Miriam turned even the simplest gesture of sending a greeting card into something special,
always taking the time to make individual cards for everyone. Before her death she had hoped
to start her own business, Mimento, producing handmade cards. Her family have taken up this
idea and hope to develop it further. For more information please visit:
All proceeds from the sale of the cards will be donated to the Miriam Hyman Memorial Fund
which is currently supporting the work of ORBIS UK (Charity No. 1061352), a charity which
aims at eliminating avoidable blindness globally, helping people to see clearly again.
Friday, July 07, 2006
One Year On
Gathered friends breathe silent air
Two minutes for our hearts to beat together
Warm winds to gently blow our hair,
Spirit hands that touch and leave a trace
Upon our our lips, as we remember
What words cannot embrace
A year has passed since we were reunited
With you, within these moments
We have travelled far
Reconnect us to your spirit somehow
Return to us in quietness as before
By the souls degree of separation
Your life silence now the cities roar
We wait here for the next communion
Within this hallowed piece of ground
Holding up each other in the sadness
As you would have wanted
You become the stronger spirit, silently
Two minutes and it is unbroken
Though our knowing hearts may disagree
David Cottingham 7th July 2006
I remembered Miriam with a friend today. I had not seen Miriam since the year we all spent in France during university. Despite this, I would like to share with you how I remembered this remarkable individual with my friend because, reading through this website, I am struck by how all who came into contact with her seem to cherish her for the same reason: her kind and loving nature. I remembered that outstanding individual's unaffected hospitality, kindness and generosity of spirit and her simple love of life - it was quite infectious and I think it is largely because of her that we spent those halcyon days together in the South of France.
She truly was one of those rare treasures: genuinely caring and such a positive influence: I am honoured to have known her.
Christine Tadros, London, July 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Reflections - one year on
Ten days ago I was sitting in a cafe in Jerusalem with my friend Aharon Barnea, whose son was killed in the Lebanon. Aharon, a wise, gentle and loving man, active in the Bereaved Families Forum of Israeli and Palestinian parents, was talking to me about a book called Retelling Violent Death. He had recently met the author whose message was that the stories of those who die in violence, such as in the July bombings in London, must be reclaimed and told from the point of view of their lives, not only their deaths, and by those who love and value them.
Like everyone else, I've been very moved by the love that has surrounded Miriam and her memory. When I speak to Mavis, John and Esther, they say that this love comes especially from Miriam's friends. Her friends say that it comes from her parents and her sister. Clearly, both are right. Above all the love comes, even now after her death, from Miriam herself, who had a gift for friendship, for appreciating beauty, for generosity and for life. She loved colour and was an inspired painter. She was happiest when she could bring her different talents together and give the wonderful cards and pictures she created to the people she especially loved.
Unlike everyone else present, I didn't have the privilege of knowing Miriam. But I've learnt about her from her family and from the stirring testaments of friends, written over the past year and recorded on the web-site created in her memory. These are just a few of the words which have spoken to us all:
Esther, you wrote of how Miriam brings out the best in people', adding that you 'use the present tense because she is continuing to bring out the best in people.' How true this is.
Nick and Maryla, Nomi and Jessica, you've told me such lovely things about Miriam and all her family to whom you've always been wonderful neighbours, but especially now.
Judith, you wrote that 'Miriam amassed friends like a magnet'. I've learnt from Mavis and John of how people who'd met Miriam only once came to the house during the year because she made such an unforgettable impact on them. Then you continued, 'A truly successful person is one who cares about how you treat others and how you make them feel about themselves'. This is both an exceptional tribute to Miriam and a remarkable counter-cultural definition of success which the entire world needs to hear.
Keren, you wrote of how Miriam's 'generosity, humility and kindness knew no bounds'. Then you described how you met her at 4.30am on midsummer's day on Primrose Hill and stood together 'waiting for the first sunlight to speak to a sleeping London'. To be a witness to wonder is one of life's greatest privileges, and it's always a testament to a person's spirit that he or she should care about such matters.
