As slivers of light shined through the stained-glass windows of , friends and family came together to celebrate the life of Patricia Currie, the Scotch Plains woman who died in a tragic traffic in Westfield last week.
Steadying herself at the lectern, buoyed by the support of her brother Craig, who stood next to her, Tricia Adams said that their mother “died doing what came naturally to her — helping those in need.
“My mother was a compassionate woman who always opened her heart and home to everyone,"she said. "She lived life as a caretaker to many. As a nurse working in a hospice, she comforted so many families of the terminally ill. You are an inspiration to me and although you are not physically with me, you will live in our hearts forever.
Currie, a nurse who spent her life caring for others, died after a bizarre chain of events last Wednesday evening led to her being struck by a passing car and truck at the intersection of North Avenue and Tuttle Parkway. Currie had gotten out of her car to care for David Kervick, whom she'd grazed with her car as he walked down the street.
Born in Roselle, Currie lived in Scotch Plains for 40 years and was described by her daughter Tricia as a loving mother to Craig Currie and Tricia Adams, devoted sister to Carole and Thomas E. Sullivan, and loving grandmother to Craig, Jr., Catherine, Olivia, and Allie.
Before retiring, Currie worked as a registered nurse at Muhlenberg Hospital and the Ashbrook Nursing Home. In his homily, the Rev. John J. Paladino spoke fondly of his days as a chaplain at Muhlenberg Hospital, remembering how he and Currie would often turn to each other for wisdom.
“One of the fondest memories I have of Pat was when she was working as a nurse in the Psych Unit. She called me at about midnight on Ash Wednesday and woke me up. She said, ‘Father John, the patients here have not received their ashes, will you come?’ I couldn’t say no to Pat because she had a way of being persistent,” he said with a smile. “I walked into the unit and she had all of the patients in a big circle, praying and waiting for me to give ashes. That was Pat. She was always concerned not only for one’s physical health, but for their spiritual health as well.”
The peaceful service was marked by uplifting Irish hymns. A bagpiper led the procession into the church, as a strong chorus of “Abide with Me” filled the air. During communion, the Cantor sang the glorious “Offertory Song Lady Knock,” offering a prayer for the “Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland.” Despite the anguish of family and friends coping with the circumstances around Currie's death, the Mass was a celebration of a life well-lived, featuring a joyous spark and the belief that she was and the belief that Currie had gone on to a better place.
Father Paladino acknowledged that while he didn't have the words to adequately help loved ones deal with her sudden and tragic death, Currie possessed a “wonderful mixture of strength and gentleness.” He asked mourners to "believe that with trust and love, true healing will come in time." Acknowledging the love that Currie had for her children and grandchildren, he imparted to them the words of St Monica’s Soul to St. Augustine:
“'If you love me do not weep… Believe me, when death breaks your chains, as it has broken mine, then you will see her who loved and still loves you. You will find her heart the same, her tenderness even purer than before… Wipe away your tears, and if you love me truly, weep no more.'”
As friends and family slowly made their way of out of the church, a chorus of bagpipes echoed the Cantor’s fleeting and beautiful rendition of “Bring Him Home,” the hopeful anthem from Les Miserables.