A celebration of a life well lived, one thing is universal, life is not a dress rehearsal – Liam Rudden

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One of the most cheerful people you could meet, she celebrated her 80th birthday with the same energy with which most of us celebrate our 18, 21 or 40 years…

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Thanks to Covid, it has been two years since I last saw her, and last week she suddenly left us after a short illness. It was unexpected, because just three days earlier, Eileen had shared plans for a return visit to Scotland – Aunt Eileen, a native of Dublin, has always been a traveler.

Liam Rudden with his godmother, Aunt Eileen Kerr

The last time we went to the theater, we took a selfie together, her first selfie. Looking at this on my phone as I was heading to the airport for an early morning flight on Monday, I found it hard to believe she was gone.

After more than two years without traveling outside the country, the journey was surreal, as if the last two years had not happened, as if the world had suddenly descended from forced normality to the coronavirus.

That sense of familiarity carried over into Edinburgh Airport, which didn’t disappoint – there was a familiar security bottleneck and a 45 minute wait, hundreds of us huddled in the hall waiting for our turn to be scanned while Fast Track and Family/Assist lanes. occupying too much of the hall remained rather deserted. Some things never change.

There was also the odd consolation of reboarding a flight, which I didn’t envision until 2023 at the earliest.

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Cousins ​​from all over the world, Ireland, Scotland, England and Holland, came to the funeral the next day, united in grief and in celebration of our pioneering mother, godmother and aunt, a role model for today, not to mention her own time.

We’ve practically been joined by families around the world through the wonders of streaming, one of the positive things about lockdown.

Later, as we chatted at the wake, my thoughts turned to the fact that Aunt Eileen was the last of a generation… now it’s our turn. How did it happen? It seems like yesterday my older cousins ​​introduced me to bands like Steeleye Span, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull.

With a 10 year difference between us, they were the trendy guys I looked up to. When one of them reminded us that he is now 67 years old, everyone was dumbfounded. You couldn’t tell. My generation seems much “younger” than the ones that came before. Old people looked like, well, “old” when we were kids. We certainly don’t… or do we?

Maybe we subconsciously turn a blind eye to this, and today’s teenagers see exactly the same “old man” when they look at us that we saw before. A puzzling thought.

For me, going “home,” as my mom always called a visit to Dublin, reinforced that life is not a dress rehearsal, so grab every day, impress, and surround yourself with people you care about.

Then, as was the case with Aunt Eileen, when the time comes to say goodbye, there will be a celebration of a life well lived amid the grief. This was taught to me by my caring, enterprising and cheerful godmother.

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