Katie reminded us to 'Keep [Miriam's] name alive and use it to make someone else's world better - something [she] would always do'. That's exactly what's being done by her family, friends and colleagues, and also by those who didn't know her in life but have worked to create the book Mimento, the exhibition at City Hall and the trust fund in Miriam's name.
Mavis and John, you've told me many special things about Miriam, how she never took anything for granted, how she would always express her appreciation, how nothing gave her more happiness than to give pleasure to others. This attitude must have originated with you, her mother and father. After all, it isn't every parent who makes sure that the children always have paints and paper available on the table at all times, so that they should never lack the means to be creative.
Among all these heartfelt tributes, something which Katie wrote made a particular connection in my mind. You described Miriam as 'The person who made me see clearly'. I don't know if this was deliberate or not, but your words are almost identical with the definition of the aims of ORBIS UK, the charity under whose auspices the special fund has been established in Miriam's memory. ORBIS is described in Mimento as 'a charity which aims at eliminating avoidable blindness globally, helping people to see clearly again'.
There are many levels to 'seeing clearly' and they're all relevant to Miriam and her memory.
In the first instance, there's the physical sense of sight itself. Miriam appreciated this world, its forms, substances and colours. The luminosity of her paintings draws us into them. She loved wood, silk, sky and sea. She wanted to share this joy with others, especially with those she loved. Hence there could be no better way of fulfilling her aspirations in memory of her than of extending the gift of sight to the blind. I heard from Mavis and John about how the first doctor has already been to London for special training and how much it meant to you to meet him."
Secondly, seeing clearly also refers to our values. Though most of us know at heart what really matters in life, and do see clearly at times, our view is often obstructed by secondary issues, petty concerns and miscellaneous irritations. Daily life is usually like that and we often lose sight of what is truly important. But from what I've learnt about Miriam she had a clear and firm view of what mattered. Her preoccupations were essential and heartfelt, her family, her friends, beauty, wonder and gratitude. To have someone who's regularly able to bring our attention back to what really matters is very special. As Esther said, Miriam will continue to do this even though she's no longer here.
Thirdly, there's a spiritual dimension to seeing clearly. This leads me back to the stirring conversation I had with Mavis and John in this garden just a couple of weeks ago. Your words struck me and moved me and I tried to record them faithfully. 'There's a kind of acceptance which is beyond understanding', you said. 'We can't comprehend suffering; we can't explain it. But we can try to accept it. I believe that beyond everything lies love and compassion. That doesn't help us to understand why Miriam died, for that there can be no explanation. But it does enable us to be more accepting.' You referred several times to love and compassion, then added a reflection about how Miriam herself was always grateful for each day of life she had.
Your words reminded me of an especially challenging phrase in the Talmud. It appears in the context of the Talmud's most comprehensive examination of the meaning of suffering. If no other explanation can be found, the Talmud suggests, then we should consider our pain to be a form of 'the sufferings of love'. The Talmud provides no details of what it means by these words. One interpretation is suggested by the quotation from the Book of Proverbs, 'Whom God loves, God tests'. I find this idea difficult and disturbing, if not cruel. I certainly can't embrace it as an explanation for tragedy.
But there are other explanations and to me the words 'sufferings of love' point to a different kind of challenge. They describe the struggle of trying to turn something inexplicable and hurtful, 'sufferings', into something meaningful and helpful, 'love'. I've often witnessed people doing just that. How they find the strength in their hearts to do good and show compassion in spite of constant and inexpressible pain, I don't understand. Yet again and again people strive to turn their personal tragedies into ways of showing compassion, perhaps because they realise that it's the only worthwhile and creative thing which it's possible to do. Such conduct is completely humbling, and it's here before our eyes.
