Thursday 30 June 2011

Don't read if you're feeling sad already

It has really been a very sad week, and today was the most distressing of all. At the end of last week, one of the school caretakers had a severe stroke and he died on Tuesday. His wife also works at the school, so it was more personally upsetting for many of the staff. I interviewed him for the job, he was a really nice man and we always greeted each other in a friendly way.

Worse, however, was the news today. The head teacher phoned me this morning to say that a student had been found dead at his home by his father. He was 16, went to the Norfolk Show yesterday with his family and went for a shower when they arrived home.  When he didn't come down again, his dad went looking for him.  I knew him from early childhood, though hadn't spoken to him for years, he was a pupil at the village school. I always greeted his mother in the town, a very sweet woman. One cannot begin to imagine what it could be like. I will write to Aaron's parents of course, but there is no comfort for them from me or anyone.

What is worst? Early miscarriage or late, death of a baby or a child or a young person? Being widowed young or very old? The death of a child or of a parent? Each is devastating, you cannot quantify it and yet, in some ways, surely this must be one of the worst things to happen, a young person who should have so much ahead of him, who dies so suddenly, from no illness or accident.


Eddie 2-Sox said...

Completely unfair. Mother nature should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

So very, very sad when such a young person dies. I can only hope I'm right when I say there are better things waiting for him, although that would be no comfort to his family right now, of course.

Unknown said...

Dear Z, what a rotten week you've had. There aren't any words to help or comfort at the unexpected death of a sixteen year old. It feels so unnatural. There's nothing that can help the parents except the presence and wordless sympathy of their family and friends.

Z said...

Mother nature has no feeling, how could it? The awful randomness of it is so shocking.

Thank you all. I have been told more details so will correct the post, although there's nothing materially different.

Four Dinners said...

'You Live You Die, The Bit In Between Is Called Life'....Some deserve a wee bit more 'life' don't they?

So sorry babe. What a bitch.

My baby is in Madagascar for her Geography degree dissitation (or whatever the hell it's called)...4 whole days of no contact and I was crapping myself.

A 'satellite' phone call confirmed 'all was well'. (£5.80 an hour I later learned after 20 minutes of conversation)!!!!...

Cheap to know she's ok....

Losing a child? Doesn't bare thinking about.

What's left of my heart goes out to his parents.

Big time.


Z said...

Thanks, love.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a worst; they are all absolutely devastating, you just cope with your own particular griefs and wonder how on earth others can cope with theirs. I am so very sorry for the widow (and any children) and for the parents and siblings of Aaron.

allotmentqueen said...

Oh that is truly awful.

Firstly I hope this is completely out of the blue, from no illness (physical or mental) - I say this because of where I live I'm aware of numerous "suicide pacts" in South Wales (just over the border from us), but from what you say I think this must be completely unexpected.

In a way, and this will always sound wrong, the death of a baby or child will be limited by the length of time you've known them. This is obviously devastating if that child had a lot riding on it - difficulty conceiving, carrying the pregnancy, giving birth, congenital problems, whatever - but at the end of the day, the actual physical and emotional memories you have of that child are limited.

But once the child has reached teenage years there are so many different memories and expectations and, well things you just expect to happen, that this really must be the hardest challenge of all.

The idea that someone should have never experienced so much of what life has to offer - love, children, career expectations, oh whatever - that is so hard to contemplate.

No, in the short term at least your words will be of no comfort to them, but there is comfort to be drawn simply from someone caring. And hopefully his school friends will be able to contribute to a memorial book or something (you know what I mean) which will bring lasting comfort to his family.

Your caretaker - whilst this is equally upsetting, I suspect the sympathies will lie with his widow (and children?) - but ultimately, we all know we will die sometime. At least he wasn't taken out by someone in Afghanistan, he basically died of natural causes, which will always happen sometime.

I hope you can gather strength from the comments that have been/will be posted on here to cope with this. Truly an awful day.

What - you're on the second bottle already? Oh alright then, you probably need it.

How do we know said...

you said no illness or accident.. so what was it?? a young child of 16.. but they see life so differently at this age.. a death is bad enough.. a murder or suicide is that much more unbearable..

Z said...

There is no question of anything but a natural death, no suspicious circumstances at all. It was almost certainly his heart - but there had been no symptoms and no warning. You hear of a few cases each year, though it is rare.

Thank you again, all of you. Wise and kind words.

Christopher said...

Dreadful, devastating. What a heartbreaking approach to the end of the school year, let alone the individual anguish. Have strength.

Blue Witch said...

Oh, how awful. Deaths in schools always need careful handling - have you been able to call on the critical incident team in your locality?

Was it one of the forms of cardiomyopathy? If so, and if you have the opportunity (which might be difficult, I appreciate) do encourage the parents to have themselves and any other children screened. One of the women I trained with lost her son part-way through the MEd year to it, and then, not knowing it was genetically linked (because no-one thought to tell her), her husband died of the same thing less than a year later. I don't think she's ever really receovered - and that was 23 years ago.

Four Dinners said...

Sorry. I'm catching up on blogs and stuff and didn't realise it was the post I'd already read. I read again. Please don't tell. I cried. I don't do crying. This is fucking awful.

Post something not awful please babe?

We should NEVER outlive our children.

I couldn't...well...God forbid I did, it would be by about 5 minutes tops.

I respect others beliefs but this sort of stuff will leave me 'sharing an understanding' with God if the daft bugger ever lets me near him...

Love n hugs to his family is all I've got - or anyone else has got - and nothing will ever be enough.

I need to find a cheerful post.

'Nite babe x

Z said...

The critical incident team have been excellent, and we are buying in their services for the future.

I assume that was what afflicted him, but do not know yet. I do agree with you, the son of friends died through the same cause. It is shocking that something that can be tested for is not, when it affects an appreciable number of (usually) young men each year.

I have good news, 4D. My next post will be upbeat, I promise. And I agree, my worst dread would be to outlive any of my children.

Anonymous said...

HErrgottnochmal ... puts my own trouble in place.