Final words of teenager who took his own life inscribed on memorial bench
PUBLISHED: 08:52 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 20 March 2019
The final words of a teenager who took his own life have been inscribed on a memorial bench placed in his memory.
Claudiu Cristea, 18, of Yarmouth Road, Norwich, died after drowning in the river near his home at Whitlingham Country Park on September 16, 2018. He was found by his father Marian Cristea and his second cousin Olimpiu Simion after the family found a note written by Claudiu in which said he wished to be with God.
The family were devastated to learn Claudiu had been watching videos online which promoted suicide.
To keep his memory alive, the family have installed a bench by the river where he was found, with the words “Life is a journey and mine ends here” inscribed on the plaque - the opening line of the letter he left for his family before he disappeared.
The family sought permission from the Broads Authority to place the oak bench by the riverside, which was installed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust on Tuesday, March 19.
“We come here just to be with him,” said Monica Cristea, Claudiu’s 12-year-old sister. “He loved to see the river, he liked this spot.”
When asked what the bench meant to him, Claudiu’s father, Marian, said: “It is like he will come to me.”
A Broads Authority spokesman said benches are popular memorials in the Broads, adding: “They are often stationed in a location which the individual felt a connection to and provide a reminder to others that our landscapes are shared and loved by many.
“The thoughts of the Broads Authority are with the family of Claudiu Cristea as they remember their loved one.”
In Romanian tradition, families commemorate deceased loved ones through mass, called a requiem, at different occasions after their death.
But once the family learned of traditions in the UK and the meaning behind memorial benches, they decided to dedicate a bench to honour Claudiu in his “favourite country”.
“We thought it was such a nice thing to do, to have a resting place for somebody,” said Mrs Simion.
“We can’t really go back to how we were but we will celebrate his life.”
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