The pain and sorrow must be immeasurable in the hearts of Miriam's family and friends. But in spite of that, love is being created in Miriam's memory, and love is something Miriam knew especially well how to appreciate and treasure.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Message from Esther
It has taken me a long time to be able to look at this blog. Thank you so much David and Chris. Mim would be proud.
I would like to post the words which I spoke at Mim's funeral:
Miriam brings out the best in people. I use the present tense deliberately because she is continuing to bring out the best in people. The extent to which she is loved is a source of joy to me which will endure after this painful time is over. Thank you for coming here today.
I also wanted to share three photos with you. First ever photo of Mim, one of us together as children, and the last one ever taken of the two of us together.
Thank you to everyone who contributes to this tribute, and thank you for taking the time to look at this.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Our Beautiful Miriam
at Miriam's funeral, July 17th 2005
My life, like many many others, was profoundly touched by Miriam, and sitting here today, who can understand this tragedy. Questions of ‘why’ can not be answered.
Such a good person taken by such evil. The contrast is so blatant. So ironic. Diametrically opposite. Good and evil.
I personally go back with Miriam for over 20 years. Always a constant in my life. Always my support, my friend, my companion. The person who made me see clearly, made me appreciate little things, made me laugh, made me feel special. I will miss her.
Let me share with you some memories – light-hearted perhaps – but something personal that can make us smile and remember who she was. How we laughed in the South of France and ate Strawberry cake with Mavis and John, sunbathing by the pool on holiday getting too brown and laughing at our strap marks. How she always topped up her peppermint tea with a little cold water. Our annual meetings to decide what birthday presents to by give each other followed by a second meeting in which we exchanged them. Numerous new years’ eves laughing and partying but always aware of each others whereabouts, caring where each other was. Smoking the illicit cigarette. Stifling our giggles in the school library trying not to be discovered. Sharing a bed, top to toe at 10 Holyoake Walk. Painting in the sun in the garden with John. Many, many shopping trips. Buying Mavis a treat in the cake shop on our way home. Home made birthday cards for everyone – taking the time and effort – making something so mundane and turning it into something so personal – that was Miriam – she was a giving person and she always made you feel special – her sole focus – caring and supportive.
It is rare to find a friend like that. So much history. But so much joy. Looking back remembering the good times. Remembering the laughter. Such wonderful memories. Let us never forget these times and think how lucky we are to have had them. How her life gave us all such pleasure, how we can remember her wonderful qualities and use them to create a better future. To be positive.
We have the strength to carry on – to look to the future – to create such good out of such evil and wrong doing. Let us keep her name alive and use it to make someone else’s world better – something Miriam would always do. Join me in remembering her and allow yourself to smile at something she said, something she did, and share it so that we may never forget.
Mavis, John and Esther – our thoughts will be with you always.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Miriam – our friend
Miriam’s priorities in life were, quite simply, her family and her friends.
Attentive, loving, loyal, caring to a fault – she was, without a doubt the best friend we could ever wish for and the nicest person we know.
And how many friends!
They say you can count your true friends on one hand. Miriam had close friends outnumbering her fingers and toes. Throughout her short life she amassed friends like a magnet. And she kept them too.
Many of her friends date back from primary school. There are friends from Copthall, Hebrew Classes, university, an A-level revision course in France, Israel Camp, her places of work – Quarto and the BBC, from places she freelanced, and, as was so often the case, the friends-of-friends she embraced on the way. And for those of us with children she was the most doting aunt too. And with each friend the contact was constant and she knew and cared about every detail of our lives.
How can one small, gentle woman extend her touch so far?
She saw the good in everyone and was never afraid to praise people. We will miss her generous words.
In our society today “niceness” is not a virtue often cited. So often we measure success in terms of the career you have, the car you drive, your marital status, the home you own……none of these mattered to Miriam. A truly successful person is one who cares about how you treat others and how you make them feel about themselves. And Miriam achieved this over and over again. Miriam was the highest achiever we know in the most important areas of life and she is a lesson to us all.
