They especially suck when the sun shines on a spring day. A day meant for laughter with family, with friends, in the joy of life. The joy that the deceased can no longer share with us. So, this Saturday, at St. Martin of Tours Church, the spring blossoms seemed to bow as our Brother, Joe, was carried to his rest.
Joe McGarry was president of Transit Police Memorial Lodge #317 of the Fraternal Order of Police. But he was also a Marine Corps Vietnam Vet—and the dad of ten.
Joe was present on many a sad day when others of our Brotherhood were laid to rest. Often these lives were taken in the line of duty, through the hellish mix of fire and steel. These are crushing days for our Brotherhood, but devastating for the families left behind.
Joe died of a cancer that slowly brought his body to its end, but not his indomitable spirit.
We Brothers in blue gather to honor our fallen and support their families, and Joe was always there to lead, to help, to ease the way.
You see, Joe was a man of service to America, to the people of New York City, and to his family, of course. But he also looked to go the extra yard when help was needed—wherever help was needed. Especially in Transit Police Dist 1, among the deepest of the dark bowels of the city of New York:
So, yeah, funerals suck.
But they do have a silver lining, a way of getting our attention, of pointing out the fragility of life, the impermanence of it all. They have a way of getting us to look at our own lives, seeing those around us in a different light. They get some of us to think we might care a bit more for each other.
Whether you are a person of faith or not, one thing is certain: When we leave this valley of tears, we are not fully gone. We leave behind our voices, our acts of caring, our examples of kindness toward our fellow human beings. These touch others, who in turn may touch others too. In this way, we live on. In this way—we make a difference.
Maybe the wise among us can learn something from these sucking days. Because we need more Joes in this troubled world.
So, when the pipes are done piping and the taps turn to silence, we might hear the slam of a howitzer as an exclamation point to a life well lived. But that blast could also be the starting gun of a renewed, dedicated life.
Let’s salute this family man, this Marine, this New York City Transit Cop—this Brendan Joseph McGarry.
Shedding a little light where the sun don’t shine
See also my sunny side posts:https://leebythesea.me
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