Northwestern University Editorial

Circa 1992

            As bulldozers and cranes tore up the grass and lay  bare an open wound of soil and  stone, I paused to wonder if  they realized what they were doing.  Granted, they were contracted to fix pipes  in the cooling  reservior, but to  get to them, they  had  to  dig  through  the  jetty  that  surrounded the lakefill.   Those  massive  stones  that protected the lagoon from the surrounding  Lake Michigan were  a place to  sit and read in the summer and a melancholy walk in the winter.   The rocks were of  all sizes and  shapes and the  myriad of color from the outlying grafitti only added character.  The writing was of  poetry and  cries to  the world  and occasionally one could   find      an                    epitaph.    When   the   Machines  carved

indifferently  through  the  seawall,  the  little   markers, signifying each resting place was dumped unceremoniously in a giant heap.

            Memories though never lost  in the mind, were  forgotten in the dirt.  This was the destruction of a cemetary, yet the could not  know that  they were  desecrating a  grave for the bodily remains of the  dead resided elsewhere.  They  had not been moved to a new plot of land, nor have they  mysteriously vanished by any means.  These are the suicide victims at  the lakefill.

            It was  a cold  winter day  in 1989  that I  was walking lonely  on  the  jetty.   The  snow  had fallen into the many crevices among the rocks at the water’s edge, and though  ice had  glazed  over  the  rough  surfaces, the painted messages people leave on these slabs were still legible pronouncements love and despair.  Many of the words seemed too contrived and sensationalistic to be real, that  is, I came upon the  black stone.   Many  may  remember  this  rectangular  stone  which resembled  nothing  more  than  a  fallen  monolith of ebony. painted upon  its almost  smooth surface  were boldly written words of hopelessness.  Perhaps that the words were  obscured in a foreign language made  the meaning even more clear,  for although  they  were  written  in  some slavic tongue, a lone bunch of flowers wrapped in tissue placed on its surface said everything.  This had been a real person, someone special  to someone else.  Why he had killed himself I cannot say, but  I have never seen more anguish than that wilted flower upon the cold hard stone.  I cannot but share in the saddness in  this death  nor  cannot  help  but  share  in  the  grief of those surviving, and  now it  is gone,  lost in  a project  for the living.