September 27, 2015 – Forty years have passed

I just realized that forty years ago my Dad died.  It was just two weeks after his 65th birthday and he had gone out sailing in Long Island Sound.   At some point he started to have pain and some how got himself back to the Yacht Club and literally crawled out of the boat on to the dock.  Good thing some of his friends were there.  Some one brought him home to my mom. They called his Doctor and the doc took my Dad’s self diagnosis of a Kidney stone as a probable cause and gave him meds and told him to go to bed until the stone passed.

My sweet mother nursed him through the evening and all night he was in pain until about 4 am when he got quiet so she went downstairs to get a bit to eat since she anticipated a very long day ahead.  LIttle did she know how long that day would be.  When she went back upstairs he was dead.  She called their good friends next door who came over and agreed with her that they needed to call some one.  Not sure who they called but his death was confirmed.

In the meantime over in Rotterdam we had taken the three kids to church .  Ian started to kick up a fuss at 9 months of age and Norah decided to follow suit.  That would have been okay but Father Vail was in the middle of his sermon and ended up stopping and announcing he would wait for the Brennan’s to take the noisy children out of the church.  I took which ever child I had outside and maybe Tim came with me.  Denis refused to leave for a while longer. I really don’t remember if he ever left the church.  At communion time we went up to receive and as I did Fr. Tom looked at me and said ” you win, we will start a nursery”.  I could not believe that he thought for a minute that all the noise was for his sake.

When we arrived home my mom called to tell us that Dad had died.  It was a terrible shock and poor Timmy who was so close to his grandfather was really angry.  I don’t remember a lot of it because of the shock.  They had just been at our house and we had made plans and they were leaving for Ireland in two weeks.  We rushed to pack clothes and get everything the children needed and then headed for Westchester.  From there on so much is just a fleeting memory.

When we walked in the house it all looked so normal.  My Mom sitting in her favorite chair. Dad was usually away so his being there would not have been particularly normal.  And what mom had arranged was for his body to be cremated as soon as possible and that there would be a memorial services in a few days.  She did try to contact our parish priest but we never heard from him.  Although I think he showed up at the memorial service.. I think we decided he had a bit of a problem with alcohol.  By then it did not matter as Mom and others of us had planned the entire service and speakers.

The one thing that happened at the service which was cute or amusing was the two guys in suits.  We saw these two guys standing outside as we were all waiting to go in.  They were under a lamp post and we watched them wondering who they were. Turns out they were sent by the FBI to represent one of my brother and sister in laws employer  It was pretty funny and a good distraction for us all.

Death of a parent especially a fairly young one is difficult.  65 seemed way to young and the idea that our other children would not have the memories of my Dad the way the older kids did was sad.  He was like this techie kid himself with all his camera’s and making sure we had the latest and greatest.  He put seatbelts into all our cars and brought us all fire alarms as soon as they were available.  He would get frustrated when the kids got into all his “stuff” after he had initially encouraged them to see what he had.  And then there was the time he was helping Denis upstairs and his foot slipped off a beam and he ended up breaking through the kitchen ceiling  and was hanging halfway into the kitchen.  There was never a dull moment with him. He is buried with my mom and I hope they are together in the next life and that he was surprised to find out there was a next life.  I don’t know if he was an atheist, I know he was anti catholic but I think for good reason now that I know the story of why he was so angry.  Rest in peace Dad.


I have caught a cold from someone and am not feeling great today. I did get to church as it was my turn to do coffee hour and to the Farmers Market to get some fresh veggies.  Once home I crawled into bed after eating my GF scone which is my sunday treat so here is another letter from Sheila since I think I am going to fall asleep again.


Dear All:

This shall just be a note. I’m working very hard on nights and just don’t seem able to write at all, don’t know why but it just seems as if there is really no news. Work all night, sleep all day.
Want you to know I’m alright

Nov 20, 44

Didn’t get this letter finished last night so shall try to get it finished now.

Received Mom’s letter of the 12 and Dad’s written a bit sooner. We were so glad to get the clipping of Claire Kennedy’s wedding, as Mary had not heard a word from her family till today and even then they didn’t enclose the clipping. So thanks a lot Dad from Suddsie and me. It was so sweet of you to send it.

I was a bit worried about Mom’s eyes but hope by now you have discovered just what the cause is. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Buffalo and can just imagine how thrilled they must have all been.

But Mother, I do not want the purple coat as it is too heavy and stuff to have over here, so I’m sorry about the tweed one, but guess we had better forget about the coat for awhile.

Am wondering if there is anyone in particular you would like me to send Xmas cards too. I have sent them to everyone that gave me a gift going away but just don’t seem to have Darley’s address.

I am wondering if Lorenza has been over to the house yet with my Xmas parcel. Hope you like what I sent.

Paul, Doylie’s friend came down from Borden last week-end and with him he had a friend. I thought the guy looked very familiar when I saw him, so said, “you are from Kingston” he said, “yes, in a way, I am” so we went to work and discovered he was Bill Judge, worked in the Bank of Nova Scotia for years and knows Dad, Ferg & Maurice, well. Remember him. He was a Kiwanis? With Fergie. It is a small world eh.

Well dear, this is really a small world for all eh.

Love and shall write soon again, Sheila


3 thoughts on “September 27, 2015 – Forty years have passed”

  1. Margaret, I have the letter that your Dad wrote to my Mum, making plans for their stay in Wallasey which obviously didn’t happen. 2 years later my Mum died. Xx


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