The late Jenni McCarron: her outstanding quality was her kindness
The world shed a tear on Tuesday for it knew it had lost a precious, tender soul with the sad passing last weekend of Jennie McCarron from St Eunan’s Terrace in Raphoe.
Growing up, Jennie McCarron’s home just across the street had always been a place of welcome for me. It was almost a second home.
Just over a month separates me in age from my lifelong friend Damien McCarron, and just around 20 yards in a diagonal line, separated our houses on opposite sides of the road.
From earliest childhood right into our 20s we seemed to be permanent fixtures in each other's houses.
For all of that time, I was always accepted into her home by Mrs McCarron, whose mild and unassuming nature hid the generosity that embodied her character.
She was a quiet woman, but for me, her outstanding quality was her kindness.
Less than an hour before I received the news of her passing on Saturday evening, I had recorded a podcast episode where I said, “simple acts of interest in someone’s well being - acts of kindness and consideration, can be the springboard for amazing and positive things.”
As I reflected on the impression she had made on my life, I recalled so many acts of kindness and generosity, but one, in particular, came to mind and brought a smile.
I recalled how for many years, in the early hours of Christmas morning after Midnight Mass - (back in the day when Christmas Eve Mass was at midnight) - two envelopes would drop through our letterbox with cards containing money for both myself and my brother John Michael.
We grew up in an estate with great people, where boxes of sweets and biscuits would already have been exchanged as gifts between homes, yet this little ‘extra’ for us two young boys came for years and brought untold happiness.
I was glad that I was able in some small way over the years to try to repay some of her kindness by inviting her to different gatherings in my own home.
It always gave me great joy when she accepted an invitation. Like my own mother, Jennie was a Ramelton native, and the long-time neighbours could always find a quiet corner and plenty to talk about.
A woman of great faith, Mrs McCarron was living testament to the spirit of Christianity and when she smiled to show her approval or to demonstrate how happy she was, there was never any doubt that it was entirely genuine.
Over the years the McCarron and Kelly families - Jennie’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - became woven into a wider series of life-long friendships for me, and over the years I could see the impact that her life had made on all around her. When many of her great-grandchildren gathered for a cheque presentation two years ago - proceeds from Jennie’s 90th birthday donations divided between Donegal Hospice and Pieta House - they got to play a first-hand part in the spirit of her generosity.
She may have been a woman of few words, but she was a role model who led by example to show the type of friendship, generosity and kindness I have witnessed time and again from her family over the years.
Jennie passed away at home in the care of her loving family on Saturday evening, slipping away exactly as she had lived her life - quietly and without a fuss.
There is little doubt, however, that the influence she has had, will live on.
The greatness of the human soul is reflected in kindness. It is a power beyond natural and the footprints it leaves behind can be everlasting.
Jennie McCarron lived a life of quiet greatness and will always be remembered by everyone who knew her, for her kind and gentle nature.
And really, could anyone ask for anything better than that?
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