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In memory of Mrs. Anita Gaffney

In memory of  Anita Gaffney

1930 - 28th October 2022

Celebrant: Fr. Des Loughran

St. John's Church, Gilford

Coping with God is difficult. The problem being that he is too loving; for our liking. We are all for love when it is to and for our own advantage and we are all for love of those whom we like.

But that’s not good enough, because God also created those whom we avoid, dislike, despise, fear and even hate. And he created them just the same way as he created each of us. He also called them by name from their mother’s womb, to be a light and guide for others.

If we hate some of the things God loves then we must be wrong.

Some time ago I read a wonderful book entitled, “Between the Dreaming and the coming True”, and in the book the author asked the question, “Would God, after creating each of us in his own divine image and likeness, run the risk of some of us not making it back home again to him?”

I don’t think so. I believe that God will bring each of us home to him in his own time. And he will do that because as our first reading tells us, “He loves all that he created and all that exists”.

It’s so sad that we don’t love all that he created and exists. We treat many of God’s creations as a Tax Collector, as a thing to be despised.

How many people do we despise? How many people do we hold in abhorrence, treat like dirt, ignore, hurt, begrudge, lie about, steal from, and that list could go on and on.

Jesus knew the way the people treated Zacchaeus and why he welcomed him, was to show them that God’s love and God’s forgiveness was indeed bigger and more than ours is, but more importantly, to show us how our love and our forgiveness should be.

Anita now knows all that. She knows that her 92 years of living life in this world was the greatest gift given to her by God. She now knows how foolish man is, in his dealings with his neighbours.

She now knows that her wishing, hoping and dreaming during her life is over because all her hopes, wishes and dreams are now real in heaven.

Anita’s journey to heaven began in Lurgan on the day she was born, January 1st 1930 to the parents of Harry and Lily. Anita was one of eight children, of five brothers and two sisters, herself being the youngest.

Anita went to primary school in Lurgan and then to St Michael’s Grammar and then off to boarding school in Portstewart.

Anita then came back home and worked with her grandmother keeping house and home.  

Love came into Anita’s life in the shape and form of Brendan and they married in 1954 and they set up home in Gilford and lived there for almost seventy years where they served the Gilford community over the years keeping the sick well and healthy, providing all that was needed from their chemist shop.

In-fact, the first time I met Anita and Brendan was on Christmas day 1991. I was a very young curate back then here in the parish and Canon Treanor who was the parish priest here at that time had a very, very bad cold. Nothing I gave him seemed to work.

So, on Christmas morning I rang the Gaffney household and asked Brendan could give me anything that might help him. I said the Christmas morning Mass in Laurencetown and then I went down to their home to collect what Brendan had prepared for the Canon and met them for the first time. Mary and Harry were running around with their Christmas jumpers on that Anita had knitted for them singing Jingle Bells. I am only joking, but Anita was a great knitter of Aaron sweaters. She loved to read and she went on to get her driving license but never drove as she was spoiled by Brendan who did all the driving.

Later in life, because they were so grounded in and to Gilford because of the Chemist shop, and after Brendan retired they set off and travelled around Ireland most weekends and then they travelled further afield as Harry had a seven-seater which Anita and Brendan greatly loved because they could all relax and enjoy more as they travelled to Jersey, Scotland and Yorkshire.

Anita was a very shy and private person who loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She had a pin sharp mind right to the end even admitting to her children that she knew every move of them. And now that she is in heaven she will probably know even more about you.

This quiet gentle lady who spent her life living and loving in Gilford yet lead a double life because her heart never ever, ever, came out of Lurgan.

Today all Anita’s dreams have come true. God has brought her home and we here today will perform our last Christian act of kindness for her, that of laying here body to rest in mother earth. I believe it is like Lurgan too because it is a part of Co. Armagh.

And so, until it comes our time to be with Anita again, let us simply pray… Eternal rest…

I would just like to take a moment to offer my sympathies to Anita’s children Mary and Harry also to Anita’s daughter and son-in-law Yvonne and Hugh. To all of Anita’s grandchildren Claire, Karen, Elizabeth, Rory and Michael.

Also, to her great grandchildren Victoria, Charlie, Isla, Aria and Leo and to her sister-in-law Bernadette and to all her nieces and nephews assuring you of my prayers and support.

 

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