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In memory of Marie McCann

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Marie McCann
1933 - 2017

Celebrant - Very Reverend Canon Gerry Powell P.P.

A sad occasion like this today is an occasion to reminisce and to allow the mind to linger on moments from the past. Memories flood back of childhood experiences of being cared for, encouraged and loved.  For her family the first school you ever attended was on your mother’s lap. This is a time when gratitude for a loving mother wells up in your hearts for a “job well done”. It is a time of awakening to an appreciation of the gifts and blessings received. It is only in hindsight that the gift becomes clear. Life is lived going forwards but understood looking backwards.

The death of our mother brings a new kind of experience into our lives. To be without a mother is to be in a strange and lonely place. And that’s understandable. For our mother is really one’s first friend. One’s longest first friend! No friend we will ever meet on life’s journey will have been so interested or committed to us. No other friend will have known our first step or our first smile or our first tear. No other friend will know us through and through in such an intimate manner as to be called by our name – a name given in Baptism.  Marie made you and shaped you. She lived for you.

She is with you in the way you walk and talk, in the things you enjoy and the things you fear, in the things you’re good at and the things you couldn’t do well in a fit; she’s with you in the way you think, in the very way you blink your eyes or move your hands, your every tick and mannerism. She is a part of you and will always remain so.

Home we all know is where the heart is and today the heart is not at home. The heart has gone to a different place. For it is true that today home is joined to heaven in a more profound way. 

So we give thanks to God for her life and it is with confidence that we pray to the same God to give her eternal rest.

Marie was born in Tandragee, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth O’Hagan. After leaving St. Brigid’s Secondary School in Portadown, Marie gained employment in Tandragee Mill. She was a member of St. Brigid’s Camogie Team in Tullylish and it was at a ceili in Ballydougan Hall that she met Charlie McCann. Charlie played for the Gilford Geraldines. It wasn’t easy for Charlie to climb the hills to Tandragee in the winter in order to ‘see’ Marie, so he gave her an ultimatum – ‘either you marry me or I’m not coming back!’ They were married in St. John’s Gilford on 5th August 1953! They set up home in Ballymacanallen and it was here their first 4 children (Marian, Margaret, Eugene and Collette) were born. They moved to their present home 58 years ago. Over the next number of years, Marie was to give birth to 13 more children, some still-born and some who lived only a very short time. When asked how many children she had, she always said ‘17’.

Marie loved to cook and in the early days of married life, she was a cook in the Tatler Restaurant in Gilford. According to her grandson Benjamin, “Nana made the best porridge in the world”. Although that doesn't hold a candle to her oldest grandson, Marcus. He came weekly, solely for Nanas infamous Tuesday casseroles, which had to be made to an exact recipe or Nana would feel the wrath.
She loved entertaining and her apple tarts were legendary - she was cooking and baking right up until she was admitted to hospital three weeks ago. Gardening was another hobby of Marie’s and she grew her own tomatoes and cucumbers. Even though Marie didn’t work ‘outside the home’ after her marriage, she was kept busy with the book keeping for her husband’s business as well as looking after four children.

After Charlie’s death in 2008, Marie was very protective of her independence, living on her own and doing her own thing, pottering about in the garden. She had many, many friends and was a highly respected member of our parish community. When the family were young, they sat on the gallery in St. John’s in Gilford because ‘that’s where families sat’! Marie’s faith was a huge part of her life and when she could no longer attend St. John’s, she went to Mass in Lurgan with the family.

Grandmother to 7 children and great grandmother to 5 great grandchildren, Marie adored each and every one on them equally. Her children were devoted to her.

It was only three weeks ago that Marie was admitted to hospital and she passed away quietly on Tuesday evening – just as she lived – quietly, without fuss.

She is at peace now with her husband Charlie and her 13 Angels.





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