The reason my certificate was purchased was to honor the lives of my grandparents, Michael Frain and Catherine (Kate) Kelleher. On my first visit to Ireland in 2004, I felt my presence was shouting to the generations before me, “The granddaughter of a servant girl and farmer is back with her college diploma. It might have taken two generations to achieve, but because of their sacrifice, I am here.”
On my most recent jaunt, I visited the graves of my grandfather’s siblings and parents in Teampill Graveyard in Tavneena, County Mayo. My husband and I stayed with a young man by the name of Gerry Frain. (No relation) Gerry opened his house to us and his father, John, took us to the cemetery and told us stories that warmed our hearts. Gerry extended himself to us because…“The Frains have always been good decent people with big hearts.”
Although my husband and I made sure our three children received their postgraduate degrees, we also insisted they follow in the footsteps of the Frain family by being good decent people with big hearts. That part of being Irish is something we carry in our hearts and minds. My certificate is a symbol of our struggle to honor and emulate the lives of my mother, Catherine Frain Carroll and her parents. How blessed are we to come from strong Irish stock!