Memorials To The Lost

 

2-3There are statues to many great women and men, and as has been evident this year, also a proliferation of statues to dictators.

When service people die, flags fly at half mast, but tell me, where are the memorials to those who die by their own hand?

Do we take a book; a piece of jewellery, a shared joke or story of theirs and place it in a circle?

Where does our pain sit, internally or externally? Where does it live in the living, left? There must be some kind of ritual to mark the passing of someone we love that eschews cheap sentiment or cliché: Christ knows, they abhorred those things. They deserve more.

They didn’t commit a murder; they ‘committed suicide’. I despise this term. It’s so ugly, so reductive,  accusatory.

Someone I loved who took his life was born in June and died in July. Even as I type this two years later,still I cannot reckon with the cyclical nature of his life and death dates.

The places we used to drink in sit boarded up, like even they have given up. Posters peel on billboards, curling up as though they are ashamed to advertise passe shows (three stars from Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman: ‘Fierce but inconsequential’, she’d said).

Your smile too will fade, but I don’t want that. Those eyes, twinkling with mischief, that drew me in and pinned me to your bed, I will never look into again.

I curled a finger around a dark curl on your head; now only photographs of you remain and they, too, will fade.

This can’t be enough. How do I create a memorial to you to keep you around?

Memories can be sharp, accompanied by a shudder. Sometimes they are as hazy and nebulous as a passing cloud.

How do I forever pin down the essence of you? How to capture your filthy laugh, your cringe -worthy puns? How do I memorialise your open but troubled heart?

You would have turned forty next year. I can almost hear your moans about that. But I don’t, and that is the worst part.

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