ENTHUSIASM MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH GOD
For James C. McQuaid, my father
May 17, 1938 - January 1, 2007
When I write, all these words swim back at me.
From my vocabulary lessons with my father, at the kitchen table,
late in the evening…
Learn the word, Dora…
Now, use it in a sentence.
Show me how it works,
My father, who studied Latin in the seminary,
and knew the origins of the words,
and me, and
the words, themselves.
© 2002 Dora E. McQuaid
My father passed away on January 1, around 7:30 in the evening. I was with him when his spirit rose up out of his body, and although one of the most diffcult experiences of my life, I feel honored to have held him as he left us.
There are no words for any of this, only a vast silence inside of me. I am posting this poem that I wrote for my father several years ago to honor how very much his influence has shaped me, the woman I have become, and to share it with the people who were, and could not be, present at his graveside while I read it as his funeral on January 5. My father was a truly incredible man. He was often referred to as "The Great Communicator", and "Irish" and "The Leprechaun". He stood for fairness and justice, for helping other people, especially kids, and had a love of language and a faith in the mysteries of spirit that he passed on to me, and that have guided many of the choices I have made to be who I am and do the work I do.
For his family's benefit, as I said at my father's graveside, I had researched the name MCQUAID several years ago, when my dad adopted me in Orphan's Court. I had waited most of my life to rightfully own his name, the name McQuaid, because he was the only father I ever truly knew. One of the worries that plagued me over the years of activism was that people would assume the "father" I had written about in the scorched earth was Jim McQuaid. In the opening of that book, I explain that I was not writing of Jim McQuaid, but of my biological father, of whom I have known little since my earliest years. Jim McQuaid, my heart-true father, married my mother when I was almost 4 years old, and his love and care of my mother, brothers and myself is well-known. My father made a family of us, and raised us as if we were his blood children, with no regret, and always with his typical enthusiasm. He married my mother in November of 1971, and adopted me in September of 2004, after being my father for all of those years. It was one of the proudest and happiest days of my life, to finally, fully legally be Jim McQuaid's daughter, and to bear the name McQuaid, which I will carry for the rest of my life.
In my research, I discovered that MCQUAID is of Irish and Danish origin, and means: Son of The Poet; a series of ancient, narrative, lyrical poems, and represents the element of air. Fitting, for me and for my father, who also wrote poetry, and encouraged my own pursuit of it. My dad was as Irish as they come, could silence a room with his stories, and extended himself to people in ways that calmed and gentled whoever was in his presence.
I miss him terribly. I am praying to learn how to live without his presence, and how to live in ways that would continue to make him proud of me. The world without him is not right to me, and yet, I can hear him saying to me:
Dora, this is life. Just live it. Do the best you can, because your best will always be enough.
ALL PEACE. DORA
James C. McQuaid of West Chester
James C. McQuaid, 68, of West Chester, died Monday, Jan. 1, 2007.
He was the husband of Dora Fanucci McQuaid, with whom he celebrated 35 years of marriage.
Born in Sugartown, he was the son of the late George Joseph and Elizabeth Agnes Phelan McQuaid Sr.
He was an executive for many years with Grocery Store Products and Sartomer Co., both in West Chester. He was very involved in teenage sports as a PIAA referee, coach and adviser. He was a strong believer in athletics as a character builder.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children: Bobby McQuaid in the U.S. Army, Christopher McQuaid of Gap and Dora E. McQuaid of Taos, N.M.; six grandchildren: James, Theresia and Emily McQuaid, Daniele Klinger, Allen and Ana Sandor; two brothers: Billy McQuaid of Garrett Hill and John McQuaid of Washington, D.C.; and three sisters: Jean Bascome of Garrett Hill, Judy Reynolds of Norristown and Joan Aquillante of Berwyn.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5, at St. Agnes Church, 233 W. Gay St., West Chester. Friends are invited to a viewing from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 4, at the Founds Funeral Home Inc. High and Union streets, West Chester, 610-696-0134. Interment will be in Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery, West Chester.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The James C. McQuaid Scholarship through The Jordan Foundation, 564 Woodside Ave., Berwyn, PA 19312.
Online condolences may be made at www.foundsfuneralhome.com.
©Daily Local News 01/04/2007