Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two years

It does not seem like two years since I got two messages from Bridget, one saying, "you need to pray for Mary Ann, something happened to/with Fiona" the second "call me back when you get a chance I have sad/bad news." I was working at New York and Company at the time so I wouldn't have had my phone on until I left, which was usually 11pm or later as I mostly closed. I know the above messages are not word for word, but I knew from the moment I heard the first one what had happened. For the rest of the time I worked at New York and Company I hated turning on my phone after a night's work. It honestly took me 45 or more minutes to call Bridget back. I didn't want to do it on the way home, as I was driving, once I got home I couldn't bring myself to hear the words, "she's gone." Eventually I sucked it up and called and heard what I expected to hear, Fiona had died.

Here's the short version of the story, Fiona somehow at the age of 23 months managed to move a kids table over to the edge of the deck climbed up fell over the deck wall and fence into the pool area and was found face down in the pool. Bottom line of the story is that she died.

I remember going to work the next day numb as I didn't even know how to phrase what happened to my manager and to tell them I wouldn't be in on the days of the wake and funeral. I eventually told one of them and left it at that.

I remember looking at the small coffin with the pretty little girl in her pretty little dress with her beautiful curls in it. I remember how her Aunt Bridget and I made first class relics by simply touching Rosary Beads and other articles to Fiona. Mary Ann, Fiona's mom looked at us and once she realized what we were doing, she laughed.

That night Aunt Bridget and I ended up, well Bridget more than I, I was simply there to keep Bridget company, making the pall that would go over Fiona's casket. It was simply beautiful, a piece of white satin, with tulle around the bottom of it, with roses on the corners. We literally flew by the seat of our pants while making it and some how it came together, we know it was by the grace of the Holy Spirit. When we finished it, Bridget and I simply stepped back and looked at the pall lying on the dining room table and both said, "It's wrong that it's so pretty." We stared at it and eventually turned to each other and said, I can't look any more or I'll start crying, and seeing as we found a way to laugh while making the pall we both decided that the crying was best left for the Mass of Christian Burial. So I went home only to return to Newark the next morning for the Funeral Mass.

Mass was obviously sad, I walked in to see an honor guard of Irish Dancers in full uniform, who really did look out of place, but little Fiona loved watching her brother and sisters dance so she got an honor guard of dancers. Heck I dance around the house sometimes knowing she's probably watching. Larry aka Fr. Larry told us during the homily that Mary Ann told him that he was going to sing her a good African Spiritual, and Larry did, he started his homily out with "Swing Low Sweet Chariot coming forth to bring me home... and then went in to his homily, finding a way to make us laugh and cry." The hardest part was hearing Dan, Mary Ann's brother-in-law start to sing Elmo's World after we all laughed, we all cried, as Elmo was Fiona's favorite show and character. We walked out crying as was expected and it was raining slightly, and all I could think of and as Mary Ann's off the boat Irish mother-in-law said, "happy the corpse the rain falls on." Yep, leave to the Irish to say something like that, as Mary Ann and I said later, it always rains over there, they had to come up with something!

That day continued on with the actual burial part and the traditional meal back at Mary Ann's sister's house. Eventually I ended up staying over as the Peter Smith School Feis was the next day and I wanted to watch Mary Ann's kids dance.

It really doesn't seem like 2 years ago, but I know that it is. Fiona's death brought me closer to my faith and to the idea of Church Militant and Church Triumphant closer to me as well. The terms Church Militant, Church Triumphant, and Church Suffering aren't used anymore or at the very least not spoken about too much and I miss it. We connect with the Saints and saints (no I am not repeating myself, there's a difference between saint with a capital S and a lower case S) in a awesome way at every Mass and with Fiona's death that idea was brought closer to home for me.

Fiona is not the first "young person" for me to bury, honestly she's not even the youngest, her cousin Bernadette holds that honor, but she is one of the youngest and her death brought Heaven closer to me.

Fiona I will continue to pray to you, especially for parking spots, you and Tony are great at that, I will talk to you about others that we need to work on, and yes I know that you can run up to Jesus and sit on His lap and whisper our prayers to Him, if not I'm sure Mommy aka Mary is telling Him for us.

Fiona may you continue to rest in peace and to pray for us!

Fiona Alexandra Marie 7/13/04- 6/19/06


Nathan Kennedy said...

The very first Mass I ever attended was the funeral Mass of my friend, Pearly, who died in a car accident at age 16. Your story reminded so much of this, as I do not think I ever would have become Catholic if it were not for her funeral Mass.

My prayers are with you!

Mary said...

Fiona is working on bringing lost sheep to the fold. God works in the strangest of ways.