Sunday 4 December 2016

Cathriona a private woman who loved to laugh and lit up the lives of many

Published 10/10/2015 | 02:30

Cathriona White and her sister Lisa
Cathriona White and her sister Lisa
Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary
Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys
Crowds gather at White Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary to pay their respects to Cathriona White, the former girlfriend of Hollywood Actor Jim Carrey who died in Los Angeles. Pic Steve Humphreys

Cathriona White was a shy, private woman who was devoted to her family and friends.

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Her tragic death laid bare all aspects of her short life, including a Hollywood career, famous boyfriend and Vegas wedding.

Yet in the aftermath of her sudden death, it is the outpouring of grief from those she loved which truly paints a picture of a girl who loved to laugh and went out of her way to help others.

"That smile that lit up a room" was how one friend remembered her, adding that they would always picture her dancing.

Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary
Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary

Another told how the last text they received from Cathriona just days before her death read; "Hey babe, checking on you, if you need me I'm here for you and I love you."

The friend continued: "She was in pain herself, but checking on me to see what I needed. That really sums up who she was."

Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary
Mourners arrive for the removal of Cathriona White at White’s Funeral Home in Cappawhite in Tipperary

Her devastated family recalled her as "a shining light in our lives who was loved deeply by her entire family".

Since news broke of the tragic death of the 30-year-old, the rural Tipperary village that she called home, Cappawhite, has been reeling.

Cathriona White
Cathriona White

Despite a move to Los Angeles in 2009, the unassuming make-up artist kept her home close to her heart. Local councillor and family friend Mary Hanna Hourigan recalled her as "a quiet and gentle girl".

Read more: Brendan O'Connor on the death of Cathriona White: An LA tragedy closer to home than we might think

Cathriona White with her marriage certificate (inset)
Cathriona White with her marriage certificate (inset)

Career

Cathriona had studied and worked briefly as a beautician at home but made a life for herself in LA as a make-up artist and actress. Within a number of years, she had carved out a successful career for herself working on a range of films and TV shows.

Her close-knit family, especially her father Pat, were hugely proud of her. Cathriona and her siblings were reared by their father after the breakdown of their parents' marriage.

Jim Carrey and his girlfriend Cathriona White
Jim Carrey and his girlfriend Cathriona White

Yet as an undocumented immigrant in the US, Cathriona was unable to fly home when her beloved father died from cancer in 2012 after battling the illness for two decades.

After her sudden death, her sister Lisa and stepmother Brid travelled to the US to bring Cathriona home to Cappawhite for her funeral. She will be laid to rest today beside the father she adored.

Cathriona looking very LA
Cathriona looking very LA

Despite working in the movie industry, it was when she began dating actor Jim Carrey in 2012 that Cathriona found herself propelled into the limelight.

She and the actor had an on-off relationship for three years, during which time he helped her cope with her grief at the loss of her father. But the relationship ended once more last month.

Read more: Carrey in funeral tribute to his 'delicate Irish flower'

After her death, Carrey paid tribute to his ex-girlfriend, saying learning of her death was like being "hit with a lightning bolt". He described her as a "kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil".

Despite their relationship, Cathriona never appeared comfortable in the paparazzi glare, but would happily upload Instagram images of herself in a Tipperary jersey.

During her time in Los Angeles, Cathriona had taken classes at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Centre. In 2013, she married fellow scientologist and cameraman Mark Burton. The couple, who met while working on an online comedy series, married in Las Vegas on January 15, 2013.

However, the pair had since separated and Cathriona was planning to begin divorce proceedings in December.

Last year, Cathriona returned home to celebrate her sister Lisa's wedding.

Cathriona regularly updated her Instagram and Twitter accounts with positive and beautiful images and messages.

Yet behind all the happy memories, she was struggling. Her last tweet read: "Signing off Twitter, I hope I have been a light to my nearest and dearest."

Read more: Crowds gather to pay last respects at removal of Cathriona White

Days later, friends discovered her body at her home surrounded by prescription medicines.

Now, as her heartbroken family say their final farewells, friends and family have gathered to show just how much of a shining light she was to them.

Irish Independent

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