On Saturday, I got up and rolled downstairs, flicked the lid of my laptop up to scroll down facebook, see if I'd missed anything, ahem, important. And I had; important even, not 'important'. For once, my page wasn't full of shite about nights out and hangovers. Instead, my newsfeed was full of people who had been in my year at school, posting statuses about what a sad day it was, with ambiguous RIP messages. I don't think I've ever felt so sick, at that moment any of the 150 or so members of my year who hadn't posted, could have been dead. For a moment, they all were.
Finding out who it was didn't make me feel any better. I hadn't seen Harry Travers since college and we hadn't really spoken since school. Bar a couple of dates we went on when we were about 15 and the fact that we had a trillion mutual friends and hung around in a similar circle, we didn't have masses to do with each other. I've noticed that when a person dies, people who weren't that close to them create an exaggerated grief and those not truly affected seem to attempt to compete, in this. I'm not talking about those who post respects and heartfelt messages, more the ones who post 17 times and clearly have had very little to do with the deceased, and that's exactly what I'm not after doing here. But it's hit me.
A part of my school life is forever gone. A part of Saint Bede's class of '07 is forever gone. The fact that a person so young, so loved, so important to so many, that that person, their light can go out. A family left, a week before Christmas. It's a sudden gap. When a person dies after a great age, they fade until their fire is a candle flame that burns out. But Harry's light was a forest fire was somehow extinguished in a heartbeat, leaving all sort of gaps and broken hearts. Even those of us on the cusp cannot comprehend a world without him, the void in our school experience and a bittersweet flavour to our memories of those years. I can't even imagine the pain for his friends and family, and I'm grateful for my ignorance.