real life

Tom Meagher's devastating tribute to Jill on what would have been their 10th wedding anniversary.


Saturday would have been Jill Meagher’s  wedding anniversary – ten years married to her devoted husband, Tom.

In a Facebook post shared over the weekend, the Irish man recalled fumbling with his tie that morning, pondering “the seemingly endless stretch of time we would have together. I imagined our future experiences and all of the unpredictable, ridiculous moments that would make up our shared existence,” he wrote.

“I day-dreamed about what we will be doing in five years, in ten years, in twenty or thirty years.”

But the pair never made it to five years.

The 29-year-old Irish woman was raped and murdered while walking home from work drinks at a Melbourne pub in September, 2012. Her killer, serial sex offender Adrian Bayley, was on parole when he stopped her in front of dress shop in East Brunswick, just 450 metres from her home.

It was a crime that attracted nationwide coverage and nationwide outrage.

Two days after the discovery of her body in a shallow grave in Gisborne South, 30,000 people marched down Sydney Road in her memory. By June 2013, Victorian parole law had been overhauled; a change that would form part of Jill’s tragic legacy.

Yet though his wife’s name is sill written and spoken six years on, for Tom Meagher, it’s in the private, quiet moments that he remembers her the most.

Jill Meagher was killed in Melbourne in 2012. Image via social media.

In his Facebook post, the grieving husband wrote of visiting the Wicklow Mountains where they wed.

There, Tom wrote that he hears Jill speak to him, through the woods, through the people she loved and who loved her, through those who live their lives in the same manner she did: "full of love, compassion, laughter and a force and energy that was literally breathtaking".

"The arsehole that took her from this world communicates with us through violence, misogyny, hatred and death. His pallid shadow can never extinguish her light," Tom wrote.

The mere fact that the two - Jill and her killer - existed at the same time, in the same place, Tom wrote, feels like an classical tragedy played out in real life; a tale of good versus evil.

"But it's the gaping spectrum in between those two opposing ways of living that chills me more than the red-faced, steroid-riddled, dead-eyed individual misogynistic rage of the man who killed her," he wrote.


To him, in that gaping spectrum lies the everyday gendered violence that tends to avoid the headlines (or should that be that the headlines tend to avoid?).

"It's the many silent foot soldiers, supporters, cheerleaders, beneficiaries and bloated, self-righteous guardians of male supremacy who vocally claim to despise the extremist wing [of violence against women] while essentially supporting the underlying ideology that chills my blood," he wrote.

"I can hold the polarities of Jill and Bayley in my mind, as light and darkness, as good and evil. It's the deliberately inscrutable, seemingly unreachable void that exists in between to prop up that darkness that keeps me awake at night."

As he battles with this injustice, it's Jill that help him overcome.

"I carry the scars of Jill's death because that's how I remember to carry her light inside me," he wrote. "Those scars are what connect me and her, they are what teach me, what give me strength, what allow me to hold the confusing mishmash of emotional chaos together and survive, not without her, but with her loving guidance and formidable strength."

For that, to her he wrote this final message:

"Thank you for consistently and persistently teaching me how to live, how to think, how to embrace love wholly, and to bear witness to the fire you lit in me and so many others in your short time on this earth," he concluded.

"You are loved at every moment of every day."