Belfast Telegraph

At just 25, Peaches is dead and we realise again youth is not invincible

By Lindy McDowell

At just 25, Peaches is dead and we realise again youth is not invincible

One report talked about how she'd been a wild child 'in her youth'. In her youth? Peaches Geldof, when she died, was all of 25. She was heartbreakingly young. Not just heartbreakingly young to die. But heartbreakingly young to have lived through so much personal drama, turmoil and trauma.

And all of it in the public eye.

She never got over her mother's death, they say. But how could she? She was reminded of it constantly. No interview with Peaches ever failed to mention her mother, her mother's tragic death (when Peaches was only 11), her mother's lover's suicide...

And then there was the story of how her father had valiantly held the family together, adopting Tiger Lily, the child of Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence, so that she would be with her sisters.

Peaches Geldof grew up in the limelight. Even if, like her oldest sister Fifi, she had chosen to shun it as much as possible, she would have known that there would always be that public fascination with her family.

And Peaches, of course, didn't shun it. From a precociously early age she was carving out a career. Perhaps that would explain that phrase in those reports referring to 'in her youth'.

Peaches Geldof, the celeb, seemed to have been around forever.

She was on TV. A commentator. A print journalist. She gave an interview where she described how being a journalist (like her mother before her) gave her an insight into both sides of the equation. She could empathise with both interviewee and interviewer. She understood the pressures on those in the public eye and those who report on them. She had a foot in both camps.

And since her marriage to Thomas Cohen, she'd seemed to have found the family idyll she'd been denied in her own turbulent childhood and teenage years. She had two little boys in quick succession – the youngest, poignantly, born on the same birthday as the lost mother she adored.

Peaches wrote about how the rigours of motherhood had "broken" her. But "in the best possible way". Other mothers, run ragged with small children, their hair flecked with baby food, unable to grab even a second for themselves, will recognise that feeling of utter exhaustion gilded with love and joy and contentment.

The shadow of the mother who died when Peaches was so young was always there. But Peaches seems always to have taken comfort from that.

While some media reports have made much of the fact that the last picture she posted was one of herself as a toddler in her mother's arms, we shouldn't read too much into that. The snap was tweeted along with another showing Peaches as a baby. The reason? Her oldest son, she explained, loved looking at old photographs of his mummy.

Poor Peaches. Her poor children. Their poor father. And her own father, Bob ...

"What a beautiful child," he said of her in a statement that bled raw pain. "How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable?"

Then there are her sisters. That tight little unit of girls who have already in their young lives been through so very much. I lost my own sister in my teenage years. I feel for those girls so much.

When someone very young and very close dies, it tears a deep part out of your heart. And amid all the pain, that almost casual sense the young have that they are invincible is torn away forever.

And you never, ever get it back again.

"We loved her and will cherish her forever. How sad that sentence is," Bob Geldof said in his tribute to his lovely, lost wee girl.

There are no other words. How sad it all is.

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