Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eulogy for Joseph Michael Sheehan (1927-2011)

 Eulogy for Joe Sheehan (1927-2011)

Joe’s Goddaughter, Mary Galuardi wrote on Facebook (of all places)  "My Uncle Joe defines  a Good Man"
Where does this  quality come from Joe, gave all credit for who he was to his parents, Joe and Mary Sheehan.

Joe's life was a struggle for independence.  A childhood illness kept Joe from finishing school.  Eventually medication enabled him to work.  Joe soon learned to trust in God and in God's angels, people like his sisters Michaela, and Elizabeth, or his friends like Ken. 

I have met religious people, holy people, they believe in god and practice their religion faithfully, but usually they have some doubts ,but Joe was of a  different order.

Joe a had  complete and total  trust in God, He believed that every step away that God keep him upright, that God would keep him in his job or help him keep his apartment.

The last year of his life was a struggle for Joe, He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  But still he believed that God would keep him safe. He believed that God would send his angels Michaela, Elizabeth and others people like Ken. You would think it a burden to see someone in the nursing home.  But it was not, Going to see Joe was love’s  labor.

Joe didn’t drink, but lived his life with all the enthusiasm of someone who did.
Instead, Joe’s vice was coffee, he would drink endless cups of coffee, and always tell the waitresses-to keep the coffee coming.     I heard a story for the first time yesterday.  Going to his mother’s funeral, Joe had the limo driver divert the limo to the Dunkin donuts to get coffee…
.My brother James and I were close to Joe, and we would get together with Joe to have coffee or food usually in Harvard Square.    Joe called it the Harvard Square Club.  He would appoint either Jimmy or I treasurer.  His joke was that the Treasurer was the person who paid for the meal. 

Joe loved to sing and break out into song, often with singing songs that I have never heard of .
My brother, Jimmy  found with this song I hadn’t heard of in honor of Joe- It is called the “Parting Glass”. 

Of all the money that e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
to mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be to you all.

[So] fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Of all the comrades that e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay.
But since it fell unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be to you all.
CHORUS [omit “so”], [instrumental break, humming]

But since it fell unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be to you all.

Joe   is now with his family, his other family, his mother Mary and James, His siblings, Mary, Jim, Bill and Anne, His brother in law –Gene . This is a joyful moment.

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