I think it is a better description of Kelly than mine, more rounded. But they knew her longer than I did. I still can't really see past myself when I write about her. I love this:
Kelly was a force of nature. She was touched by fire; she burned with passion. Her passions in life were high-brow: modern art, postmodern literature, esoteric cinema, dirty looks, ladybirds and fancy dress. Her finest costumes included: a ballerina, an iceberg with the Titanic stuck to her head, the Bride of Frankenstein, Auntie Patricia, a Christmas tree, a zombie Maggie Thatcher and a space woman. Indeed, apart from not having children, the great regret of her life was not being the first Irish woman in space.
Kelly was beautiful, despite inheriting the unenviable combination of the Mullan hairiness and a Briney-Kelly nose. She said her nose was like a sundial. She didn’t need a watch. But she was beautiful. She had her father’s gentle soul and her mother’s lateral mind. She blazed a trail for all her siblings -- Brigeen, Stephen, Deirdre and Maureen -- and inspired each of them in every avenue of life. They each owe their vocations to her vision, encouragement and enthusiasms.
Kelly led a blameless life, except when she blamed herself. She was too hard on herself, but from the same source of self-disapproval came her matchless sensitivity and compassion. She was the most forgiving person we know, and she had friends of every political hue, every social stripe, every religious persuasion, every stage of life and every kind of weirdness. Her friend Tori said ‘I’ve never known anyone so widely loved.’ Few of us have.
Kelly had a difficult life at times, particularly in her twenties, with some sadness and ambitions unfulfilled. But she managed to turn her melancholy into poetry, art, wit and the laughter of her friends. Her friends were like family, and her family always friends, and her life devoted to both.
Every sadness changed when Kelly met John. It was more than love. They were sparring partners in endless wit, surreal banter and bad puns. She said on her wedding day ‘I never knew it was possible to be so happy.’ And with John, and all the Higgins’, her life took off. She wrote straight and satirical articles for publication, which received rave reviews. In London, she landed her dream job as a journalist with Disability Now magazine, which allowed her to flaunt her writing flair and demonstrate her never-ending empathy.
Kelly was incredibly brave, and remained afraid of nothing, except moths. And she kept her sense of humour right to the end. After being asleep for a day or so in the hospital, she woke up a little distressed. When a nurse asked her what was wrong, she said ‘just a wee bit of existential angst.’ The nurse said ‘I don’t know what that is.’
So it is for these things we love and remember her: drollery, beauty, compassion. Thank you, Kelly.