Children — keep the family together

Catharine writes:

Many years ago my grandfather, R.J.Fleming’s last words to his children on his deathbed, “Children — keep the family together. Children — love one another. “ I watched my mother work at that over a period of fifty years, sometimes under difficult circumstances.

During my many visits to Ireland these last few years, most especially with the Corey family, I experienced this sense of belonging many times over. Each time I arrived it was ‘welcome home’.

During the past two weeks in Kingston I experienced this sense of family in a most powerful and special way. Our beloved Patsy, wife of my cousin Bob Fleming, mother of John, and mentor/friend of countless younger people, like myself, died at the age of 92 after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. There at the wake the night before the funeral were my husband Neil’s two nephews, with John’s wife Zeta and Mike’s son Craig. What a lift of the spirit it gave me to see them.

And there was our friend Clare Hallward with four of her children, one of them from England, Peter, and the rest from far flung corners of North America: Mary, Kate, and Stoph.

At the time of my cousin Bob’s ninetieth birthday, just a month before, family and friends had converged for a memorable celebration at the Residence where Patsy was living and being cared for. Patsy was wonderfully present at that event, pressing a birthday card she had signed into Bob’s hand. A picture of the two of them will be available a bit later on this blog.

I stayed on in Kingston these last few days. What I saw in my cousin Bob is that he treats everyone he meets as friend or even family, with respect and openness. As a result he has new friends constantly appearing in his life and the lives of people around him. An inspiration to all of us.

[to be continued]

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