Those that know me personally know that it has been a rough week.
Tuesday I watched two marvelous people bury their eldest son. He was 22 years old, in his third year of university, had a beautiful and loving girlfriend and a loving and supportive family. For days now I have known that I had to write about it but it is so hard.
Rhys was one of my students, a number of years ago granted, that as many others have touched my life and changed it. One of the lovely things about being a secondary school teacher is that you watch kids grow into amazing adults. The special ones keep in touch, a process now made much easier through sites like Facebook. Some send text messages, others email, others send messages through younger siblings. My life is enriched by many of these young people. Not just the "good" ones (of which Rhys was one) but also the naughty ones who overcome their issues to finish high school and move on in life. I have cried with them and I have laughed with them.
Rhys died because he was living as he believed was right. A young lady was involved in an argument with her boyfriend early on a Sunday morning in the street. Rhys and a friend asked her if she needed any help. Her boyfrind turned around and punched him. He fell and cracked the back of his head on the concrete. He never woke up.
His mum told me that he was responsive in his coma. At times during the time he spent in hospital he would show signs that he could hear them. She said he looked perfect. He lasted nearly a week before he gave in.
The funeral was massive. With the team mates from his football and cricket teams, his uni mates, his high school mates, family friends and others he has touched, there were hundreds in attendance. So much as it shouldn't have to be, the service was a lovely record of a very special and stupidly short life. The messages were the same. Rhys was passionate and loving in everything he did.
I had to watch my kids hurting. It isn't fair that people so young should suffere such loss. It isn't fair that the world should suffer such loss.
This whole episode is just so pointless and has ruined so many lives. Rhys' family will have the rest of their lives to come to terms with all this as will his mates. Adding to that the boy responsible is now facing manslaughter charges. I am sure life will never be the same for him and his family either. I also can't help but feel for the poor girl who must feel some responsibility in this whole mess. Stupid shit caused by angry beer.
Regardless, wherever Rhys is I hope he realises how much he was loved and how special he was. There better be sport and I am sure if there are others he has already made some new mates.