The Irish religious ritual of a “month’s mind”, exactly a month after a departed has passed is a beautiful if sad occasion to remember a beloved.
So this is for my nephew 12-year-old Rory Staunton, now in the arms of the angels after tragically dying from a toxic infection in a New York hospital on April 1st.
Rory, we miss you so much.
Every morning I awake and wonder if the empty feeling will ever subside, if it all really happened that one so vibrant and beautiful should pass so unexpectedly leaving so many broken hearts.
Alas, it has.
The days have been tough for us Rory, the nights even tougher.
What your parents,Orlaith and Ciaran have endured I will never know, except they and your wonderful sister Kathleen have hearts so broken it is hard to see them ever heal.
Yet they are magnificent, trying their very best every day to keep going despite the most horrible blow possible.
The memories still cascade, so special, so sad, so unreal that we won’t see your big red head of hair come bouncing into our lives again, full of the latest breaking news from CNN or the science project you are working on, or the plane you want to fly or the car you want to drive or the dream you want to live or the cause you want us to take up.
I almost called you to say make sure you watched the last flight of the space shuttle to JFK last week when it came in perched on top of a mighty Jumbo 747.
You would have told me everything about how the jumbo was able to carry such a massive load. You were always so comfortable in the sky.
You left an indelible mark young man. President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among those hundreds who have written to your parents saying how deeply they feel for them.
Family and friends here in America and Ireland have been wonderful Rory, you have brought out the very best in everyone.
I know a family where sisters reconciled after reading about your death, deciding that they could not sustain the bitter word when life is so fleeting.
I saw an incredibly decent act when the immigration officer at Dublin readily stamped your passport one more time when you traveled home to Ireland with us on your final flight.
A Rory circle of virtue I thought at the time.
That’s a little part of your legacy Rory, and there will be much more to come.
You were a pathfinder. I remember last summer when we spent the weekend in rural Pennsylvania and I got you and everyone else totally lost trying to find the road home.
It was pitch black and I was afraid to admit I was scared, we had wandered so far off the beaten path.
You alone, so mature as always, found the way back to our friend’s house deep in the woods as if you had a GPS in your head.
Now we need you to lead the way again for all of us, to help us cope.
Oh and Rory, a little boy was born this week to your first cousin Danielle in Ireland.
His name is Fionn Rory Muldoon after you.
Someday I will teach him about you and tell him what a difference you made and what a special boy you were.
You will live on in him and others always.
Until we meet again, Rory, and I know we will, I love you and miss you so much.
Your Uncle Niall