As mentioned yesterday evening the time between the diagnosis of his illness and William’s death was very short, barely a month. There was little time to register what was happening let alone to come to terms with the very quick deterioration that was apparent and happening before our eyes. He was in this time well looked after by Eileen and his family, who looked after him through the day and in the night also. There was enough time for me to come and bring him communion. I assured him that I would keep an eye on him, he said keep 2 eyes on me, Father. I was happy to do that.
For William faith had always been very important in his life: it was at times his consolation, his strength and his guiding light. In conversations with him in those last days of his life it was all of this. He might have been afraid at the things that were happening to him but he found great comfort in his faith in those dark days.
He also found great consolation in the love and care given to him by Eileen and his family: sons and daughters grandchildren and brothers and sisters.
In daily prayer the church asks us to prepare for that day of our death. That we should not go empty handed to the Lord. That we should not be strangers to him. William was no stranger and does not go empty handed to him, he has a lifetime faith under his belt. Sunday Mass, mass through the week, daily prayer and good Christian actions.
He had a good foundation laid for him by his mother and father and his family home at Silverbanks and the Circuit and in the schools he attended. He made all his sacraments here and this was always his church and parish. Today he returns to this parish for final prayers, in the place where it all began in his baptism now it ends. If he began the race here, he now finishes it here. If he was blessed at the beginning in his baptism here, now he is blessed at the end.
William was born on 14th December 1945, just a few months after the end of the WWII. He was born at Silverbanks, his brothers and sisters were Jim, John, Joseph, Andrew, Hughie, Stewart, Lawrence, Ellen, Jean and Margaret. He was to move to the Circuit at the age of 4, many of the friendships that he was to make there were to endure for the rest of his life. It was a neighbourhood in which people were friendly and looked out for one another, and many important lessons were learned for living. He was later to recount good memories of his life hanging around the Gas works and the River Clyde. He grew up and worked hard. He met Eileen at the age of 18 and just 2 years later they were to be married here at St Bride’s that marriage , they would have reached their 50th year married this year. Both of them carved out a life in which they raised their family well, looked after them and gave them good guidance and support. Their children here were William JaneAnne, Michael and Belinda. Like all parents they took great pride in their achievements in life and were very proud of them. The children say that their father was generous especially in times when they ran short he would always help them out – he came to be known as the Bank Manager.
A whole host of grandchildren appeared over the years: Thomas, Julieanne, Darren, Scott, Ryan, Lauren, Emma, Jordan, Cheryl, Ross, Glen, Alisha and Aiden. Great grandchildren in recent times: Dyland and Leo
It is not easy to bring up a family as many of you will know. In those times it was not easy to bring up a family, its clear that both William and Eileen kept a watchful eye out for the family, to see they didn’t sray and didn’t go off the rails. But both he and Eileen achieved much more over they created a real family spirit of closeness. You know yourself that some families can grow uo and become strangers, this was not to happen here. This family grew up caring and loving and supporting one another. It says a lot for what both he and Eileen achieved. It has to be said that Eileen I think did the day to day work and William was happy to let her.
What can we say about William in nature. The family say he could be crabbit, he could be a Victor Meldrew character, he couldn’t help himself, couldn’t help saying when things didn’t please him…and that was often….some family members say that he could have passed . You could tell it in his face, he would roll his eyes or pull a face. he couldn’t help himself.
He spent a lot of time on those benches at the cross. Along with his cronies they would watch the world go by. They would be the experts on football, world politics, and events going on in the world. Many a rumour was started on those very benches, what they didn’t know they would soon make up. They were like judges sitting in court. They would be there winter or summer, rain or sun.
William’s life seems all too short, just over 71 years. H e was the kind of person that you would have thought would have lied a long life, he never seemed in a hurry, always seemed to go at his won pace. It is not in our hands how long we live. It is up to the one who has created us. Sometimes it seems to us the worst of times when a person is called from this life, we sense that they had more to do, their work could not be over, they had more to see and more to do. Today we may feel that in our hearts, but we put our trust un the Lord. In a sense there will never be a good time to leave this life, there will always be more to do, more to see, more to achieve.
Like so often William turned to his faith to guide him through life, so he would say the same to us today. To allow faith and God to guide you when that day of sorrow comes on you.
William leaves a rich legacy of strong family life and he can be well pleased at this. This is a good achievement in life.
But God sees much more than we can. He sees into our soul, our heart and our inmost being. He knows as no other. He knows our weakness and difficulties, our sorrows and our joys, our strivings and our hopes. In all these things he loves us as no other, we are the work of his hand, he has carved us in the palm of his hand. He could never wish us to be separated from him, it is always his will that all should be saved and nine be lost. Its always his will that we should come to his house in which there are many rooms.
In or mass we entrust William to the Lord. We are not afraid for him, we are not worried or vexed. We put our trust in him for its his wish that all might be saved and nine be lost.
May God grant him peace at the end of his life. May God protect him at his going from us. May he reward him for kindnesses and the generosity of his life. May he know that eternal life that he always prayed for at the end of his life. May God grant him peace.