Wednesday, 27 April 2011

all that time and distance

It was a difficult start to the new term - a Year 13 student we knew well had taken his own life on Good Friday.  I had taught him a few years ago but mostly knew him through the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Obviously, the first day back was awkward and difficult for everyone.  I honestly have no idea or genuine understanding about the depths of despair an 18 year old must suffer but to a certain extent, I have experienced the situation before.  A good friend of mine chose to end his life about 2002 - it was all so traumatic, I can't actually remember exact dates.

I wrote this (unfinished song) at the time of my friend's death:

So now that all the tears have dried
And there's nothing left to say
Now there's just the wondering why
And only the piper left to play

When I heard the news, the tears just came
And my body was racked with sobs
And I thought of you in so much pain
And your one final solitary job

All that time and distance
All those things we never did

And you used to make me sing
And you didn't mind my cracked voice
You didn't mind anything
As long as we made a melodic noise

And you worked so hard on your playing
But liked it when I played slide
But inside your life was decaying
And your passing so undignified

All that time and distance
All those things we never did

Well we played our guitars and you played so well
And I sang those songs, god forbid!
About truck drivers and the Commodore Hotel
And, by god, didn't time fly?
Now there's nothing left but memories
But I still have to ask why?

I lived down here on the East coast
And you only a hundred miles away
We didn't speak much recently
Now there's still so much to say

Well, I'll keep playing my guitar
And I'll write the occasional song
And just like you I'll never be a star
But these reminiscences will stay strong

All that time and distance
All those things we never did

A work in progress, one I'll return to. No matter how difficult it is to carry on after such a solitary act, it's those left behind that have to deal with it all. The friends of the student we've just lost will have to live with this and, hopefully, allow it to become a part of the growing up process. Some will cope admirably, others will find it hard and it will have repercussions for many years to come. Also, his relations and teachers will need to live with this. What an awful situation to have developed - everything you do has a consequence.

My thoughts are with them all and this has been a difficult week (thankfully, it's only three days at school this week) but life really does have to keep going on  . . . I have no particular words to say about this exact situation but the lad's passing reminded me of my friend, so I hope the words may attempt to express a feeling of all that's been lost.

Each early passing is a reminder of chances lost.


Andy Wright said...

Too desperately sad a tale to even attempt to offer some solace other than to say that my previous life showed me far,far too much of a glimpse ( no, much more than a glimpse)into such tragedy. All I want to say is, do grieve for the boy (because that is all he was) and his family and friends but also take great care to look after yourself and your friends and colleagues.Many ,if not all, who will have been affected by this dreadful event. I'm thinking of you.

Dave Leeke said...

Thanks, Andy. It's a stranger story than it seems which I'll tell you about one day - let's just say that the "sins of the fathers" can be an awful thing.

Obviously it has had a big impact on the atmosphere at school. The funeral is on Monday so we're in for more sadness. The school has been full of professional types - educational psychiatrists and the like.