I love St. Patrick's Day...don't ask me why, but I do. I love seeing the Irish (2% of the world's population is Irish, and the other 98% wish they were) take such pride in their heritage, and I think it's a riot that they go to such extremes to celebrate their day; green beer, green eggs & ham, corned beef dinners, shamrocks, parades...I love it all! My younger sister, Alison Patricia, was born on St. Patrick's Day. My dad's family is Irish, although I didn't realize this until I was in college.
I didn't understood the true meaning of Irish pride, however, until I married into the Foley clan. They take their heritage very seriously. My husband's younger brother and sister, Sean and Meghan, loved everything Irish. Meghan had a shamrock tattoo on her ankle. She had Irish bumper stickers all over her car. Her favorite band was the Drop Kick Murphy's. Her dream was to someday travel to Ireland. So when she died unexpectedly on St. Patricks Day, 2006, at the age of 23, we were all devastated. The loss was made harder by the fact that her brother, Sean, had died just nine months earlier, at the age of 25. He was Irish to his bones, and supremely proud of it.
The day now holds new meaning and significance for us. So today, I cooked an Irish feast (vegetarian-style), with Guiness Stout mixed into the stew and a dessert laced with Bailey's, and we raised a toast to Meghan, who would have enjoyed the fact we were listening to her favorite music, and less than thrilled about some of the remembrances we shared. We raised a toast to Sean, who no doubt would have been raising hell in true Irish style, if he were still with us.
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Meghan and Sean. You'll always be loved and remembered.