February 27, 1971 - April 16, 2015
Paxton, Massachusetts | Age 44
I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O'Rourke. I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children; Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan aged 8.
I was a Burncoat girl, raised by my mother, Eileen (Courtney) Rafferty now of Holden, and my very dear uncle, George 'David' Rafferty who predeceased me. Henry J Rafferty was my father who also predeceased me. I also leave my brother Sean P. Rafferty, sisters: Noreen Erickson and her husband Robert, Ellen R Harrity and Megan Rafferty, all of Worcester. I leave a most loving mother and father in law, James G. and Hannah 'Joan' O'Rourke; a sister, Colleen and her husband, Martin Dyer all of Worcester; a brother-in-law, James O'Rourke and his wife, Michelle (Holden) and lifelong friends Carrie Ann Buccaglia (Worcester), Maureen Grenier (Dudley), Patricia Flagg (Millbury), and many nieces and nephews.
I'd like to thank my colleague, physician and dear friend Venu Bathini MD, for his care and support in this battle. You always saw me as a person and not a statistic. In addition I thank my PCP Elizabeth Murphy MD, nurses Beth and Faith and all those who cared for me during this journey. It was not easy for me to be a care receiver, but we forged a path for me that brought me further than most would have imagined.
I attended Burncoat High School, Worcester State University obtaining my masters in nursing. As a 'roaming' catholic I attended Mass in various parishes. We are members of St Columba but attended St. Johns, Our Lady of the Angels and the Abbey in Spencer.
Nursing was my calling, during my career I had the honor and privilege, to care for patients who were amazing people; they often gave me the strength and courage to get through my journey and the desire to return to the work of caring for others. I hope I was able to give them a fraction of what they gave me.
I LOVED my life. I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic'. And of course sitting quietly on the porch with Brendan (listening to the Red Sox). I enjoyed working for a cause, among them, the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, whose members' spirit and dedication amazed me.
Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always. I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard. I pray they have learned to feel the deep sense of faith that I shared. No matter where this journey brings me next, I will forever carry their love with me, as I am sure there is a piece of me that will forever remain with them.
But cancer does not care who it takes, who it hurts, or honor or love. It comes into your life and starts to break the threads that hold you and you are left to see pieces of yourself slip away and dreams fade. We were clung only to each other with pure love and faith binding us, in the end is when the most amazing thing happens, cancer loses its strength and grace appears. We need to see it. We accept it, and go with it. Grace and love win, not cancer.
I hope to be remembered, with laughter, love and a good pint. And for my children to know "No Momma ever did and no Momma ever will….."
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember my life at calling hours on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors – The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center. My Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Saint John's Church, 44 Temple Street, Worcester on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mooreland Cemetery, Paxton.
Honor my legacy and love for my children with a donation to 'Our Story of Love' http://www.gofundme.com/A-Story-About-Love or become involved and help fight cancer in any way you can. Forgive someone today and fill that spot with love.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
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