I'm one of the lucky ones. 15 years ago I made it through. The experience changed me profoundly, partly for the better and at a not insignificant cost. It is not something I mention publicly these days as its relative importance declines as time marches on, but my feelings about it are still best summarised by this verse in Pearl Jam's Alive:
Is something wrong, she said
Well of course there is
You're still alive, she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be
Is that the question?
And if so...if so...who answers...who answers
I still don't know the answer, but at least I had the chance to reflect (and change). As I said, I'm one of the lucky ones. Others, aren't.
A few months ago a former team mate from my years at Nottingham died in his early thirties. When I was handball club president he was one of our Erasmus student players. He subsequently came back to Nottingham afterwars for further study and work although we lost contact after I moved to Bangor. But I will still remember him as a great teamplayer. An all round great kid. One of my *kids*. It hurt. It stang. Even though we had not been in touch for a good while. He'll always be a 21 year old kid in my mind.
Yesterday it was one of my colleagues, one of the nicest people I ever worked with. This time around there was plenty of warning for those able to read the signals. A few days ago I knew her time was up. I just *knew* it. Still, it doesn't make it any easier to digest. It hurts. It stings.
Tonight I will celebrate Dora's life as I did with William's: hugging my 2 year old daughter and having a nice glass of wine, while being grateful for the time spent together and her words of wisdom.
In the meanwhile, Offspring's Gone Away is playing in repeat and I will be making a donation to Cancer Research UK.