Now I wouldn’t say there is a house in Connemara, including the islands, that won’t be represented here today.
My friend Maureen offered this comment as we drove over the last bridge to the island that is the most western point in all of Ireland where they joke you can hear American dogs barking. We were driving to a wake. Having not met the man in life it seemed an intrusion to greet him in death. So I opted to stay in the car and watch others arrive. I stopped counting cars at one hundred, each filled with people. Some dressed as for church others in jeans, t-shirts, and sandals – paying tribute trumping attire. And they just kept coming. We arrived at 2:00. Maureen said it would be going on like this until 10:00 tonight. Clearly by the end of the day there would be thousands. It was easy to believe Maureen’s suggestion that the whole Connemara community would be here at some point. Tommorrow is the removal of the body and mass. There isn’t a church large enough to hold the projected crowd.
Jojo was an icon in this vast and far-flung landscape. Although he was an undertaker, having inherited the business from his father who started the enterprise with a horse and cart, he was much more to this community. He was both undertaker and caretaker. Visiting people in hospital and supporting families in need. And I understand he was something of a football star in earlier years. Everyone knew him. His influence was massive. And so was the tribute I had the honor to witness today.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org