The Day That Went Missing: A Family’s Story by Richard Beard
The Day That Went Missing: A Family Tragedy
Cornwell, 1978: the Beards have rented a summer house by the sea. The brothers are making the most of the break from boarding school, releasing their pent-up energy on the beach. Picnics, cricket and plenty of dipping in the sea.
But when 11-year-old Richard and nine-year-old Nicky decide to chase the waves, tragedy strikes. Only one child returns.
Now, decades later, Richard faces up to the past and wonders why Nicky’s name is never uttered; the accident never mentioned. Examining the events surrounding the drowning, Richard returns to Cornwell and seeks out the small beach where he lost his brother. Memories resurface and facts become all-important to the process of grief.
Unlike the Irish way with death, the British “stiff upper lip” and insistence of “just getting on with it” are obvious in this memoir.
Astonishingly, the family returns to the Cornwell holiday home following Nicky’s burial: “We erased the accident at the beach, and along with the pain we effectively deleted Nicholas Paul Beard the person.”
Nicky is finally assigned a personality; an identity and memories are granted space.