Brimming with fun and joy, the irrepressible and glamorous Aideen bounced into my life in 2002.
We were to be interns in DC on the same programme that summer, sharing a room and host parents. It was the start of a friendship that spanned decades.
Aideen was a ball of energy, literally “all singing and dancing” (she loved and excelled in both). She often joked that she had so many skills because her Mum had to send her to many different classes over the years to use up her seemingly endless source!
Beautifully made-up, with her signature lippy, we had an amazing time. Not just the employment and events, but the many hours of fun, great chats and laughter together in a wonderfully hot American summer.
It was the last summer of our youth, on the verge of starting our careers and the next chapter of our lives when we returned home. We were both with long-term boyfriends, we knew engagements were around the corner. We were joyful and excited to be starting work, her as a journalist and me as a barrister. We were full of anticipation, hopes and dreams, ambitions, and opportunity.
When it came to talent, Aideen had it in tonnes. She was a born performer with a real star quality. I was shy, she was outgoing. Gregarious, with a mischievous sense of fun. She was reflective too though, well read, interested deeply in current affairs. She also loved people, learning about them, caring for them. She had an incredible kind and beautiful soul. She loved equally, the strong and the broken and everything in between.
We can never predict the arc of our lives. Aideen’s was cruelly short. Brutal too were the traumas and grief she would endure. I often thought, how much more can one person be expected to take?
A wonderful, bright sparkly star who had so much to give to the world, yet it was to be the world that took so much from her.
I watched her rise over the years, get her dream job, celebrated her fairy tale wedding with her. Like in many things we drifted a little through marriage and moving house. I watched her have her children and life flourish.
When we reconnected again, life had taken a more challenging turn. She suffered immense grief. She endured more in the last decade we had together than most people suffer in a lifetime. It took a huge toll on her health, as her frequent visits to hospital over the last few years demonstrated.
Aideen was so deeply proud beyond words of her children, Jacob and Eva. She loved them so incredibly. Aideen was the kindest of friends. Loyal, determined.
She kept joy and humour despite it all. It was a huge privilege to have had her in my life. I will miss her deeply. She is gone much too soon.
Fly high beautiful butterfly, thank you for your friendship and your love.
The world will be forever slightly darker without your shining light. Goodbye my friend, goodbye x