Slán Abhaile

My grandma died.

She was Irish, and Catholic, the mother of eight living children, grandmother to dozens, wife for many decades, lifelong nurse, staunch advocate for the sick and for young mothers, and the person responsible for my love of Louisa May Alcott.

There are hundreds more things that can be said, that have been and will be said. Lately, though, I’ve just had this phrase in my head: slán abhaile (pronounced something like “slaan avel”). This is a phrase that translates, roughly, as a parting wish that visitors will travel “safely homeward.”

I never knew Grandma to rest, to stop working. She was driven by a sense of duty, of right. In her last years, neither age nor declining health slowed her. And for her entire life she looked forward to Heaven. She was ready to meet God, to see her Momma and her siblings again, and ready for some (well-earned) peace.

Eventually the finality of her death will sink in and I’ll need and want to say more.

For now, slán abhaile to Herself.


One thought on “Slán Abhaile”

  1. Just caught up on my emails and read this post. Your words are so lovely, tender, and heart felt. What a kind and soul-full woman you are. Thank you.

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