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Rowan's Tribute to Aidan

February 19, 2006

Growing up ….Aidy was my best friend, my protector and my soul mate…...

We shared laughter, adventure, silly games and sisterhood.

She was my partner to go exploring up the creek with, to run around in towels draped like the capes of prince and princesses, to play for hours making miniature fantasy worlds out of Lego, to wake together in a tent to the sound of my dad whistling and a fresh brewed cup of tea, to get light headed and dizzy with hanging our heads down from the loft of the old VW Van, chatting with our parents as we all fell asleep, hopefully to the sound of rain on the roof. She was my dance partner, my many things partner.

She was my partner in life; we shared a sisterhood, the same belief in the beauty of the world, the same sense of wonder, the same excitement for adventure.

Aidan and I both loved to be active and we both loved to love. We did it really well with each other.

I watched my sister grow into an incredibly strong and beautiful woman and was amazed by her grace and talent. I was very, very proud of her. And I always wanted more.

I would like to thank my parents for being incredible parents. If Aidan was here she would say the same thing. We talked about it many times, how supportive and wonderful they are. They introduced us to life and they gave us our wings.

So I wish I could hug Aidan again. I wish I could braid her hair. I wish we could cuddle and talk as sisters do.

But she is with me… and you... and I have found her already in the rocks and the sun and snow…and will continue to find her peace and beauty in life.

With much love and humour … Rowan prefaced her tribute by reading the Eulogy that Aidan had written as an anthropology assignment. Rowan was meant to deliver it in August 2081 …. Here are Aidan's words …


Today, as I remember the person I call my sister a warm love envelops me.

Aidan was my sister, but she was also my friend. My memories of her reflect her passion for life and her willingness to share her love with others.

She was an independent person who valued her internal sense of peace. She breathed in wild places.

Alpine flowers, the sound of the wind in the trees and the smell of a pine forest were some of her favorite feelings. Climbing and skiing were physical passions that enabled her to interact with these spaces.

If you asked Aidan what her ideal moments were she would have told you- When I'm physically active and my mind and body come together so that I think of nothing other than the moment or when I am curled up in someone’s arms and I feel taken over by love.

As much as Aidan loved natural spaces she also had great compassion and affection for other individuals. Always trying to understand what drives people, she supported those around her with consideration and empathy. Aidan believed that her ability to interact with the natural world through activities such as climbing and hiking defined her. She also believed that relationships with others where central to the development of self.

In an attempt to combine these ideas Aidan aimed at increasing other people's opportunities through the development of outdoor education programs. Aidan would relate stories of the exhaustion and elation of inner-city kids reaching an alpine summit or the first time a group of high school students heard natural silence and saw the Milky Way. Her ability to facilitate and experience these moments gave her so much joy.

When Aidan died she was doing what she loved. When we remember her we can laugh, wish on a star, or find happiness in the smell of freshly cut grass.

As she felt connected to the stone beneath her hands when she was rock climbing, we can feel connected to her through that same stone.

For her 18th birthday our mother gave Aidan a book. It was The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. She would often pull it out when she was searching for expression or meaning at an emotional time. Recently I pulled it off the shelf and found these words. I think Aidan would have liked the way it talks about death.

On Death

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Rowans Eulogy
Graphic by Emily