January 29, 2020
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home, mmm mmm And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it…. Van Morrison Her given name was Kathleen Patricia Kearns but everyone called her Patsy. She grew up in the little village of Ballynahinch, just outside of Belfast town, where her father had a small grocery shop. She got married in her teens to Frank Lindsay. Nine years her senior, he wooed and courted her, they married started a family and eventually made plans for a life together far from Belfast. Frank set out ahead of her, trying his luck first in Toronto, but a better opportunity came up in New York working for a produce company in the South Bronx and he took it. Patsy left the three boys with their “Granny” and joined Frank in the States. There was an Irish community of sorts in the Bronx at the time, those that came before. With some help they were able to procure a small apartment near Frank’s job and started to set down roots. She flew back to retrieve the boys and they now were finally together as a family once again. Eventually after a few years and a few moves they ended up in a two bedroom in the Norwood section of the Bronx. Another son was added to the brood and Frank had taken a new job working the ramp at JFK. He ended up dying young of a heart attack on that very TWA ramp years later. It was the winter of 1970 and she found herself a widow at the ripe old age of 32 with four boys, the oldest only thirteen. Life on 204th and Webster was different now. She was learning it was going to take gumption to survive. Soldiering on, she was able to convince the landlord for her to continue with the superintendent job. A blessing of sorts as it continued to provided not only free rent but foreshadowed the coming of happier times. Enter into the picture shortly after the affable and happy go lucky bachelor, Christopher McKevitt. He was a friend of Frank and hailed from a border town in County Louth called Edentubber. Christy ended up taking an apartment on the fifth floor and was always availing himself to help in whatever way possible. One thing led to another and he succumbed to marrying the widow and took on the boys. Chris was a building engineer. He ended up working for PanAm in their flagship building on top of Grand Central Station running the floors that held their corporate offices and reservations center. He also took on side jobs doing refrigeration work mostly in one or more of the Irish bars that dotted the city. Ice maker giving you issues? Call Chris! He’s your man. They ended up buying a two story Archie Bunker house in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. Along with that they purchased a rustic escape in the Poconos. They wintered in Florida. Life was good… for a time. The angels escorted Chris to that Irish Pub in the sky in 2001. A few years later in 2005, Eamonn, son number three was called homeward way too soon after a short illness. Eventually it made sense to downsize. Sell the Woodlawn house and move. Eamonn had bought a small house in Throgs Neck looking down the Long Island Sound. Edgewater Park. A small village comprised of a mix of retired cops and firemen and die hard locals. Not an easy adjustment for her at first but she made it work and life was good once again. …whatever makes you stronger… She was proving to be one tough cookie indeed. We all knew that growing up. You also didn’t want to get on her bad side as anyone who happened to rile her for whatever reason would readily testify. One is shaped not only by the good times but by dealing with adversity and if gentle reader you choose to continue this saga you’ll find out what I’m talking about. There may be a price to pay for marveling at natures beauty. Hurricane Sandy decided to exact that toll in 2012. Not only did Edgewater Park feel the brunt but it turned out to be one of the worst storms to hit the east coast in recent history. The house needed a total remediation, four feet of briny sea water will do that. Living there for her would never be the same. It was enough to bring out the latent “aquaphobe” in most of us. The house was redone but the threat of rain was enough to raise her anxiety level. It doesn’t get better. A fall results in the need for a hip replacement and rehab. A mini stroke follows shortly after then signs of confusion soon follow If she chooses to stay in the house she can’t do it alone. We arrange for a service to provide a live in caregiver to help in daily activities. There are lucid periods as well and she pretty much comes to a decision. Not an easy one for everyone concerned but not an unusual one. Pack up the house. Sell everything, leave the winters behind and make the migration to South Florida. …whatever makes you warmer… After scouting out several properties in Hollywood near where Kieran, the youngest lives, she agrees to a facility that seems like a good fit. At first an apartment is procured on the independent side but that doesn’t work out. The live in aides may have spoiled her. A move to the assisted living side of the house is necessary. This is where the dementia starts to become worse. She would become easily confused and forgetful. Her behavior starts to become erratic and a decision is made to move her to “the Villa” a specialized area within the building dealing with both dementia, Alzheimers and similar cases. There was a routine there for the twenty or so residents. They had activities and movies and story telling. There were moments of joy and moments of melancholy. The fog of dementia will do that. It decides when it will stay and when it will leave. As a care giver there are triggers you can use. A. photo maybe. A voice on the phone from a loved one. Anything to lift the fog but eventually it takes over. Mom had bounced back several times over the past years amazing everyone with her resilience. We hoped this time would be no different. Twas not to be… She closed her eyes fell into a deep sleep and passed peacefully to a better place. …whatever makes you eternal… She will be sorely missed and survived by her sons Patrick, Frank and Kieran. Her daughters in law Jennifer and Lisa and her grandchildren Scott and Melissa. Her sister Jean Walls and loving niece and nephew Margaret O’Hara and Patrick Walls. Those that knew her are asked to celebrate “Patsy’s” life in their own way. Raising a glass of ones favorite libation or a “bang on the head” is not out of the question. What do I remember most? It’s what she might be prone to say to knock you back to reality. These funny expressions she would come up with… Some were real head scratchers… “Shut your mouth and eat your dinner” Some were a virtual slap in the mug… “The smarter you get the stupider you get” But my all time favorite… “If it’s sympathy you’re looking for you know where you’ll find it... in the dictionary right between shit and syphilis!” I’ll leave you with a quote from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats… “In heaven an angel is nobody in particular” …just wait till they meet Mom!
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home, mmm mmm And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it…. Van Morrison Her given name was Kathleen Patricia Kearns but everyone called her Patsy. She grew up in the little village... View Obituary & Service Information
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And when that fog horn blows
I will be coming home, mmm mmm
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