Saturday, February 2, 2013


Nick was my cousin Rosemary's widower. She passed a few years ago. I've known him since I was a boy. A lot of my first cousins in our large clan grew up on the same street with my family. Rosemary and her mother and father had lived one street over with a few other of my father's brothers and their families when I was born. But by the time I was a kid, her father had died in a pretty traumatic and dramatic way, and she and her mother had moved to an apartment in the next town over, Orange NJ.

Because her mother worked outside the house in an office job, rare for a woman in those days, Rosemary spent a lot of time at our crowded little home. She was the same age as my sister Joan and was like another sister to me growing up. When I was grown she and Nick got married. When he was still a young man he lost his father, a gardener, and took over his father's business, which soon was renamed landscaping.

I loved Nick from the first time I met him. He was a kind, loving, respectful presence, especially in the way he treated me, in a clan (mine) where that wasn't always the case. I was always happy when I saw him after I left home and returned for weddings or christenings or funerals or family reunions (like the one last year at which the photo above was taken).

In the 1960s, when I was seen as a wild radical, Nick had a health crisis and was expected to die. Rosemary was certain it was the power of a born again Christian faith that saved him. When he recovered, they moved to the then born-again Christian community of Ocean Grove, down the Jersey shore. Which in those days made her a different kind of radical in our traditional Irish-Catholic clan.

I missed the funeral services and repast yesterday because it was in the late afternoon and I wouldn't have been able to drive back in the dark (but should be in the future after a cataract operation coming up). But my heart is full of gratitude for his presence in my life, and in the lives of all my clan, and in my cousin Rosemary's. Her love for him was so evident, and his for her, that it brought joy to all who experienced it. May the both of them rest in that loving peace.


Kathi, of the Clan said...

Nice, My Cool. Very nice. In case anyone has never told you, you have a way with words. [Giggle]. Hope to see you soon.


Anonymous said...

A lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing.

tpw said...

Dear M: I'm sorry to hear of this loss. Sounds like a great guy.

Lally said...

He was, thanks everyone.