Her family and close friends have been overwhelmed by the emotion and love pouring out from all over the world from those touched by this incredible woman.
If there is anything positive to come from this it must be that we all take a bit of Miriam with us along the way. In the days following July 7th her spirit has most certainly been with us. There we were supporting each other and Miriam would certainly be proud of us all.
We don’t know what we will do without her. The enormity of our loss has not sunk in. Miriam, we love and respect you and always will.
Read at Miriam’s funeral by her friend Judith Vandervelde
Eulogy for Miriam
by her friend Keren Querfurth, July 17th 2005
A few weeks ago Miriam emailed to declare that midsummer was approaching, and to celebrate this we should meet on top of Primrose Hill at dawn to watch the sunrise. And this is exactly what we did. At 4.30am on Tuesday 21st June we were on top of the hill, waiting for the first sunlight to speak to a sleeping London. What absolute madness it was to be up there at this time, and what absolute pleasure Miriam derived from it. How we laughed at what we were doing, and how that laughter filled us with life.
Many of us here have taken walks with Miriam on Hampstead Heath, both in winter and in summer. And Miriam’s love for the rural and excitement for adventure was lately on the increase. Frequently she would say ‘If you want to jump in a car and escape for a day to the countryside just give me a shout I’m there”.
In February of this year, the two of us went to Snowdonia in North Wales for a weekend of hiking. The snow, the forceful gales, and the horizontal rain prevented us from reaching the top of Mt. Snowdon, but Mim didn’t half try. Despite visibility of only a few metres, permanently runny noses and already wet tissues, Miriam was more determined than anyone to carry on onwards and upwards. And having seen Snowdon in such weather, Miriam’s conclusion was ‘now that I’ve done this I shall return in the summer when it’ll be a piece of cake’.
Finally, if we were to ask Miriam to make some sense out of the past 10 days I think she would say this – You never know what’s around the corner, and therefore you have to embrace every day. You have to seize the moment.
And if we were to ask her what poem she might read to us, if she were standing here today, I think it may have gone something like this.
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow,
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
That it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort,
Without the trace of a shadow in it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity,
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner.
All is well.
The Miriam Hyman Memorial Fund
Initially the fund will support an ORBIS fellowship.
Visit the Memorial Fund at: http://www.miriam-hyman.com/
Walk for Miriam
On the 23rd June 2006 Steve Tse and his colleagues from Whitewater did a sponsored walk of 16 miles around the Chiltern Hills to raise money for the memorial fund.
"Together we raised over £9,000!!!" writes Steve. "Our target was £7,000, so this is a fantastic achievement... and it's still rising! I'd like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who sponsored me - this event has been very close to my heart and it means so much to me that you took the time to support me, and Whitewater."
A Marathon for you Miriam
I'm running the nyc marathon on November 6th 2005 and raising money for Orbis, in memory of Miriam. (Orbis will, in the first instance, be the charity which benefits from all donations to the Miriam Hyman Memorial Fund.
You can see my page on the Orbis UK website:
It can also be accessed directly from the Orbis UK homepage, and scrolling down: http://www.orbis.org.uk/bins/index.asp
Dedicated to Miriam
I was excitedly on my way to meet Mim for lunch on the day of the bombs and like everyone else, have spent a long time in a state of complete disbelief, shattered and mourning the tragic loss of such a special woman.
On a happier note however, I learnt much from Mim that will stay with me forever and there was always much that inspired me through being with her. Her encouragement in the early stages of writing my second book meant a great deal to me, and so the book is fondly dedicated to her memory and to the wonderful enthusiasm and support that she always showed for everyone else's interests and endeavours.
As Mim was a fond lover of cherries, there are two newly planted cherry trees in the front garden of our new house in the country. They are planted in your honour Mim and their welcome and beautiful blossom will always be a profound reminder of all that you stood for and of what a complete joy you were to be with and to have as a friend.
