A lot has happened to me over the years. Those who know me, know what I mean. But this week has knocked me around a bit more than I would ordinarily have expected.
I had high hopes for this week. A new year with a new group of people to train, my first one starting this week. Getting close to the first anniversary in a new job and new town, with some pretty good outcomes to show for it. It's busy and I love it, even though we are short staffed and I find myself having to spend at least one day a week doing the thing that I used to do and wanted to have a break from.
The downer hit me on Tuesday midway through a training session. My phone doesn't usually work in my training room - a windowless cell close to the lead-lined back wall of the hospital where the linear accelerator is located. It did on Tuesday and I decided to answer it because it was my sister, she doesn't usually ring me at work so it may have been important. For the rest of the day I wished I hadn't. She rang to tell me that a guy that I had gone to school with from Year 3 had died of a heart attack. He was 44. He has 3 kids and a wife that we went to school with from Year 7. He was part of a group of guys that made my life hell from Year 8 to Year 10, and most of Year 12. He lived on the other side of the world now. So why was I sitting in the tearoom at work crying for him?
Was I crying for his wife, a friend back in high school? Or their kids, one of which had gone to preschool with my first child? Was I crying for myself - what if it had been me or my husband? I'd made peace with the crap from high school a long time ago, so it had nothing to do with that.
I'd been mulling it over all week, and then on Friday I find out that another guy I had gone to school with was the victim of a fatal assault a couple of days before Christmas. I'd seen his funeral notice in the local paper when I was in my hometown for Christmas, and thought to myself about what might have happened, but we weren't close so when I hear about what had happened I was shocked but put it out of my mind.
So two more guys taken to soon. One through violence and one through "natural causes", if a heart attack at that age can be natural. We've lost a few from our school year since leaving. Some at their own hand, some through illness and some through violence. We were just a very ordinary group of kids in a very ordinary public high school in a very ordinary place. We had the same crushes and heartaches that any group of kids did. We had the school bullies, the smokers, the geeks, the princesses, the jocks. It was a lifetime ago. So why has it affected me so much? I was referred to a couple of months ago as the "memory" of our year. I seem to remember more people and happenings than most. A group of us were on Facebook one night, going through a picture taken in Year 11 and tagging as many people as we could think of. I think we ended up getting all but a handful. I wasn't even in the picture as I was at another school that year, a result of the crap that had happened in the previous years, but I could still pick them out.
In church today, I prayed for them all. All those that we have lost, their families and those of us who remain here - confused, mourning, reflecting.... and thanking God that I am still here. It's going to get better.