I wanted to write this post in honor of a very inspirational man. He passed away on Jan 18th and was the father of my wonderful partner Kieran.
Michael McGrath was born in Tipperary (near my father it is such a small world) in 1935. I have learned that he was a wonderful, dutiful son who loved and respected his parents, he always gave that little bit more to his Mum when he visited, he was the one who all the family (and there were 14 siblings) went to in times of need, he was the brother than you could count on.
As a Dad, he was the best he could be, jockybacking the kids to bed, teaching Kieran how to hop a ball on a hurley (a sport that they both love), helping Deborah when she moved into her new digs after leaving home, bringing lots of smiles to his family faces and giving Kieran the honourable, hardworking, trustworthy, kind and special characteristics that make him the man he is today. Michael was very proud of both of his children and his wife Maura, they all had special places in his heart, also along with son-in-law Gerry and his grandchildren.
Despite all the challenges that Michael faced, he was always kind with a smile for everyone, he never complained. He also had a wicked sense of humour. When he was a child he injured his leg, it never healed properly, so Michael had a limp all his life, in his 50’s he was challenged with cancer which he overcame and in his later years his leg was amputated and he got Parkinson’s. He never had it easy. When I met him he struck me as a man with a beautiful aura, someone you wanted to be around, he had a very kind face, a bright smile and I immediately took to him. He was someone that I could relate to. Overcoming all his challenges made him an exceptional man in my eyes. Since his passing, many stories of his random acts of kindness have come to the fore; there was one lady on a Christmas Day some years ago struggling to get a lift to see her sick husband in hospital, Michael took it upon himself to help, an act never forgotten by this lady. Also the constant contact and help he gave to his former landlady when she was in the twilight of her life and had no one else around…..the list is endless and he never saw a need to be shouting his good deeds from the rooftops.
After his passing we had to get Kieran a new black suit, it was important to him as he wanted to honour his father, a man who took lots of pride in his appearance and expected Kieran to do the same. We went shopping and it was so easy, the first jacket, trousers and shirt we picked were perfect. I knew that his Dad was helping us along with my Mum, who never missed out on a chance to shop 🙂 and boy did Kieran look stunning, like one of the Oceans Eleven set..
So now Michael has passed on, his challenges are no more and despite feeling sad and missing the character he was, I feel a sense of relief, it was time for him to have an easier life. When my own Mum passed away suddenly 7 years ago it was really hard so I understand some of what Kieran is going through.. But what I think he should remember is the love that they shared, the trust, respect and honour between them, how lucky he was to have him as a father, a man in a million… As my Dad would say they don’t make them like that anymore.