As you might be aware, i've recently been promoted again. And I said to my Mam when I was still in the selection process that, in a sense, I hoped I didn't get it. Because if I did, it would mean extreme bad luck for someone else.
Well, I did get it . . . there were 20 jobs going, and 175 applicants. I was one of the successful 20.
Two days later? I have a brother. My brother has a wife. That wife is my sister-in-law. And I get on very well with her.
My sister-in-law has a best friend, who also happens to be very close to my brother.
That best friend had a 15 year old son, and only two days after i'd been told I got the job, he fell through Darlington cattle market roof, and later died of his injuries. It made the local and national media. Horrific enough, I thought, but this lad - and I truly do think it was a tragedy - was one step removed from me, and so I was able to put it to the back of my mind.
Then three days later I got a call at work, from my Dad. My Dad never calls me at work, so I guessed it might be something serious, left my desk, and took the call.
And sure enough, it was quite serious. My brother's wife's brother (or my brother's brother in law, and someone who I know quite well myself) had been found dead in bed that morning. He was 32. Even now, no-one really knows what happened . . . but pill packets were found, and it was probably suicide.
This came three years after my brother's mother-in-law died at only 52, due to complications arising from years of heroin addiction.
This all does affect me directly, because i'm close to my brother and sister-in-law and their family, and it's just a completely miserable time for them. So much tragedy in such a short space of time. And even beyond the pity, sense of desperation and pathos . . .
The worry is that my brother turns to drink again, to cope . . . and when he's wrecked, all bets are off. Much like me, except he does it in real life with real life consequences, rather on various MSP forums.
The optimist in me says we'll get through it - im thinking of getting a new tattoo, my first since 1999, that says 'Hope Over Fear' - but there's always a real possibility that we won't, without further casualties.
« Back to index