TV cameras, radio and newspaper interviews, I've done them all in trying to highlight the need for new information to locate my Brother’s body. I never thought I'd say putting pen to paper and writing about it would prove the toughest of all. I don't think I'm alone in saying that if we feel or think something in our mind it can be a hectic task to then put those thoughts and emotions onto paper.
As each year passes from one to the next at times such as Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day or Father's Day I spare a thought for the people who aren't with us on those occasions, as do many people. Most of us find sanctuary, peace and comfort at the graves of those loved ones or perhaps in the thought of knowing they are at peace.
It has been 43 years since I last seen my brother in Moyard of West Belfast, a place that was home; a difficult time in a difficult place for us all. My Brother’s name was Kevin McKee, 16 years old at the time we last saw him. Unfortunately, we are not sure if Kevin lived to see his 17th birthday.
For 21 years we thought we would see our Kevin again. We thought he would just appear at the door but horribly we learned that in 1999 Kevin, our brother, was dead within months if not weeks of being taken away from us in 1972. The shock, the anger, the sadness, the hurt was unbelievably unbearable for us. But for my mother it was a fate worse than death. You see, my siblings and I had married and had children. My mother however clung to the hope of Kevin walking in the door one day. For 27 years she waited on him with hope and intensity only to find out one day that he was dead long, long ago. I remember the day we found out. She lost that little twinkle in her eye. She lost control of the hope that she so desperately clung to for 27 years. At this point she never recovered.
We believed our Kevin would be returned to us. When the first search began, my mother, with a heavy heart and a sore mind, held on to at least the prospect of Kevin being laid to rest back home where he belonged. To our shock and despair Kevin was not found and the search called off. This finished off the little bit my mother had left in her fight and in her spirit. Sixteen years after the announcement that our Kevin was in an unmarked grave, and numerous searches later, he is still not home. It was with deep heartbreak and regret that our Mother lost her battle with cancer in 2012 and did not see her son come home alive or dead 40 years after she last seen her 16 year old son.
For 27 years she thought she would see him at the door one day. For 13 years she thought she would lay him to rest. But for 40 years she hoped that Kevin would come home dead or alive. It wasn't to be.
Now we as a family, without our Mother by our side, carry the hope within ourselves that Kevin will come home. It hurts us to know that our mother wasn't given this act of compassion and humanity in her days in which she struggled so hard to cope. This from me is my personal plea to all Republicans across the spectrum to help us end this long torturous journey. We want nothing more or nothing less than for our brother Kevin to be buried beside our mother. Please contact the agency below in a confidential matter if you can help us in our pursuit. We are not the only family suffering. There are unfortunately more in our situation.
If you have any information about the location of the remains of any of the disappeared then please contact the organisation below or by any other means necessary.
- Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains - Confidential Telephone Britain and Ireland: 00800 - 55585500 - International +353 1 602 8655 - Media Telephone: 0044 7771 642348
- Write to us @ Confidential Post Box, ICLVR, PO BOX 10827, Dublin 2, Ireland