The taxi left me off in the middle of the village [Kilmacthomas] as I wanted to say goodbye to Mother Kent. Mother Kent has brought a golden brood of children into the world and she is now counselor and general helpmate and advisor to all the country around. When we first met (half a century ago) she was a young nurse just back from England. It was many years since we had last seen each other.
"You just missed Lena [Keating]" she remarked as I came in the door.
"Oh, I'm sorry about than, I'm very fond of Lena," said I.
"And she of you too, there was always a thing between you." We sat down and looked each other over.
"So we lost the poor doctor," said she.
"Poor Joe [Walsh]," said I.
" The poor doctors last wish was to be buried with the lads in the Republican plot."
"Pat [Keating] was the first to go into the plot and the poor doctor was almost the last - almost." Here she gave me a most meaningful look.
"I don't intend to be buried in any plot, I'm going to the crematorium." Nothing ever startled her but this did.
"Cremated. What would you be doing a thing like that for and all the lads waiting for you up in Kilrossanty graveyard?" Great dark wings seemed to be rustling about us.
"Listen Kate, I can't stay to lunch today but I will be back as soon as I can."
"Tomorrow evening then, Father Jack, Ned's son will be here."
"Poor Ned." We both nodded over this memory.
"When Ned was dying he begged the poor doctor to come back to the church but the doctor said he would have to think twice about that - well, they have both gone to their eternal reward now."
One of the consoling things about Ireland is that everybody apparently goes to Heaven, including atheists.
"I'll have the lads take a fish from the river for you and Lena will come with the car for you tomorrow."
"It will be great to see Lena again."
"Of course it will, why do you think I am sending her?"
We parted most amiably and after walking along for over a mile I rested on a ditch to survey the beautiful country, a place I was now reluctant to leave. Both Kate and I knew that time could not be far off. All the people we most loved were gone away and were now most anxiously awaiting us to join them. Life, Death, - why swellest thou?
One short sleepe past we wake eternally
And death shall be no more--
A car drew up.
"Kate thought you might get tired from the long walk back." I sat in and we drove off together.
The night shades are falling and it is time for me to make my exit. My friends across the sea await me and I must be walking on.
"Drive your horse and your plough over the bones of the dead."
A wise man has said-
But now the time has come
and we must go away - I to die
and you to live. Which is better
is known to the gods alone.
Author: George Lennon