Tuesday 23 April 2019

Kind and loving Aoife (20) 'filled her family's heart'

Heartbreak at death of 'beautiful and radiant' Bray woman

The late Aoife Healy
The late Aoife Healy

Mary Fogarty

A single sunbeam followed Aoife Healy's distraught family along the aisle of the Holy Redeemer last Monday morning, as they escorted her white coffin to the altar.

The song 'In the Arms of the Angels' was being sung, with the lyric 'may you find some comfort here', expressing what was in the hearts of the large number of people present to say farewell to Aoife and console her loved ones.

The 20-year-old woman from Oldcourt died in the early hours of last Thursday morning, at a grassy area to the rear of Educate Together and Pres schools on Putland Road. Gardaí are not treating the tragedy as suspicious.

She was a beautiful, loving daughter, her uncle Martin told the congregation on behalf of Aoife's parents Louise and John, her brothers Sean and Aaron, sisters Robyn and Éabha, her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.

Fr Dan Nguyen led a Mass filled with music and love, for a young woman whom he said was taken far too soon.

Fr Dan said that there were representatives at Mass from a number of clubs of organisations, as well as St Patrick's National School and Loreto, Aoife's two former schools.

He thanked everyone for their support for the Healy family as they grieve their terrible loss.

The family has borne much more than its share of sadness over the years. Aoife's older sister Amy died aged 12 in 2005, in a drowning accident at Glendalough.

Since then, her young cousins Desmond and Jack have died, in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

At the start of the Funeral Mass, Fr Dan invited family members to light three candles to represent Amy, Desmond and Jack, all of whom were remembered throughout the ceremony.

Gifts taken to the altar included a heart, to symbolise togetherness; Aoife's makeup bag, mirror and straightener, her phone, keyring, cigarettes and some sweets.

'She was friendly, loving, kind-hearted, generous, intelligent, and kind-of a handful who made her parents laugh and cry,' Martin told the mourners who had gathered to celebrate her life and comfort her family.

'The name Aoife comes from the Gaelic words for "Princess" and "Warrior", and Aoife was both. It also means "beautiful and "radiant", which she was,' said Martin.

'Aoife was a good friend, and it shows here today. She loved getting cuddles and giving them. She loved helping others. She loved her family, especially young kids.'

The congregation heard that she was a real 'people person', who loved socialising with her friends, and doing herself up - especially her eyebrows and hair.

There were fond laughs at a story of a very young Aoife managing to get out the sitting-room window to make her way down to her aunt Jackie's house, only to be attacked by a cat en-route! 'She still had love for animals after that,' said Martin.

'In her short time on earth she had a lot going on,' he said. 'In 2005 she lost her sister Amy, in 2007 her cousin Desmond, and in 2015 her cousin Jack.'

He said that all of them would now look after one another.

'Aoife was mischievous and a handful at times,' said Martin. 'But she filled our hearts.'

He said that the young woman had struggled with addiction, driven by her demons, a want of happiness and more.

All of the members of her family tried to help her so much, Martin said. 'There are many people among us, some that we may not even know of, who struggle with this disease,' he said.

'All we can do is love them unconditionally, hold them close, even when it's only in your heart.'

Songs during the emotional service included Amazing Grace, On Eagle's Wings, Jealous of the Angels, and finally, 'I Was Here' by Beyoncé, as Aoife's family carried her away.

Aoife was buried on Monday afternoon with her sister Amy, at Springfield Cemetery in Bray.

Bray People