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Dublin: 17°C Thursday 19 May 2022

'Happy moments we've shared have almost melted like snow' - brother's touching tribute to missing sister

His poem was read as part of national Missing Persons Day.

FAMILIES AND FRIENDS of people who have gone missing gathered with State officials at Farmleigh in Dublin’s Phoenix Park yesterday to mark the third annual national Missing Persons Day.

Many spoke about the pain and heartache they had suffered in the years – in some cases, decades – since their loved one disappeared.

One of the speakers was Tom Brown, whose sister Ellen Coss Brown went missing in November 1999.

Tom read a poem he had written about Ellen, apologising in advance to anyone who might be upset by its contents…

The poem is entitled Missing Since Forever, Worst Case Scenario. It details the pain and confusion Tom felt at not knowing what happened to his sister.

The poem begins and ends with the same words:

You’ve been missing since forever or at least that’s how it seems and that’s what I feel like replying when someone asks when you were last seen.”
Instead I just the give the standard answer — to the best of my knowledge, last seen for definite on such a date, the date that has now replaced your birthday, your first day of school, your first romance, your first job, etc., etc., has now become the date that we live to hate.”

Ellen Coss Brown was last seen on 3 November 1999 boarding a train in Manchester to take her to Holyhead. It is believed that she had intended to travel to Dublin from Wales by boat.

Ellen Coss Brown Ellen Coss Brown Source: Garda Press Office

She had been living in Ballyfermot in Dublin and had been visiting her sister in Manchester when she went missing.

Throughout his poem, Tom details the burden of not knowing what has happened:

Sometimes I can almost convince myself that you either started a new life and are happy where you are, or that you just had a fall, took your own life and that someday your body will be found.”
For even when a body is found… you’re left with more questions than answers – like was it something I said or didn’t that made them decide to go away?”

Tom’s poem got a huge round of applause from the gathered crowd.

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This week, TheJournal.ie has been running a series on missing persons in Ireland.

Over 9,000 missing persons reports were made last year in Ireland last year alone, with an average of one person being reported missing every hour of every day.

Speaking at the event yesterday, justice minister Frances Fitzgerald said that the day marked “a very special, a very difficult, a very important day”.


Read: The mystery behind the unidentified remains in Ireland’s morgues

Read: 20 years ago, a woman’s body washed up in Wexford – we still don’t know who she is

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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