Eileen Kennedy
1928 - 2014

Eileen Kennedy

 

I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Eileen Kennedy Thank you to everyone who have travelled from far and near to be with us today.

We all come here to remember a good person, to give thanks, even in our grief, for Eileen’s life, to offer each other, and especially all those who will most miss her, the consolation of our love and our presence with you today; and to offer also the promise of eternal life.

Our consolation will be the happy memories we have of Eileen; our sadness is that she has gone from us. Our sure Christian hope is that the Lord our God will welcome her home and that one day we will be united together in heaven. In the depth of our loss and hope we now pray and offer this Eucharist for Eileen.

We come to God, knowing we need his mercy and forgiveness, and so in preparing to celebrate the Mass we call to mind our sins.

Lord, you suffered and died in our name. Lord have mercy.

Lord, your heart was moved with compassion for the sick and the bereaved. Christ have mercy.

Lord you suffer with your people at the right hand of the Father. Lord have mercy.

And may almighty God, have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father of all, you strengthen us by the mystery of the cross and with the sacrament of your Son’s resurrection. We pray for Eileen grant her peace. Welcome her to the eternal joy of the kingdom and give us all new hope in our sorrow that one day we shall all be with you and with each other in your home where every tear will be wiped away. Grant, this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

HOMILY

There is we know a time for mourning and a time for joy. These two emotions will surely find a place together in our hearts today. At the end of Eileen’s life it maybe that the need to praise God is uppermost in our minds because it is so clear how rich God’s blessings have been to her:

“My soul gives thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

We are happy today because we know deep down that Eileen’s life was complete and she was ready for God. We have received much from her – always generous and thoughtful – a lady. 

Thank you to all who cared for her in her illness, Doctors, nurses and all who cared so diligently for her.The lesson of illness is that of endurance and faith. In all our lives there are the valleys and the hills, the good times and the bad times, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows. We are all given a certain number of years and those who live the longest become deeply aware that this time is not given so much for our enjoyment, but rather to work out our salvation.

We thank her for all her care and understanding and her complete generosity as a loving person, a loving wife to Adrian and mother to her two children Brenda and Colin and grandchildren. Holding a vigil for Eileen you have shared memories of who she was and what she meant to you. We mourn her passing, we cherish her memory. (Personal)

Eileen Kennedy, where do we start? A unique, clear and talented woman who had a long life and every minute of it packed! She had hands for anything and was a graduate from the School of Life. Nothing ever defeated her.

Eileen was born in Laurencetown in 1928, where she also attended school. Her first job was in Moffett’s shop, at the Point.

She was the sporting type, very involved in camogie, which she loved and was very good at. She played many a good game in her day. Brenda particularly remembers one match when she played forward and her mummy played back. Not many girls can say that!

She met Adrian Kennedy, a Gilford man and they were married in Derby in 1950 by Fr. Peter McCusker, a family friend. They returned to Gilford and went to live in Dunbarton Bungalows where they remained. Adrian died in 2005 and in his last few year was devotedly cared for by Eileen.

She then worked for a large German company in Portadown as a quality controller. Having undertaken a wide range of occupations, she then, in her latter years used her undisputed and widely recognised talent as a cook in St. John’s Primary School, Gilford where her children had been educated. She stayed there very happily until she retired. A past pupil from the school was heard to say, when Ei8leen passed away, how much she had spoiled the pupils and nobody ever left the canteen hungry.

Eileen was a woman who could solve anyone’s problems and had a cure for everything – stain removal was no problem – just ring Eileen and she would say “I’ll have a look in my book and I’ll ring you back”. And she always did.

Eileen was a firm and very fair woman. When she was firm, she was VERY firm and NO meant NO! She had a wicked sense of humour. When Brenda lived in Zambia, they sometimes sent cassette recordings to each other instead of sending letters. Brenda received one such recording and sat down on the sofa to listen. All was quiet at first and Brenda thought it was a blank cassette. Then, a little noise, a bigger noise…. And what was it? Eileen had recorded Adrian snoring and it got louder and louder and at the end, the only thing Eileen said on the cassette was “that’s what I have to live with!”

All who knew Eileen knew about her passion for bowls. She was a keen and accomplished bowler and a member of St. John’s Bowling Club in Gilford since its foundation. She carried out her duties as secretary/treasurer of the West Down Zone with the same dedication and enthusiasm as she played the game.

She also joined the T.L.C. group with her good friend Alice Greene and together they passed on their extraordinary skills in needlework and knitting to those around them.

 Above all we have remembered the humanity of a good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Eileen, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on you all. We gather as a community in Gilford today - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to you her loving family God knows the reality of deep pain – the pain Eileen endured in the past number of years of illness. We remember a lovely person, a lady who was a treasure to you all. Letting go of her today is not going to be easy for Eileen was a great lover of family, people and life itself.

Thank you to all who cared for her and loved her in life. Now her suffering is over. As Eileen has died now a part of you dies as well. You are filled with sorrow because her death leaves a gap that no-one else can fill adequately.

Every new year brings new challenges and opportunities about waiting in hope and as people of hope we believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Eileen’s period of waiting is now over. No one can say she got life easy in recent times - a journey from birth to death and the reason she could see purpose in the pain or sense in the suffering was because Jesus Christ came on this earth to conquer death and save us from our sins.

Today we shed tears for Eileen but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let her go to be with the Lord forever.

She died on Thursday and her funeral is taking place on the feast of St. Brigid, the First of February, traditionally known as the first day of Spring - a new dawn, a new day, a new birth –

Let us celebrate her homecoming, with thanks to God for her life, for the example her faith gives us; for the lessons that we learned from her about living well and dying well.

With the parish community I offer our sympathy to Brenda and Colin, brothers Brendan and Aidan, sisters Moya and Patsy, daughter in law Colette, her grandchildren, and the entire family circle.

 

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