You will be eternally in my heart and in my fondest, love filled memories. I feel truly honoured and blessed to have had you in my life. Bless you Mim.
Sarah Dixon (nee Hopper)
Other books dedicated to Miriam
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Poem about Miriam
There is at times midday darkness,
In this place here it is dusk, half-light,
Emotions either up or down,
Normality and understanding, foreign times,
Desired yet rejected, embraced yet shunned.
What is to be said of a friend who’s died?
A neighbour, lost from your side?
A beautiful woman, your love for who shall never subside,
Who in a world of boundaries and restrictions,
Remained unique and creative, subservient to no-one,
Because anything that anyone could ask to be done,
She need not be asked to do,
Because anything anyone needed done,
She would have offered to do.
A free spirit,
Very much her own person,
Although remaining loyal and attentive,
Whose smile was always genuine,
And whose all-encompassing laughter could brighten the darkest of days,
Her name inextricably linked with the well-being,
Of anyone she might meet,
Or even those she might never meet.
They are the unlucky ones,
Because even those who barely knew her,
Were so deeply touched by her,
That they somehow knew her,
And she would have known them,
No detail of their life a fragment too small to matter,
Miriam was inquisitive,
But she cared about everyone,
Had a desire to understand and help them.
In this way,
She could never be blinded by prejudice
She may have enjoyed,
But bias and rash judgement,
Would not really touch her,
She was above that,
Unassuming, modest, but never afraid to express her own mind.
Oh how she and her memory,
Are loved and respected,
Her loss so widely mourned,
While her too short life celebrated
In her passing,
Not only a dear friend and neighbour has departed,
But a vital, irreplaceable part of my being is denied,
Miriam signified something I could not put my finger on,
Could ne’er put into words.
And yet in these recent days,
I have acquired so much,
Continuing to realise what she continues to edify,
And an increased intimacy with those others left behind,
But she will never really have left our side,
In a very real way she is now consistently and tirelessly,
Simultaneously, with a great multitude of people,
A blessing to all of us,
And a capability I’m sure she would have embraced in life.
Personne pourrait dire,
Pour quel raison elle était enlevée de nous,
Le motif de ceux qui lui ont volé,
Ne pourrait jamais être expliqué,
Pourtant, il y a des choses,
Lesquels ils ne pourraient jamais enrayer,
Les souvenirs, l’amour, les leçons immortels.
Words could never say how much I miss her,
Could ne’er express the lamentation of her idiosyncrasy,
All she had to do was simply be there,
Her mere presence so precious,
Its meaning indefinable,
The love she embodied inconceivable.
The void she leaves unfathomable
Where there should be anger and pain,
There is only love, longing and pain,
Because aggressive catharsis,
Was not in her nature,
And her gentle yet penetrating influence,
Will not allow it,
Be this impossibly hard,
It is at least something,
I can begin to explain.
Monday, September 19, 2005
A Memorial Plaque
Miriam's image is carved directly into the timber her skin colour the timber itself.... I posted this to Esther a couple of weeks after the tragedy in a hope that she would see that even her friends over the other side of the world were thinking of her and loved her.
Alot of love went into the making of this plaque...And just knowing that it helped Esther even a little bit, was worth every minute spent on it.
This plaque is a Norfolk Pine solid timber canvas, with a Rosewood hand made frame surrounding it. It is coated in a glass resin which will never let her image fade. The image is carved from her photo.
Jane Drage - November 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
In 2005 I planted a cherry tree in Miriam's memory. It was still only a baby then (as it is now!) but it seems to be growing for Britain at the moment and even has a little crop of cherries :-) I thought therefore it was time totake a photo for the website of 'Mim's Tree', planted in her honour and in her loving memory.
Sarah Hopper - June 2006
Friday, September 02, 2005
And spoke of universal suffering,
The lights across the river flickering,
The stars were telling us the truth tonight
And all the world was listening.
