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Arriving in wet dark Galway later than planned, I dashed to the site of the vigil. Three women remained, conversing quietly, re-arraigning flowers, and lighting extinguished candles. After lighting my candle with the flame of another, I set it among the objects of this provisional memorial: tea lights, pale pillars, votive candles in glass jars and paper cups, and tapers already low, their shapes dissolving into clutching fists of wax. Glass, flame, wax: these are signifiers of ritual. I was struck by the variance of these remnants of collective action, the explicit evidence of an assembly of individuals driven by the need to assertively remember where some would prefer to forget, in an unequivocal return to the status quo. RIP Savita Halappanavar.


“The misfortune of Savita and Praveen Halappanavar was to walk unknowingly into Ireland’s grey zone of hidden realities, unspoken truths and linguistic evasions. Had they grown up here, they might have been more alert to the way we do things here, our charming insistence on wrapping even matters of life and death in convoluted equivocations and rich ambiguities. But even then they could scarcely have imagined that one society’s self-regarding games could have such barbaric consequences.” - Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times


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