The question is never how will you die, but rather how will you live.

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Today we will lay Jackie Quinn LaRocca to rest.  So fitting for her on the day Christ lays silently in the tomb.

So how did she live, this petite Irish-American lady of New York City?

She lived in faith and in friendship, possessed of a feisty vein that spoke of wit and resolve. This vein, the way my Boston mother and I knew her as our sister, our Dear Friend.

Yes, we were so much the same.

Jackie was opinionated, and up on politics.  She never feared to say what she thought nor laugh heartily at the humor which abounds in this world and resides perpetually among us Celts.

If you ever wonder how we find people who continue to laugh in a world that can make you cry, it is this: those who laugh live in and by faith.  That was Jackie.

Those who laugh know the cold earth cannot hold them, nor heartache silence them. There is, to be sure, rebellion in laughter – but its core is faith.

I tell you a story about Jackie Quinn LaRocca and her faith.

Some years ago I got a Christmas card from her and in it a note which informed me that she had cancer and would have surgery shortly after the New Year began.  I waited until after Christmas to call – not wishing to interfere with her enjoyment of her three daughters during the happy Yuletide.

I called and we talked about Christmas and shared news of family, and laughed as we always did – and then, I inquired about her cancer, the surgery, the doctor, the hospital, how “the girls” were taking the news … and then I asked: “Well, Jack how are you about this?”  Her response, “I went to confession, I’m good either way.”

“I went to confession, I’m good either way.”

Faith, people – faith.  Deal the cards and I shall play the hand.  This is how she lived.  How my mother lived.  How I live.  Faith is and always will be the root of friendship, the source of life and love.

Sleep well, Jackie – and when you sit with my Mom and laugh and tell stories and look down on us here – just enjoy what you see, for we will see you in our own time.

Rest in peace, Dear Friend.

Shalom.

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