Tragedy is a fact of life. Accidents do happen. People walk out the door and out of our lives forever. The question I find myself asking is what becomes of those that get left behind? Who listens to them when they need to talk during the dark hours? Having endured the loss or witnessed someone's passing, what release does someone have?
Its all to easy to focus on the people whose time has come and gone. I look back over the years at the passing of friends or family members and sometimes wonder 'what if we'd had the time for one more conversation?'. It doesn't achieve much and of greater benefit would be talking to the living around me. I feel the
Having overcome a near fatal climbing accident many years ago, I will quite happily recount the tale and even revel in showing others where it happened. However, my climbing partner Simon who watched as I fell to earth seldom wishes to discuss the topic and sadly, rarely climbs too. My friend Dave saw his best friend die in a crevass in Norway and he has suffered for that, in large part, because he fell out of sight while we all focussed on Barry's family. In both cases, the support and counsel of friends came somewhat late. Some may say the emotional damage was already done.
As our thoughts at this time turn to the passing of a paddling companion from our world of sea kayaking, I feel its important not to overlook those who survive. There will be questions that need listening to, emotions to be released and perspectives to be gained. Survivors are not just those who have escaped death but those that remain when we're gone. Spare a thought for the onlooker.
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