This weekend saw the first anniversary of Misho's passing. It hardly seems possible. He still seems so close, as if any moment he could walk in or be seen at the bus stop or the cinema. And close in some other, less easy to define way, as if he really is still around but just outside our limited means of perceiving.
Much has happened. Misho's flat in Moseley has a new tenant. A new academic year at Brasshouse. Friends coming and going. But people remember Misho and talk about him still. Here are some things people have said this weekend.
From G in Italy:
Today is a special day, I know! Birmingham, 16th September 2011, at 7. 5! I cannot forget!
This is the reason why I got up at 6.30 ad I was able to sit down just now: I heard Him coming in. And, as soon as I got up, I need to take the pebbles I picked with him, in Wales, some years ago (2000?) .
We went there with Margaret, by car. And, while we were moving from one place to another, we stopped in Barmouth, on the coast of North Wales.
Eunice parked her car just in front of the sea - she knew that Misho and I would enjoy very much the sea - so, she waited in the car while Misho and I went on to the beach. It was very windy and sand was blown into our faces!
But we were very excited because in different ways, the sight of the sea reminded us of our home lands. It was very touching. We collected shells and pebbles on the beach, while the seagulls were squealing in the sky.
Shortly after we realized that the tide had come in and covered the rocks that we had walked across to get to the shingle beach. Therefore we were cut off and had to take off our shoes and socks to paddle to the mainland. Unforgettable day, indeed!
From B in Coventry:
His open heart touched and inspired me with my writing.
From R in Birmingham:
I've lit a candle for him and said Kaddish.
From A in Switzerland:
Ja mu palim svecu danas. [I lit a candle for him today]
From J and L in Solihull:
Happy memories of dear Miso!
From M in Birmingham:
A special day to remember the pain but also the joy.
And what I realise through all of this is that the support that surrounded Misho during his years in Birmingham and especially towards the end is still there, still ongoing, as much his gift to us as anything we may have done for him. And those little candle flames that meant so much to him while he was alive are filled with meaning for us now, too.