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For my Mom…..

(these are the words I said this morning at my Mother’s funeral mass. I want to remember how I felt today….)

The tears here today are for us.

But the smiles are for her.

Not only because of where she is….but who she is with.

Because I firmly believe that my Mom’s last breath Friday morning was stolen with a kiss from her husband. Our father. The man she loved with a fierceness that inspired awe in her children. Nobody could get between them. Not even us.

20994076_1704079492936123_6167765189384734161_nTurn to your partner. Look them in the eye. The love there is too frequently unspoken…..taken for granted. The great Flannery and Loftus clans are Irish after all…..entire conversations can consist of grunts, eye rolls, nods of the head, stony silences, empty glasses….or the infamous Irish goodbye, in which we vacate the room when nobody’s looking.

Now….imagine saying to your spouse….”honey, I called out our love on my LICENSE PLATE!” Their first reaction might be to increase the medication.

But my Mom was “MRSJXF”.  Personalized. I still consider it one of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen. I wish we lived in a world as in love and loved…..as unabashed…as what those 6 letters represent. My Dad would call her at work….and say after multiple decades of marriage….”can I talk to my bride?..”

Boys? You can’t touch that. That’s a romance mic drop moment.

A somewhat legendary Dunmore friend of mine had no idea my Mom worked in juvenile probation….and texted me yesterday saying…”that must be why she could relate to me..”

She was fair to all. We knew the rules. Our house was never the “wait ‘till your Father gets home” type house. It was….”when is Dad gonna get home…?” There’s a Civil War story of a private trembling before a famous General….who tried to calm him by saying “there’s no need to be frightened son ….you’ll get justice here..”….and the private replying “I know that General…that’s what I’m scared of…”

She was the President. The heart of a lion and the soul of a little girl….the one that pretended she didn’t like the family dog but got caught crying when the dog died. The one who always ended up granting us full and absolute pardons.

But love is sometimes like flying too close to the sun….or staring into that solar eclipse. My parent’s hearts were intertwined……but one would give out before the other. Love is not that perfect.

My Dad passed away 7 years ago. Alzheimer’s had taken him even sooner than that…..so we watched my Mom’s heart break….slowly….day after day. She missed him so much it sometimes hurt to be with her. I agonized over how to explain her pain with words….and that’s the best I can do. It sometimes hurt to be with her.

But that’s over now. They’re together again. Where they belong. And nobody up there is gonna be able to get between them either. And this fills me with an indescribable joy. So today the tears stop, and the smiles begin. She was the last of the great Flannery and Loftus Clans to let go….so I anticipate a party of biblical proportions is brewing. The Loftus’s were a baker’s dozen with enough personality to create a smorgasbord. The fruits of their labor may be many things, but we’re never boring.

She was our Mother. Our first love. My friend Lorne reminded me that it is only with a Mother’s passing that we become orphans. It was to her we ran with scraped knees and high fevers and bad dreams…..her we had to prove our sudden “Sunday evening before an important test illnesses” to…..her we so desperately did not want to hurt….to disappoint. She gave up so much of herself for us….for her husband……and maybe it’s only now, with her passing, that we don’t take that for granted anymore. We are the sum of their parts…..glorious and goofy and stubborn and salty and fearful and fierce…faulty and fabulous…mothers and fathers and husbands and wives ourselves…wondering how they made it all look so graceful and easy….but oh so grateful they set the bar so high…because we’re Flannery’s and Loftus’s……and we’re not gonna let the old timers have all the fun.

Our family would like to publicly thank Bishop Timlin and Father Doris, for making my Mother’s faith tangible.

I want to thank my cousin Janie….and my brother Tim…..for all they did for my Mom so she could stay in her own home until near the end. And of course my sister Eileen…..our family’s hero…..who at times seemed to be capable of being in 6 different places at the same time. Our united front is because of you. You are as selfless as our Mother. We love you….but because we’re Irish we don’t say it enough. So let me say it now.

We love you.

Mom. Godspeed. From your favorite child….

Smile. That was to get you to smile…

My father once wrote about the death of a beloved pastor of this parish, saying….”life has not ended, but merely changed….”

He was pretty good with words. So I’ll leave it there……


August 29, 2017

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mariellen Lankowski
    August 30, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Simply beautiful, Tom….You also, have a way with words. 🙂 000

  2. Chris Hludzik
    August 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Awesome Tom. Just awesome.

  3. Jim Tolan
    September 1, 2017 at 9:35 am

    That was Beautiful my friend.

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