It's been a strange week. First the weird Wellington weather just got weirder as snow fell in the city for the first time since 1976. None of it settled where I live or work, but some of my colleagues, who live higher up, got a fair old coating of the white stuff. It was pretty cool actually to see it fall from our office window on Monday - it was like being a kid again.
On Tuesday I got an email from Mandy, my ex-colleague from Auckland, telling me she'd had a decent-sized win on Lotto. She didn't give a figure at first, so I replied asking if she'll let me drive her new Aston Martin the next time I'm in Auckland. In all honesty I expected her prize to be in the hundreds or lowish four figures, but in fact she won $40,000! While not exactly life-changing it'll be a huge boost to her, especially after everything she and her family have been through. Her prize came from a must-be-won draw of Bullseye, a game where you have to pick a number from 0 to 999,999. Nobody won the top prize (for getting the number spot-on) and the second prize (for getting within five) wasn't won either. So the jackpot was split ten ways among the third-division winners of which Mandy was one.
After receiving such happy news the previous day, on Wednesday I found out that one of the younger members of the Auckland autism group had sadly died two weeks earlier. He crashed is car into an oncoming truck at Dairy Flat, north of Auckland. It is likely that he did so deliberately. He had a number of quite complex conditions that certainly made life difficult for him. On that one day earlier in the month, he perhaps decided it was all too much. He also attended the men's depression group from time to time. I met him several times; I never got to know him that well but he always seemed a pleasant enough chap to talk to. He just needed some help. As Richard said to me in a text, perhaps he is finally at peace. He was just 23.
At Saturday's autism group they remembered him and also Emma who would have turned thirty last weekend.
Life most certainly is precious. I have the utmost admiration for those who help people with mental health and other problems. They have a very challenging job and for some reason society doesn't recognise this; most mental health workers are badly paid. Although I'm hardly coining it in my job, when you consider how little of any consequence I achieve, my pay is obscenely high.
This afternoon I rang Bazza for his birthday. He doesn't have a lot of friends so it's important that I stay in touch with him.