I Think I Caused Someone’s Death
It’s a story I’ve carried in my chest for a really long time. Writing this brings back the pain but it’s something I had to get off my chest somehow. Maybe. talking about it would make me feel a bit better.
Disclaimer: Emotional and may be graphic.
I was 21, a bit over a year being an employee, the very first job I’ve ever had. i was in-charge of the training of new hires. I was good they say. There are times that I believed them.
I train different batches every week. Schedule is usually from 1am to 7pm. I used to work at an Australian company and our working time is limited to maximum of 6 hours a day. But I worked on average of 10 hours by choice.
Few weeks before Christmas, I had a new group of trainees. I remember them very well because they were one of the most dynamic groups. The youngest and oldest trainee I had handled belonged to this batch. And there is this one guy at mid-40 and identified himself as a gay-man.
He was the life of the party and is the spokesperson of the group. They often joke around and very active in discussions.
As part of the management, I had to attend monthly and quarterly meetings.
So on this particular Thursday, I had to inform the trainees that Friday training had to be cancelled for me to prepare for the upcoming meeting. They requested to offset the training on Saturday instead. Since it was of no consequence to me, I concurred.
After the session on that day, I went out with them to go get some dinner. They were jolly as usual. This guy, the most friendly one, kept talking to me even in the elevator. ‘
“Thank you Miss Annie, you were really kind. I am really happy to be here. You are a great trainer. Thank you. Thank you so much”, he said things along those lines.
He thanked me more after getting off the elevator.
One of our policies in training is that there should be absolute No late, no absences. Once you violate one of these, you are automatically out.
The meeting on the next day went well. Came Saturday, the trainees arrived early as usual except for one. I contacted him, reminding him of the training. I called but was left unanswered. This guy was recommended by one of our regular employees, Dennis, so I asked him if he heard from him. No, he didn’t.
I tried calling him again but still, there was no answer.
Sunday was my rest day. I didn’t hear from this trainee until then.
Monday arrived. First thing I did was to look through the resume’s in case I needed a replacement. Upon opening the files, the resume on top was that of the absent one. I felt a tingle in my spine.
About an hour later, Dennis arrived and came straight to me.
“Miss Annie, I have something to tell you,” he said. “Yes, what is it?”, I asked.
His voice was trembling when he spoke again, ” Your trainee is gone.”
I was confused. “Gone?”
“Yes, he’s dead”, and he started to tear up.
I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know what to say. It took me a moment to compose myself. I noticed just then that the trainee’s resume was still on my hand, his eyes looking at me.
‘When? What happened?”, I asked, an idea already forming in my mind.
“Last Friday evening, he was stabbed to death inside his apartment.’
My knees gave way and I had to sit down. I felt like the air in my chest were all knocked off. Sometimes, I still feel the same way when I remember. I was in shock.
He passed away Friday evening.
I didn’t know how I managed that day. Upon going home, I just cried my heart out. I couldn’t stop.
I blamed myself. He died the day we were supposed to have a training. If only I didn’t cancel the session, he could’ve been still in the office on that evening. If only I managed my time better, he couldn’t have been home before 7pm.
I carried this thought with me. I tried to function properly but it just got heavier and heavier. I did my best to perform my tasks as if nothing happened. i didn’t want to burden anybody. But the moment I laid on the bed, the picture haunted me and I just couldn’t stop crying.
My anxiety must have manifested physically as my superiors finally noticed the changes in my behavior. My boss sat down with me and had a real talk. I gathered the courage to tell them. I poured my heart out. They understood.
To help me out, they forced me to go on a break. Lots of words of encouragement poured in. I worked hard to shake it off and make myself believe that I wasn’t at fault. I somehow got better through time.
But truth is, I still carry some of the burden. I still remember his last words to me. I still hear their joyous laughter. Although I don’t really blame myself anymore, it remains a sore spot.
I didn’t hear about the end of the case anymore but I hope, he got his justice.
I know that people come and go, maybe longer or earlier than we wanted them to. They say we are a collage of all the people in our lives, unfortunately, some of my pieces have been gone sooner than I would’ve wanted. And I am not alone. We all have those missing pieces., some temporary, some permanent. But let us not make those missing ones break us apart. Let them be those spaces that hold memories of beautiful parts.