Thursday, June 4, 2020

the last book I ever read (Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, excerpt seventeen)

from Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe:

The McConvilles found some solace in other families whose loved ones had disappeared. Several of the families would convene at a “cross-community” trauma center called Wave, which became a source of support for the relatives of the disappeared. Some had been through indescribable anguish. After Kevin McKee disappeared, his mother, Maria, went slightly mad. Some nights, she would roust her other children from bed and bundle them into their coats, insisting that they head out into the city on fruitless searches. She would accost neighbors, pounding on their front doors, shouting, “Where’s my son? What have you done with Kevin?” Other nights, she would prepare a plate of food and tell her children, “Put that in the hot press to keep it warm for Kevin,” as if he had just stepped out to run an errand.

After a gun was discovered on a police raid of the McKee house, Maria ended up getting arrested and spending months at Armagh jail, where she happened to overlap with the Price sisters. She allowed Dolours Price to do her hair, unaware that this was the woman who had driven her son across the border to be shot. When Eamon Molloy’s body was recovered, Maria McKee attended the funeral and experienced the blissful delusion that she was burying her own son. But they still had not found Kevin when she died. Maria’s extended family kept the memory of him alive by naming children Kevin. Sons. Cousins. Nephews. Whenever a baby boy was born, it seemed, they’d call him Kevin.

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