Lawrence Charles McClarey: A Remembrance


The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away.   Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Job 1:21

To those who did not know Larry well, it might be assumed that he was dealt a pretty poor set of cards in this life.  Autistic, afflicted with seizures in his later years, and a brief life of 21 and three-quarter years.  However, to those of us who had the great privilege of knowing Larry well, he was blessed with many gifts, just as his life was a blessing to us.

1.  At his birth he was blessed with a twin brother, Donnie, who all Larry’s life would be his constant companion:  playing with him, and caring for him and guarding him from harm.

2.  He was blessed with two parents who loved him more than mere words can possibly convey.

3.  He was blessed with a beloved baby sister, a loving grandmother and grandfather and a cherished godmother, all of whom helped guide his steps.

4.  He was blessed with a wry sense of humor.  I will never forget the lopsided smile on his face as a toddler as he pretended to touch the computer printer paper roll because he knew that would always get a rise out of Mom and Dad.  His default expression was a smile.

5.  He was blessed with a joyful zest for life, from swinging on swings much higher than they were ever intended to go, to grooving to music he liked, swaying back and forth and rocking his head, to closing his eyes as he savored the big hamburgers he loved.  Life never grew stale or prosaic for Larry.

6.  He was blessed with a bold spirit.  At a year and a half he decided in May of 1993 that it would be a very good idea to walk to Renfrew Park without bothering to get permission from Mom or Dad!  In his later years he was fond of midnight strolls, once again without telling Mom or Dad!  One of my most cherished memories of Larry is him running ahead of the family like a gazelle, to Mass or to some other favorite destination. Life with Larry was an endless adventure, whether we wanted it to be or not!

7.  He was blessed with self-reliance, as I can attest from picking up the remnants of late night snacks that he had fixed for himself in the kitchen after Mom and Dad went to sleep.  Some of us march to our own drummer.  Larry, ever a rugged individualist, marched to his own brass band.

8.  He was blessed with a warm heart as the hugs he gave indicated.

9.  He was blessed with a good mind, defying the odds of his autism to learn to read and to memorize long prayers.

10. He was blessed with a love of God.  At Mass he said his prayers and always understood that Mass was important and solemn.  His physical presence at Mass with my family ended with his funeral Mass, but not the presence of his spirit.

11. Above all, he was blessed by being the child of a loving God, who for His own purposes took him into His heavenly kingdom in the wee hours of Pentecost the Sunday before last.

Larry enjoyed all these blessings, and he was a blessing to all who knew him, from the first day of his life to his last day.  May the same be said of all of us when the tally of our days is reached.  Goodby my son, until we meet again in the Kingdom of Love Eternal.

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  1. I loved reading this, your heart-felt appreciation for the glorious life of your dear boy is now at play in the fields of the Lord. Made in the image and likeness of God–sometimes what appears to be less than perfect reveals a much deeper perfection which shines out like pure gold. I wish Gerard Manley Hopkins were here to write once of his lyrical poems about Larry. He would surely convey the glory you were able to see in him.

    I don’t know if you know the story of Xena and Jonny. Jonny is about nine years old and autistic. Before Xena came into his life, he did not talk or allow himself to have physical contact with anyone. Xena is a mixed-breed dog that was found nearly dead of starvation. The picture of her in this state us utterly pitiable. The rescue agency thought she would surely die, but gave her an IV with nourishment and the poor thing rallied. They nursed her back to health and put her up for adoption. Jonny’s mother say a picture of Xena on Facebook and fell in love with her. The family took Jonny to the shelter to see the dog. Xena bounded up to Jonny right away and the bond was fixed instantly. The family took the dog home. Xena transformed Jonny who now talks all the time, sings, and show unbounded affection. Xena is his constant companion. You can follow the story on Facebook. It is proof of the action of grace and the touch of God’s hand in this life. Outreach, kindness, compassion, affection–these unveil the face of God. Your son, Larry, saw the face of God in the love that surrounded him in this world, and he unveiled that Divine Face for all of you. Xena and Jonny are the touch of God to each other. It’s as plain as day!

