I don’t really know how to start to write this blog post. Anything I write here seems to be pointless – firstly, because it’s all been said and done before, and secondly, because I find it hard to understand what possible good it might do. I’ve heard it said that funerals are for the living, though, and perhaps the same can be said for words written in memoriam.
Over the new year period, two people that I knew passed away suddenly. The first, Bradley Arthur, was a student from Chafford Hundred Campus when I taught there. He was a young man in his early 20s. By all accounts, he was a fine young man – well loved by friends and family, and recently, a father. He went to a New Year’s Eve Party, and never made it him. Police found his body days later.
The second, Chris Tully, was a fellow Apple DIstinguished Educator. He was an inspirational educator and teacher, loved by students across Philadelphia and the US. He was inspiring – so much so that he had a bit of a cult following amongst the ADE community. He was last seen by a highway one morning. Two weeks later, police pulled his body from a river.
In Australia, we live lives that are, for the most part, inured from the nearness of death. Instead, we distance it. We have a high life expectancy, and violent or sudden death seems a far-off prospect. Such events like the two above are fortunately rare. But these terrible events give us all pause to reflect upon the very proximity of death. Despite our best efforts to convince ourselves that we are all going to live forever, the reality is that death is a spectre lurking forever over our shoulder, ready to seize any opportunity. Any accident. Any chance.
I could tell you wonderful stories about Brad and Chris, but I won’t. There are people who were closer to them who will say it better than I ever could. Suffice to say, I respected and admired them. Their memories will be treasured by everyone who knew them.
Instead, I want people to take the time to connect with those around them. Ask them how they are doing. See if they want to go for coffee. Tell them you love them. And take care of them. Look after each other, people. It’s a scary world, sometimes.