Of course, we know that time’s passing is a constant. Yet we still have this nagging sense that it’s out to cheat us.
We fret because we know our time in this world is finite and of course, as we were all warned at some point or another, we know not the hour.
Patrick McMahon knew not the hour but he sure had a lot of them under his belt when his time was up. He passed from this life earlier this month just four days shy of one hundred years.
If given a choice, Patrick probably would have gladly taken those few extra days, but it wasn’t to be.
Nevertheless, his life lasted a full and wonderful 99 years and 361 days and for all but the last couple of months he was in remarkably good shape.
Over the course of all those years Patrick contributed greatly to his community, not least as a serving member of the New York Police Department.
He gave of his time and energy to Irish associations and causes, reared a family and had the joy of watching his children reach adulthood and bring children of their own into the world.
In the end though, as is the case for all of us, the moment to bid final farewell was inevitable.
We hope that moment comes in its time, not before it. We have an innate sense of what comprises the former, and what amounts to the latter
And that sense keeps us going through all the days when the hours, oh so stubbornly, simply refuse to slow down.
Just as we draw hope and inspiration from a long life we bow our heads in sadness when a life passes before a time we see as being long enough.
Chris Stuhrenberg died last week at the age of 21. He had suffered from abnormally high blood pressure for all of his all too short life.
Readers will recall the byline with a surname could never pass for Irish no matter how many Os and Macs you surrounded it with.
But Chris was part of the Echo’s now 80-year-old story nonetheless.
Chris worked at the Echo for several months last year as an intern. He was a student in San Diego sampling the many delights of New York while learning some of the ins and outs of the newspaper business along the way.
Late last August, Chris’s name appeared above a story he wrote about the efforts of the Ancient Order of Hibernians to rescue long-forgotten stain glass windows from churches around the United States.
Chris, whose mother’s family was Irish, took enormous care over this story and we were all impressed with the final product on the page.
Chris wrote: “The sun’s bright glow pours through the colored figures in the stained glass, bathing the faithful churchgoers in a spectrum of dazzling hues.
“This is a familiar, yet particularly powerful scene for the many Catholic churchgoers throughout the nation. Though stained glass windows are often commended for their artistry and beauty, one rarely thinks of where, or from whom, they came from.”
But Chris did. Though his life’s work was only beginning, it lasted long enough to remind us of the enduring value of what those who came before us held sacred.