  2. Thank you so much for that loving memorial. It gives us all the perspective we need on what is truly important. We need to focus on Our Lord, Our Church, and our families. The common denominator in all of this, is of course love. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. Don,
    Thank you so very much for sharing; what a lovely blessing! God bless you and your family.

  4. What a beautiful life.
    Thanks for sharing your love for him with us.
    His zest for life was so lovingly scripted by His best friend…you.

  5. Thank you Don, for sharing a snapshot of Larry’s life – and the life and love he shared with you, for too brief a time. Your memories of the happy times will stay with you and turn your tears into joy.
    God bless you and Cathy and Donnie and Mary.

  6. Thank you for sharing Larry’s story with us. What a joy-filled young man. We would all do well to emulate him.

  7. “ . . . running ahead of the family like a gazelle, to Mass or to some other favorite destination.” And so it is fitting that Larry ran ahead of his family to his final destination, Heaven. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to a beautiful son.

    “The tears . . . streamed down, and I let them flow as freely as they would, making of them a pillow for my heart. On them it rested.” — St. Augustine

    I extend to you and your family my deepest and heartfelt condolences.

  8. Larry, ever a rugged individualist, marched to his own brass band. !!!

    Donald I recognize that in one of my own, and I know your joy and pride and wondering delight!

  9. Don

    My sympathy and prayers.

    For 21 years you had a true blessing. His memory, and his prayers for his family at the foot of the Throne will continue to be a blessing.

  10. Thank you, Don, for this beautiful remembrance of your son. As some of you know, I have an autistic daughter and she shares some of these traits. It is easy sometimes to get caught up in wondering why these children are not more “normal” and not stop to appreciate their real gifts. Thank you for reminding us to do so, every chance we get. God bless Larry, and your family, always.

  11. The picture you posted above of Larry says it all. You can see the gentle, kind and loving innocence in his eyes and in his smile. You were truly blessed to have him as your boy. You and your family have a new saint to look out for you and he happens to be a member of your immediate family. WOW !!!! God bless you all. Will offer Mass & Communion tomorrow for all of you.

  12. “We shall run and not grow weary, for our God is at our side, and we shall fly like the eagle, we will rise again!” My song for you and yours this morning!

    May he rest in peace. Gramma Jeanne

  13. Praevenire melius est quam praeveniri. — “It is better to precede than to be preceded.”
    Don the pain of losing a child can only be understood by those who have suffered likewise. I hope that 21+ years of memories to cherish, and the sure knowledge of having an energetic patron in Heaven, will sustain you and your family in this vale of tears. Thank you for posting the beautiful memorial to your son.

  14. Thank you my friends for your kind remarks. The pain of the loss of Larry in this vale of tears is diminished by my belief that he is in Heaven, my fond memories of him, and the support of good people like yourselves. In most lives there are portions, no matter how small, of pain and regret. I can’t say that about Larry. He led his life with joy and he caused myself and my wife nothing but joy.

  15. You painted a beautiful picture of him in this post Don, thank you! I feel I have gotten to know him and your family more. His spirit carries on. I am blessed to have this image and it help with my own mission in the carrying of the Catholic Message.

    God Bless Robert

  16. Thank you Robert, Paul and Karl. Memories of Larry will help me illuminate my path in a frequently dark world. How anyone could get through the death of a child without a strong religious faith is beyond me. I know that my memories of my son are the dimmest reflection of the glory that he now beholds.

  17. It was such a blessing for your uncle Larry and I to get to hear you relay this in person at Larry’s memorial. Even though we never met him personally, after spending time with all of you we felt that we knew him a little. I will look forward to getting to know him better someday in that Eternal Kingdom. God’s comfort and blessing on all of your family.

  18. Thank you for this tribute, and again: deepest sympathies and prayers for Larry, you and your family.

  19. Thank you for sharing the tribute to his life,family is so precious, I wish we would have gotten the chance to meet him. We will all meet someday in God’s kingdom.

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