You told me of the time you nearly died
And how you felt the world had lied,
The river moving, caste its dappling
Patterns like the clouds, around your eyes
That smiled at me before then vanishing.
Death is not the end of us you said,
Gathered round a table with some friends,
People have their time upon the earth
And when their stories end, their gone.
Your eyes were telling us the truth.
You reappear in guises all around,
Walking on a path or speaking out
Above the crowd, I am still here.
Your sound is lost upon the wind tonight
But loud enough the moon can hear.
My imagination fixes you,
Floating down the river, flowing hair,
Like Ophelia in the moonlight air,
Or sitting at the table over there,
Laughing at some long forgotten mirth.
The story of your life is written now
Your light shone bright for just an hour,
But touched a thousand people here,
As the many points of light upon your path
The stars are telling us the truth tonight.
The Monument of Memory
To see all hope become despair
A satellite can view from space
The distance travelled by our life,
On the earth one moment, then forgot
By gravity and released to god knows where,
We are here yet somehow not,
Shadows caste upon the moving ground
And memories left like treasured gold.
When we look down upon your grave
We see the distance that a soul can make
Between the hard earth and the heart,
For this distance and the time it takes
To know ourselves, what we call a life
Is insubstantial, light as air,
Forged from laughter and despair,
Hope lies somewhere in the memories
Buried, we collective share.
To be valued for this memory,
That we give back to the world,
To be known amongst the living
And be seen for what we are,
Even from a distance, is to leave a trace.
Of all the monuments of history
That so enthral the human race
Your memory shines brighter now
Than these man made landmarks
Briefly glimpsed from space.
I still remember meeting Miriam for the first time at the BBC back in 1997. She was doing the picture research for a book for the series I was working on and she became an instant friend. Her enduring warmth, unquenchable interest in your life and an overwhelming sense of how to make you feel special made me seek her out often, always marveling at her thoughtfulness and generosity. Over the years that passed we shared our interests in science and art, visited galleries and museums, made our friends mutual and saw each other through the ups and downs of life.
Her last text message to me at an airport, before I left on a work trip, wished me luck and looked forward to catching up with me whilst I was away. I texted her back, signing off “take care”. The next time I heard of her she was missing - the news blurted out on a local radio station in the Colorado Mountains. Those snatched syllabus of her name stung deep. Not Miriam. Please, not Miriam. Surely nothing as brutal as a bomb could
touch such a lovely person.
I am still unable to comprehend the truth that this much treasured friend, adored by so many people is gone from our lives. The gaping cavern of grief opens up before all of us who knew and loved her. Her sudden absence haunts our waking hours and stalks our dreams. The grief fogs our thoughts.
Miriam was a tireless campaigner for others less fortunate than her. From raising substantial amounts of money for the charity that supported her friend with Myeloma, to her work to bring a greater understanding between Palestinians and Jews, she never let any spare time pass her by. In her short life she touched more people and was a greater force for good than anyone I've ever known. It makes her pointless death that Thursday all the more tragic. Not only have her many close friends of so many years and her dear family been robbed of shared times still to spend with her, but the many thousands of people she would have gone on to touch in positive ways through her voluntary work have also lost a better future.
If Hasib Hussain, who blew up the bus, had sat down and talked with Miriam he would not have chosen to murder her. He would have had no grudge with her. I feel sure he would have admired her in the way that everyone who met her did. A few moments in her company might have even melted his anger, and diluted the desperation he felt which drove him to try and change things through a random act of violence. But they never met that day their paths crossed on the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square. Close to where Miriam, Hasib and eleven others lost their lives in that usually tranquil square there stands a Holocaust memorial, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, and a cherry tree from Hiroshima. Miriam’s death is one more memorial to the futility of indiscriminate acts of violence against strangers, perpetrated by nations and individuals alike.
We all miss her terribly.
Chris Riley - July 2005