Monday, April 28, 2008

remembering Dean

It doesn't feel like it was over 24yrs ago. The memories are still vivid. The stunned silence of the classroom and muted reaction. The quiet tears. The empty desk.

The disbelief. He couldn't have died, he was in school last week.

The anger - that HRI needed to hold jumble sales and cake stalls to raise funds for a bodyscanner that could have spotted what was wrong and thus saved his life whilst Maggie spent several fortunes on nuclear weapons that could never be used and cut back on NHS expenditure to do so.

The indignation - when the vicar at the carol service kept going on and on about it and then expected the school brass band behind him, which included Dean's teammates and classmates, to play - as if his lengthy ponderings had been the usual Christmas offering.

The feeling of helplessness - wanting to reach out to those classmates who knew him far better than I but never knowing how to do so or what to say.

The incredible response at school - the collection box outside Barson's office raised over two hundred pounds, not bad for school kids in 1983, especially considering Dean had only been with us for a few months.

The gratitude - to Liverpool Football Club for the wreath. He'd died from a football injury. It meant a lot to us.

The sense of loss - of someone I'd only just been getting to know but had instantly liked.

And now?

I don't think I've ever quite forgiven that vicar. We only just had enough tissues between us in the choir. It isn't easy singing when you've been crying, and the haunting picture of Stephen's tears has always remained with me.

I can forgive the hospital staff who sent him home thinking he was ok, they did the best with what they had. But it was a wake up call to the realities of politics for me - it wasn't just something on the news any more - it was personal.Cut-backs in health service budgets still send a chill down my spine.

I can't forget. The grief has never really gone away. Every teenager's death brings it back.

Quite who the tears are for now I'm not sure, whether it's for Dean, his friends and family, or those newly grieving, my thoughts are with them - family, friends and classmates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was nice reading "remembering Dean", how did you remember the date after all these years? I occasionally think back and remember that time, don't think ive cried as much about anything in my life, not even the birth of Poppy.
Was nice to remember again.