|Birth: ||Sep. 1, 1933|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 1, 2009|
New Jersey, USA
Eulogy for my Aunt Eileen:
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." (from an Irish headstone)
Those words sum up for me the life of Eileen Elizabeth Casey Fahy, or more simply, my Aunt Eileen, the woman whose name I was given, and for whom we gather here today to remember. No one or nothing can erase the pain I'm feeling right now, any more than they can erase the memories I hold of her in my heart. This is about taking the bitter with the sweet. Fortunately for all of us here, it was always way more about the sweet.
As much as her passing hurts, I cannot help but smile even just saying her name, or picturing her face, or straining to recall her laugh, her voice. And I'll certainly never get out of my brain the modulation, the inflection, of her infamous phrase, "Oh, Ed." And I doubt any of you can either because most of us have heard it at least once over the past almost forty years.
My aunt lived a pretty full life, actually a few lives. There was her time from birth until she entered the convent after eighth grade. That wasn't an easy time for her and her siblings due to the untimely and unexpected death of their mother in 1941 at age 33. I can't imagine anyone ever really becomes whole again after something so tragic. But to their credit, she and her siblings, her big sister, Pat, who is my mother, and her brothers, Hugh James, and Frankie, all stayed close. They even added a step-brother, Billy, in 1943.
Eileen joined the Sisters of Charity at Convent Station, New Jersey and remained in the order for over twenty years. She was a nun and she was a teacher, even after she left the convent. She taught right here in Verona for over 26 years. I bring all of this up now not merely as a chronology, but as a testament to the number of lives she has touched. Her influence will go on for generations. The axiom "To teach is to touch a life forever" applies here.
I do want to acknowledge what I consider the highest point of her life: her marriage. I don't think anyone can dispute the depth of the love between Eileen and Edward James Fahy. And I know we've all had our fears over the past five years that Ed's devotion to my aunt was going to be the death of him. Anyone who said anything though was reminded quickly that Ed is stubborn and headstrong, and that's quite an understatement. I do say that with love and awe though. He was right there at the end holding her hand, telling her it was okay to go. That it was time to go see her mother , father, brother and Aunt Beatrice again. And he kept his word that she would pass quietly in her own home, in her own bed, surrounded by her own things.
Eileen and Ed met after Eileen left the convent. You all may know the details of their meeting, but I think it's worth sharing here because it's yet another example of who Eileen was. She was living with a group of women who had also left the convent, and were trying to get themselves situated. One evening in January of 1970, one of the other women had a blind date but had decided not to meet her gentleman caller. She told her housemates to tell him some story and send him on his way with her apologies.
Well, Aunt Eileen was appalled by this and decided to do the nice thing and go out with him herself. We all know where this is going, because four months later she married him. That was almost 40 years ago. Score one for the good guys. I love the story of their "reception". Ed was in a bowling league and the banquet was the night of the wedding. Their lifelong friends, Lorraine and John were also there. They arranged to have Eileen and Ed seated on the dais, and had the newlyweds' names announced to the gathering. That bowling banquet quickly dissolved into a wedding reception of over 200 people.
There are so many stories that come to my mind, and I'm sure all of you have your own about Eileen. We all had different relationships with her, but are undoubtedly united in the belief that we are all better people for having known her. In no specific order, she was a wife, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, step-mother, aunt, step-grandmother, grand aunt, friend, educator, neighbor and others I'm sure I'm forgetting to say. And what binds all of these roles together was her love, respect, generosity, intelligence, compassion and humor. And her class. Can't forget to mention just how classy she was.
It is difficult at this time to do anything but grieve at the loss of Eileen, and for Ed's pain at that loss, and for Pat, Hughie and Billy for the loss of their sister. And for John, Lorraine and Val's pain for the loss of their friend of how many decades. And to everyone she was a special sister-in-law to, as well as every other relationship over the course of about four generations that I've mentioned already.
Khalil Gibran, the poet, said about grieving, "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight". That is what I have to hold onto. I am sad my Aunt Eileen isn't in my life anymore, but she is in my heart and my memories, and they are all happy. I am delighted that I was lucky enough to have as much time with her as I did.
It has been said that a person dies three times: once after they draw their last breath, the second time after they are buried or memorialized, and the third time after their name is said for the last time. Based on that criterion, I'll end this by saying that Eileen Elizabeth Casey Fahy will never truly cease to exist.
Francis Aloysius Casey (1904 - 1980)
Sarah Ellen O'Keefe Casey (1907 - 1941)
Edward James Fahy (1936 - 2011)
Patricia Ellen Casey Croghan (1931 - 2015)*
Eileen Elizabeth Casey Fahy (1933 - 2009)
Francis Joseph Casey (1935 - 2007)*
Prospect Hill Cemetery
New Jersey, USA
Maintained by: BSGfan
Originally Created by: eobfindagrave
Record added: Feb 01, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33456804