On Monday morning I went to the funeral of the 16 year old son of a colleague of mine. He had been stabbed in Lewisham during the summer holidays.
Now there were many reasons for me to be sad:
- A young person lost their life before they had had a chance to make anything of it
- My colleague has been in a state of grief for the past couple of months. It has broken her.
- This happened in my area - I live here.
But I think the biggest thing that got to me was...
...as a youth worker how many young people are going to die in Lewisham on my watch.
Now clearly I know that I am not responsible for all young people in Lewisham, but since this guys death there have been at least 3 other teenagers stabbed. One literally around the corner from my Church. So far I haven't known these young people personally...but I feel like it is a matter of time before one of them is a kid I see every week.
It's scary. I don't want to go to funerals of my young people. They are all so special and totally priceless. Hearing this boy's friends stand up and say what he meant to them was heartbreaking. To see 16, 17, 18 year old's (normally who I find pretty emotionless) sobbing into their mother's arms was really emotional and I can only wonder at how my colleague and her family are doing.
I feel like up until this point I have been relatively protected from death, but now it's a whole different story.