Sorrow, sadness and utter disbelief descended on Gusserane with the devastating news of your untimely passing on April 19 from Covid-19. You and two other Marys had left our small community at the same time, and we had no chance to hug you or say goodbye.
Your passing has left a big, black hole in our lives and in our hearts. When someone we hold dear passes from this life, the shock is so severe that we say 'There are no words' - but, when we reflect, we find that there are words.
There are words of happiness about the treasured time we all had with you, Katie, albeit too brief. There are words to describe how intrigued we were at how you lived your life.
There are words of sorrow to try to communicate our feelings of disbelief, now that you are no longer with us.
Here, we recall some of our fondest memories of you, our very dear sister, sincere friend, dedicated member of our community, reliable confidante, mischief maker personified, brave soldier, ready volunteer, marvellous mentor and welcoming home-maker.
Katie, we remember:
Your arrival in our lives, a dream baby, full of love and laughter, your walking; tentatively at first and your talking, calling us by name.
Following the cows in your little red wellies.
Your riding to school on the carrier of the bicycle, holding on tightly with your little cold hands, as we peddled through the snow.
Your lovely smile as the school day ended and we cycled home to Rathimney.
The day we raided a local orchard, and, having been caught, abandoned our school bags and 'fled for our lives'!
Your happy years at secondary school in Ramsgrange and graduation from the School of Home Economics, also in Ramsgrange.
The way you made us feel at home among your family.
The way you looked forward to the many occasions when your nephews and nieces visited you and you visited them.
Your phone calls from our house to the 'AI Man' and you told us that 'AI' stood for Artificial Intelligence!
Dancing in Adamstown and 'social-distancing' as necessary!
Your hostess-ing efficiency in having plenty of tarts and buns in your freezer, for emergencies.
Strawberry picking at your house and your delicious delicacies - yummy.
Your brilliance as a baby-sitter, how we loved having you and thinking we could pull the wool over your eyes, but you always managed to master us kids, by coaxing and cajoling!
Your being president of our ICA Guild and the men wanting to join our outings! What a silly suggestion! Men in a women's organisation? Anyway Katie, your headache passed as the men got cold feet.
Our outing to the cinema when I forgot to dip the headlights for an approaching Garda car - they were not impressed. The tavern replaced the theatre that night, to aid our recovery.
The beautiful rugs and tapestries that you made and which still adorn our homes. We will cherish them always.
Your arriving at our homes on your push bike and eventually your electric bike - distance didn't daunt you. Your delight at the independence it gave you was very evident.
Your day out at that special wedding - your make-over was amazing, your fascinator was fabulous and you stole the show.
Your many trips, at home and abroad with family and friends and the wild and wonderful tales with which you regaled us afterwards.
Your last surgery where you fought so bravely.
Your lovely smile of gratitude at St Louis Day Care Centre and your wonderful appreciation of events there.
All the letters to our former Curate, Fr Jim Nolan in the Solomon Islands, keeping him up to date on all the goings on in the locality. How sadly they'll be missed.
Our happy and much-loved visits to Cherry Grove, where we always enjoyed 'the cuppa' and the kindly staff who sometimes must have wondered if we had any homes to go to.
Your enjoyment recalling memories of people for whom you'd worked and following-up on the children for whom you'd once cared, especially the antics that they got up to and the funny conversations you had with them.
So, what would you want from us, your friends and neighbours, today? We think you would be thrilled to hear how much enjoyment we got from having you as our friend. You would have known that already, but letting everyone know about it, in this way, would delight you.
We are all in search of 'real' constant, enduring and confidential people to be our friends in life. These are the qualities that we want to nurture in ourselves. Thank you, dearest Katie, for showing us that this is possible. Our lives are not and will not be the same without you.
What peaceful hours we once enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still,
But your death has left an aching void,
This world can never fill.
Rest in peace our dearest friend, until we meet again.
Your friends and neighbours in Rathimney and beyond.
A memorial Mass remembering Katie will be celebrated at a later date, to be announced.
New Ross Standard