(Thanks to the Curran family for allowing the publication of the following.)

On Wednesday May 1st, Muff lost a beautiful, vivacious young lady. Aisling Curran was just 23 years old. Raven haired and full of vitality, Aisling sadly left this world at a time when she should have been living life to the full.

I was very fortunate to know Aisling since she was a young girl. Just over 17 years ago my family and I moved into our current home. The Curran family moved next door at the same time. The family had four children, two girls and two boys. Aisling was the eldest. The Curran children were very close in age to my own children. They had many fun times together and got up to much devilment! The family moved out a number of years ago but friendships were already formed between my children and the Currans – Friendships which will last a lifetime. My eldest son is an auxiliary member of the Curran family.

One of my clearest memories of Aisling is of the little beauty with a hairbrush in her hand, out back, singing at the top of her voice. A young, carefree, and happy little lady she surely was. She sang as if no one was listening. But I and many others couldn’t help but hear and it was a sound which always put a smile on our face.

Aisling was a very family orientated young woman. She took time for each of her siblings and both her parents. She spent a lot of time with her grandmother in Muff. Aisling was a very caring and loving person. She was someone who always wore a smile on her face. She would never pass you without speaking. Someone who always left an impression.

Unfortunately Aisling suffered from one of the most common mental health illnesses, depression. It took hold of her and it won. Mental Health is still a taboo subject among many people. But now it’s time to start TALKING and make our young people aware that it is NOT something to be ashamed of, or scared of.  Depression is a very real illness and it needs medical attention. There is help available but people must seek it. The first step is to TALK. As Father Farren said on Monday, ‘it’s vital that you speak to someone’. Be it a parent, a teacher, a friend, or someone at the end of the telephone. TALK is the first step.

This month, May, is Mental Health Awareness month. As part of this, See Change (an alliance of organisations working together through the National Stigma Reduction Partnership to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems) are asking people to wear the green ribbon and support a movement to spark a national conversation about mental health in the workplace, schools, college campuses, clubhouses, arts venues and even around kitchen tables throughout Ireland.  Depression strikes where you least expect it. It has been estimated that one in four of the population is affected by mental health problems at any given time. That is 25% of the population. The Green Ribbon campaign is simply about raising awareness and challenging the stigma of mental health problems.

Father Farren paid a very moving and emotional tribute to Aisling on Monday. He praised her family for the love and care they showed her. He spoke openly on the issue of depression and encouraged people to talk about their mental health.

Aisling was loved by many people. Primarily by her entire family. They were a constant support and treasured every minute of her short life. She was also loved by her many cousins and wider family circle. Her friends and boyfriend adored her. Aisling’s popularity was evident in the number of people who visited her home over the weekend. Family, friends, teachers and neighbours all came together and shared memories and stories of the much loved girl. Petite and beautiful, she really was larger than life.

Unfortunately depression won Aisling’s battle for life. But it is up to the living now to ensure that Aislings death was not in vain. Her memory will be treasured forever.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

Aisling Curran 31.10.89 – 1.5.13 RIP