Your family was everything to you. I’m so glad that I am a part of that family, that I had the experience of being your niece-through-marriage. I still remember meeting you for the first time. We bonded over Fresca and Tab and the National Equirer (or was it Star?). There was never any meet-the-family-for-the-first-time awkwardness. I felt at ease with you. I think that everyone that ever encountered you felt the same way.
Now that both you and Uncle Richie are gone, it feels like the end of an era. Walking through your house, trying to memorize everything, knowing that we’ll never be in that house again. That all of the memories, all of the “stuff” will be divided up, distributed amongst your many children and grandchildren, passed on to those you loved and those that love you.
You accepted me into your arms and into your family. You touched my life (and I can almost see you laughing at how corny that sounds). I’ll miss your smile, your laugh, your strength, your stories of the family that sound like legends when you recount them.
I wish you peace.
Goodbye, Aunt Mary.
Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.
May the road rise with you.