It was 1994 and I had made the move from my university town of Birmingham to start a graduate traineeship in the fashion hub of Broadwick Street, London.
1994 was the year that the English Channel finally opened up between the UK and France, Beanie Baby mania had taken off, we were rushing to the movies to watch Forrest Gump and the ice skating world was rocked at Tonya Harding’s attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
1994 was the year we sang along to Alanis Morissette, D:Ream and Ace of Base and mourned the loss of Kurt Cobain.
1994 was also the year I met Siobhan and her brother Ged.
Siobhan and I connected immediately as nervous 21 year olds, living away from home starting out in our first proper jobs. The similarity in our upbringing (both from the north of England – I was from Leeds and Siobhan from Liverpool) and our mutual love of music, learning, fashion and good times certainly helped. Our friendship deepened when we decided to share a unit in Putney and with this began the endless late night chats philosophising about work, love and the meaning of life over cheap bottles of wine, spaghetti bolognese and too many debates over which band was better – Shed Seven, Oasis or Travis.
Ged was Siobhan’s big brother and a regular weekend visitor. From the moment I met Ged, his deep love for his family and their well-being was insane.
This family was like no other I had met. Siobhan, her sister, Ged and mum were deeply connected. They shared everything. They were always there for each other – teaching, listening, caring, laughing, inspiring and encouraging. Every single one of them had each other’s back – always. And wow they knew how to enjoy life!
And if you were lucky enough to be a friend of theirs, you were always welcomed with open arms.
I can still remember spending a long weekend in Liverpool, being shown all the famous and not so famous tourist spots. Our night dancing away at the infamous Cabin and, let’s be honest, the sore head the next morning is one Jason (hubby) and I will never forget!
The tyranny of distance has never mattered to our friendship. Just before Christmas, Siobhan face-timed me whilst out for dinner and we laughed and giggled about good-times and the work challenges we were now facing.
Ged and Siobhan, through their own behaviours taught me so much:
- The power of unconditional love and support
- Embracing the joy of now and of life
- The impact we can all have on others by being the best version of who we are.
Ged taught me that I mattered; that other people matter. He showed through his actions and behaviours how you can create one small ripple that can lead to many others down the line.
But here’s the thing – at the time, all those years ago between 1994 and 2000, I didn’t really appreciate these teachings – we were simply hanging out as mates, enjoying life.
Why is it only with the passing of time, when you reflect on the people that have made an impact in your world, do you begin to remember the moments, times, actions and behaviours that mattered?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had the ability to thank people for their impact in the moment? I wonder what ripples of change this would make.
As Victor Webster said, “Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side.”
Sadly, a few weeks ago, Ged lost his life at the age of 49 leaving a massive hole in so many hearts – his young family, his sisters, his mum and all the way to the other side of the world, here in my family home in Manly, Sydney.
As my husband, Jason said, “this news took the air out of my lungs and the joy out of my heart.”
This blog is in memory of one remarkable human being whose life was cut was short but whose impact, leadership and love will continue to impact to all those he came into contact with – all around the world.
Ged, your ripple certainly created a wave for me. Thank you, Ged, for the memories, your friendship, giggles and all the hugs.
You were and always will be very much loved.
Rest in peace my friend.