My little sister, Kim died on the 7th of December 1999. After seeing her lifeless, it became so clear to me that our bodies are nothing but shells. The essence, the person, the spirit, of my sister had gone; so when my father applied to have a plaque established at the place where she fell at Puppy’s Point, Norfolk Island, I can honestly say that I didn’t understand why.
For me Kim was exactly where her grave head stated – ‘safe in the arms of Jesus’. I didn’t understand why a monument, however small, was important. She was no longer at the place where she fell, so why mark that spot?
I have never found comfort in visiting grave sites. I prefer to recall the memories of loved ones who have passed in other ways. But even though I didn’t understand my father’s motivation, I still supported him in his desire to see the monument established – for no other reason than because it fulfilled something within him.
Unfortunately my father was never able to establish this monument to my sister. Each one of his requests was denied by the Norfolk Island governing body, and he also passed away last year.
Then, about six months ago on a visit to Townsville, my son, Tully and I came across the World War Two memorials on the Strand. My son was enthralled. He had me read aloud to him the details of the Battle of the Coral Sea, and he walked wall after wall of names to find his great Uncles who had served. His interest piqued again and again with each new section we discovered.
His reaction was testimony to me that memorials are important. They are put in place for the living, not the dead. They are established so we can remember; share the stories of our past; and leave legacies of knowledge for future generations. A memorial is an unspoken communication, a loving gift to the one who has passed, and a loving reminder of the life we all have.
I have submitted a renewed request to the Norfolk Island Government that our family be allowed to place a small plaque at the spot where Kim fell. I am asking you to please help me in this request by leaving a small comment of support to this post.
Monuments are important – a vital part of the history of an area, and stories that need to be told.