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In memory of Sandra McCartan

Funeral Leaflet Sandra McCartan Large Web view

 

Celebrant: Canon Frank Kearney

 

Opening Hymn:Nearer my God to Thee
Responsorial Psalm: Here I am, Lord.
Offertory Hymn: In bread we bring you, Lord.
Communion Hymns: You are mine, Ave Maria.
Communion Reflection: Jealous of the Angels
Recessional Hymn: Lady of Knock

Homily

Today is a very sad day for the McCartan family, just having buried Granny/Great granny Mary yesterday. And today we gather together again to say our last farewell to Sandra, who we all know was a devoted, loving and caring mother and wife.

This afternoon we feel the pain and sorrow of Sandra’s untimely parting from us, but the one thing that gives us hope is that her leaving us is tinged with joy because we are celebrating the life of someone who was always looked up to through all her married life and who was loved, not just by her own family but by the wider McCartan clan and she, in turn, loved them too.

So today we come with heavy hearts at the untimely parting of someone held so dear. But having talked to Eamonn and his family, Sandra had talked them through and prepared them for this experience that we are all facing today. And even though their hearts are heavy, there’s a sense of joy because Sandra, in her last few weeks, felt the Lord was very near and we can almost quote her word for word from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians.

“I want you to be happy; always happy in the Lord. I repeat, what I want is your happiness. There’s no need to worry but if there’s anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. Keep doing all the things you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the peace of God will be with you”.

These are basically the sentiments of Sandra’s preparation for what has brought us here today. She certainly has prepared the way and the thing most uppermost on her mind was that the family would face this day with the joy and resignation they experienced throughout her recent illness.

Death, at no matter what age, is always difficult to accept – it doesn’t sit easily with most of us, particularly the death of a mother; and the loving and close relationship of a dear wife. However, death is something that none of us can avoid, but as Christians we take hope from the resurrection, the Lord’s victory over sin and death, and we know that having passed through the waters of baptism we also share in his resurrection.

Every Sunday at Mass when we profess our faith in the resurrection, it may well be that when we recite the words of the Creed “we look for the resurrection of the dead”, we give these words little more than passing attention. Then comes the day, like today, when they take on a deep personal meaning for us because we are laying ot rest, Sandra – someone who was so clearly loved. We look for the resurrection of the dead now, because life without that expectation lacks meaning and completeness.

Back in 1971, in the Castle ballroom, Banbridge, Eamonn had the good luck to catch the eye of a very good looking 18 years who he fell for right away and she became known to the McCartan family as Sandra Brown from Lurgan. After 3 years of seeing each other, under the strict supervision of 6 foot 6 Tommy Brown, former major in the Irish Guards, Eamonn, having been cautioned at least once, made sure Sandra was always home on time.

They were married in St. Paul’s Lurgan by Fr. Jim Woods. They took up residence in Clonmeen, Craigavon and Eamon, after having done all the painting and decorating of this new home and having put the garden into good shape, got itchy feet for Drumnascamph. In order to save a bit of money for their new intended home, Sandra suggested they go to live with her parents. (Eamonn’s reply was “I love your da alright, but I don’t know if I could live with him!)

After spending some time in Lurgan, Eamon decided to build his own house out on the farm in Drumnascamph. After a day’s work plastering in the shipyard, Eamonn would work during the bright evenings, sometimes almost to midnight; digging put the foundations of his new house, assisted by his father. Within 6 months, they had moved into their new house. We could say Eamonn built the house, but Sandra built the home. It is a place where there is great warmth and welcome and you immediately almost felt at home. This young girl from the town settled more than easily into the heart of the country, where she was fondly and lovingly accepted by all the McCartan family. And she in turn got on very well with all of them.

To her daughter Maria, she was her best friend and sister all in one. As well as being a loving mother to Maria, Thomas, Brian and Eamon, she was a very loving grandmother to 15 grandchildren, whom she absolutely adored. Her grandchildren have very fond memories of sleepovers at grandma and granddad’s house – memories I’m sure they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives, because grandma would give them as much as she could give. As Eamon said, “My God, she was a great woman”.

Sandra’s health became a concern and for the 10 years she was on dialysis until in 2009, her husband Eamonn donated a kidney, Sandra spent 3 weeks in Guy’s hospital, then 4 weeks in St. Thomas’s and a further 7 weeks in hospital at home. All was well for a number of years until she needed another kidney and on 28th July 2015, Sandra’s son Thomas donated a kidney to her. There was a slight hic up in the early days, but with modern day medicine all was soon well again. This demonstrates the strong bond and the deep love and affection of a very close-knit family, when tow members made the ultimate sacrifice for the special lady in their lives.

The on 28th July 2016, Sandra was dealt another blow, this time with a less favourable outcome. The time for Sandra’s departure had come, she fought the good fight and finished the race and she surely kept the faith. There is no more pain, no more suffering, life for Sandra hasa not ended, but life for Sandra has just begun.

May Sandra now rest from her labours and may her good deeds go with her.

This afternoon we extend our sincere sympathy to Eamonn, her husband, to her daughter Maria, sons Thomas, Brian and Eamon, to her brother Terry and sister Carole and to the wider McCartan and Brown family circles.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

 

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