In a pretty, little park near where I live sit several memorial benches, brass plaques affixed carrying messages in memory of those to whom they are dedicated. Like many people, I suspect, passing these kinds of tributes, I often take little notice of the messages attached to them, eager to move along with my day. As I was seeking out a subject for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge (Beloved) however, I was motivated to pause and observe things more closely. I brushed newly fallen snow from one of the bench markers and read the inscribed name and a quote chosen by someone who obviously had dearly loved the deceased. I then noticed sadly how young the named woman was when she had died in 2002. Curious, I looked later to see if there was any information about her, and indeed there was.
From a local family, she had gone to attend university in Philadelphia. There she fell in love. Her DJ boyfriend, who had served several years in prison, was from a very different walk of life but she was smitten. They were engaged within months and she was planning on returning home shortly to introduce her fiancé to family and friends. She never got the chance. Four days after their engagement the couple was gunned down, following a fight between her fiancé and acquaintances.
It’s an anguishing story and left me deeply reflective, contemplating the devastation the loving family here must have felt, and how often I must have walked by that bench never knowing.
Written on the plaque:
You’re my one and only you.
Words of remembrance for one taken far, far too soon and violently.