– A farewell note for our Friend Martin Moylan –

By Marcin Malek

There is an old Latin proverb: “Vivit post funera virtus,” which translates to “Virtue lives after death.” This saying expresses the belief that though a person’s body dies, their virtues and values remain alive in the memory of others. It is an undeniable truth about our spiritual state, but the most intriguing aspect of this posthumous reflection is what is not immediately visible or audible—the process by which people come to remember and speak of these virtues, the process that ensures, as the proverb states, these virtues continue to live, even though the person to whom they are attributed is already far away.

Often, and I would even say more than often, in the clamor of everyday life, in the flood of events and facts that seem so important to us that every sparkling thought in our heads is postponed for later, every impulse of conscience stifled as unimportant or something that can wait, often in this chaos we lose sight of those who, through their lives, deeds, and mere presence, build brick by brick the foundation of virtues we will one day remember.

In this way, through understanding and reflection on this Latin proverb, we can perceive the depth of human existence and the value of those who, although they have already departed, have left an indelible mark. Just as a quiet, unassuming stream, which despite its secrecy, continuously carves the landscape, so too the virtues of remarkable individuals, though often invisible, shape our world, giving it a lasting and enduring meaning.

Some of you may think that my use of the adjective “remarkable” is merely an illustration for this farewell, but our friend Martin Moylan was indeed an exceptional person, standing out among his peers and the archery community in Ireland and beyond.

I remember when I met him for the first time; he struck me as extraordinarily friendly and open. Over the years, as we got to know each other better and I learned more about him, a conviction grew within me—a kind of mixture of admiration, awe, and something else, which I only defined when our editorial colleague Andrew Wayland delivered the sad news that Martin had crossed the threshold of death.

Time, my dear friends, is not merely a measurable unit of our lives. Time is our most powerful, relentless, and cruel adversary that we must face throughout our existence. Often, we forget this, trivializing its significance. Time is a rushing river that sweeps away everything in its course—love, passions, worries, joys, sorrows, hatred, and both trivial and monumental matters dissolve under its influence and in its whirlpool. And we, small beings in the face of this power, this cruel force, deceive ourselves that we control it and can freely manage it. Nothing could be more illusory.

Martin knew how to confront it; he was courageous in its face and prudent in its unpredictability. This is not easy, my friends, and not everyone can work against time. Last year, during the IFAF championships organized by his beloved Dunbrody club, my son Jan fell, and his bow broke. He couldn’t continue but stayed with me as a companion so I could finish shooting. When Martin found out, without telling anyone, he and Mark Daily found a piece of PVC pipe, heated it slightly to shape it, cut nocks at the ends, and strung it, creating a small replacement bow for Jan so that the boy could finish the competition. This seemingly insignificant and ephemeral example, in fact, illustrates and characterizes everything that Martin was. He knew how to oppose the onslaught of passing time; his kindness was a counterpoint to the clamor of everyday life. A manifestation of what is best and most valuable in people. Martin saw people beyond the confines of time, beyond the general definition that its passage gives us. In this sense, Martin was not only kind but, above all, he restored hope, he could be its ray, passing its glow and warmth to those he met on his path.

Just a few days ago, I thought of reaching out to him, to write or call to ask how he was doing, how he was faring. Unfortunately, the clamor of everyday life and the rush of events made me postpone contact. Like all of us, I underestimated the significance of the passage of time, not seeing it as the ultimate enemy but merely a unit of measure. Oh, how wrong I was in my assumption. I am now overwhelmed with a terrible sense of loss, compounded by the fact that I ignored my instinct and mismanaged the time I had. The most painful part is that I could have done it, but I hesitated. So, I must console myself with the thought of the radiant Martin, who, both in trivial moments and profound ones, offered us all hope and restored it to us. Yes—returning to the Roman sentence I mentioned at the very beginning—the principal virtue of Martin, which lives on, defying the terror of passing time, is his ability to awaken hope, to fuel us with it, to build relationships through it, to foster love and perseverance in being kind.

Wherever you are now, Martin, wherever you have gone, I know that you will continue to shine there—here, among those who are still around, your light is like a beacon showing the way in the darkness and turmoil of our struggle with time. We follow your light, Martin, and we hope that one day we will again be able to bask in its rays—together, united by the hope you offered us daily.

farewell my friend until we meet again…