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In memory of Kathleen Cairns

Kathleen Cairns 2

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 Kathleen’s long 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 Kathleen’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 life, Family, carers, Doctors, nurses and all who cared so diligently for her.

The lesson of advanced years 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 Seamus and mother to her 16 children and grandchildren, great grandchildren & great great grandchildren.

Holding a vigil for Kathleen you have shared memories of who she was and what she meant to you. We mourn her passing, we cherish her memory. Kathleen Cairns, 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. Kathleen 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

Kathleen was born on 13th February 1920, the second youngest in a family of 7 to Paddy and Jane Green. She attended Ballydougan primary school until 14 years of age when she obtained employment in Blane’s stitching factory in Ballydougan.

Kathleen met Seamus at a wake – a cousin of Dominic Toman’s – and for their second meeting and first ‘date’ they went for a cycle, unaware that their journey would not end until 16 children later!

They married on 11th September 1940 and set up home in Bleary. After a few moves, they eventually moved to the present home 60 years ago. With a family of 16 children, Kathleen didn’t have much time for hobbies but she loved her garden – and it was a garden to be proud of. Herself and her husband liked nothing better than going to MGuinness’s in Waringstown for a night’s craic. She was an extremely sociable person and loved to dance. Of course, the Clare chapel played a huge part in her life – so much so that she had her own seat in the chapel – right in front of the heater. She was the first to welcome anyone into the chapel, especially if she hadn’t seen them for a while. A woman with a very strong faith, she always had a prayer on her lips when anything troubled her and could be heard saying ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph’ very, very often. Full of wit and humour, Kathleen was never short of an answer.

Kathleen endured much heartache in her life with the deaths of her grandchildren, doubly so when she had to witness her own children’s pain at the same time. But she continued on, smiling as she always did. Her husband Seamus passed away in 1994.

As the oldest parishioner in Tullylish, she was respected by everyone – friends and neighbours alike.

Family was everything to Kathleen and her sixteen children adored and cared for her, but they all knew she was still the boss! She passed away very peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday morning, which is a great comfort to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Above all we have remembered the humanity of a good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Kathleen, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on you all. We gather as a community in the Clare today - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to you her loving family. 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 Kathleen 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 earthly life is complete. As Kathleen 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. Kathleen’s period of waiting is now over. No one can say she got life easy because she was the button who pulled everyone and everything together through very difficult moments - 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 Kathleen but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let her go to be with the Lord forever. - 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 her 8 sons and her 8 daughters, a wonderful sense of balance, Rosemary, Jean, Kathleen, Sean, Eamon, Patsy, Ann, Bridget, Margaret, Seamus, Michael, Laurence, Gearoid, Bronagh, Paul and Maria, sons and daughters in law and grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren and the entire family circle.

 

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