The funeral today of John O'Donohue resembled that of a Gaelic Chieftain. A leader. And it was as a spiritual leader that John was celebrated and loved. A man of God. A man of the people. A man of the Burren landscape. A man of the Book and all literature, art, and culture.
The church bell rang out to receive his mortal remains carried shoulder high into the church where he was baptised in January 1956. Church and State was represented. Local and international turned up.
His good and best friend, Fr. Martin Downey led and presided and delivered a powerful homily. One John would have approved of.
A niece and nephew sang soulful music and song. His life partner, Kristine read a poem written by John for her,It was full of love and hope for the future. But a future not guaranteed. Hopes of a one and only anam cara।His brother Pat delivered a eulogy that fully captured John's spirit.John, he said always spoke of people " minding" each other, "sheltering" each other in safe keeping. He told a lovely story that John liked: A man was going to the market with pigs one day. In all he had 4 pigs but only took one at a time. Going back and forth all day. Why, asked his neighbour, don't you take all four at once and "save" time? Ah, what's time for a pig, he replied!
His final journey to the grave took place amid a downpour of rain and wind. John would have loved all this holy water. 'Happy the corpse the rain falls on' says an old Irish saying.
He was laid to rest. The rain stopped. People slowly moved away from a grave. A grave that will be often visited.
His life was courageous,fun loving and inspiring। He has left a legacy of written and spoken works that will bring hope to many. For many a long day to come.
I would like to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
John O'Donohue in Connemara Blues.
Books by John: Anam Cara, Connemara Blues, Divine Beauty ..Benedictus... check with Amazon