We buried my father yesterday at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, but before we did that, we gave him a proper Irish wake, with as many laughs as there were tears.
After my mother and my older sister spoke, I shared this. It’s really just notes for what I wanted to say, so I’d like to think that…
My parents were together 10x longer than purmort and I have been. They were married at 24, an age where I was a drunken, stumbling emotional trainwreck incapable of a productive relationship.
They raised four children, and put us all through Catholic school. We went to the same high school my father went to, the same school our grandfather had been booted out of.
They had highs and lows, but they had them together. For better or worse. Until death do us part. Last night during the final sacrament, the priest asked us to offer up our prayers. Shy and Midwestern at heart, I froze. I don’t know, how do you pray out loud? Is if just a wish list you read to God?
When the priest was gone, my siblings and I stood by our father and I knew how to pray. It’s a thank you. “Thank you for being a good father, for showing us what it means to be loved. For the love you shared with our mother and with us. That’s the love I want my children to have, and their children.I am so proud to be a McInerny.”
I know he heard us because his eyes were wide and he responded, his voice occluded by the respirator. He either said “you’ll always be a McInerny” or “but you’re not a McInerny.” One is a heartfelt, movie-worthy line and one is an ongoing joke about my being adopted and you know what? Either is perfect. Because either is perfectly our father.
That is my prayer, a thank you for my father and a wish for everyone to have and be that kind of love in the world.