What do all humans want more than anything? Immortality, exactly. Of course, we won't ever achieve that (except maybe if science make some hug strides). But how else can immortality be achieved? Constant remembrance burning a hole in the collective memory. Does it need to be by someone we know? Not always — anyone will do.
Enter Ann Kear. After her brother died, some mystery person paid respects to his grave, by placing flowers and poems by the headstone. Year after year. She never knew who it was, until one day she did some digging. Not grave digging — regular metaphorical digging.
He died by drowning at Oxwich Bay near Swansea in August — the height of the summer season. Time Magazine called Oxwich, only recently, the "Most Beautiful Beach in England." Well, on that day, it was an ugly monster the stole a child's life.
Ronald Seymour-Westborough turned out to be that mystery man. Ronald and Karl had been dear, dear friends, both scouts on the same trip. They had shared a tent the night that Karl died. They were thick as thieves. Ronald was devastated when Sharp drowned.
In fact, Ronald was the one to find Sharp. He was face down in the bay when Ronald came around. No doubt the scene was terrifying and left an indelible mark on good old Ronald. He would pay respects to his dear friend starting at 18 — when he became a man in the eyes of the law.
Ronald had no idea that Ann had been looking for him. In fact, he had no idea that Karl had a sister. Interesting that, they being best friends, that never came up in conversation. Maybe guys don't talk about that kind of stuff in the Scouts. Who knows?
Back in 2015, Ann had issued a plea for whomever was paying respects to the grave step forward and identify themselves. During Christmas, she would find the mystery stranger had placed a sprig of holly, a rod of corn wrapped in a sheath, some lines from poetry. It was all very mysterious, all very enticing.
She resorted to leaving a laminated note at Karl's grave, requesting the person come forward. She wanted to be able to remember her brother with this person who seemed to know him. But the laminated note went unsigned for so long...
But then why does Ronald maintain that he had no idea Ann was trying to get in touch with him? Did he not see the laminated note in the two years it took the two to finally meet? Does this really add up?
Well, whatever actually happened that night some 70 years ago, Ann Kear seems to be delighted to have found her brother's mystery mourner. Perhaps this gives her some comfort. Perhaps it makes death less confusing. As long as she's happy...
But still, it makes you wonder what actually happened that night in August on the bay. Why did Ronald claim he didn't know Karl had a sister? If they were best friends, did he not want to attend the funeral? If his flower giving had been so consistent, did he not see the laminated note? Death does strange things to people — maybe these inconsistencies are just some of them.