I met Aine in my second year of university, and I knew her for a few short years before her death in 2012. I remember her now and explain how our brief friendship and her passing has had a huge impact on me.
Upon meeting Aine I was struck by her quirky style, her infectious laugh and her cracking sense of humour! I have our first meeting, planted firmly in my mind. Typical of exam season in Manchester, it was sunny out and we spent the day having chatting and enjoying the sun. Over time I got to know her and She was the life and soul of many a night out , singing Karoke, dressing up and dragging us to see random bands in Manchester.
What strikes me most of my memories of Aine is her beautiful smile! I knew Aine was experiencing a harrowing depression, which we didn’t really talk about, but she didn’t seem sick she was always in the moment with a smile. I spent time with her through some dark moments, never aware of the pain that her smile was masking.
When Aine passed, I just felt really sad. Not for me but sad for her family whom she talked about always and had photos of everywhere. I felt sad for all those who knew her and loved her. I removed myself from the grief, thinking it wasn’t fair to mourne someone you only knew for a short time.
As time as passed I realized the profound effect her passing had on me. As corny as it sounds I think of her most days, every time I see a green banana, or a really comfy reading chair or hear a song from uni. The moment catches me and I’ll find myself smiling at the memory of her.
Her death also taught me, how well hidden depression is, it affects so many of us directly or indirectly. I had a small idea of what Aine was feeling, but my understanding of her illness was limited. I now know how important it is to have the difficult conversations, conversations I should of had with Aine.
The work of Pieta house is so vitally important in taking the stigma out of talking about mental illness. Darkness into light, is an opportunity to show support to those battling depression,it shows that’s it’s ok to open up and talk and most importantly it shows that it’s ok not to be ok. I am so proud to be involved with The Darkness into Light walk Toronto, I’ll be walking May 7th for Aine and all those suffering in silence.
If you would like to get involved you can register here .