There are days you should not look at the news. There are days it is incomprehensible. Days it makes you tear up at work in front of colleagues or in front of strangers by the school gate or supermarket, and then you berate yourself because it’s just a news story. You don’t know these people. This is not your pain to have.
But we are only human. And somehow through the longest, and often, most twisted of lines we are connected by life – and by death.
Four years ago Thomas Kelly was walking down the street in King’s Cross, Sydney, with his girlfriend when an intoxicated stranger, Kieran Loveridge, punched him in the face. A coward’s punch that caused catastrophic brain injury. Thomas died two days later in hospital. He was 18 years old. That was four years ago to this month.
Now, his little brother, Stuart, who was 14 at the time of his big brother’s death, has been found dead on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Monday. Stuart was 19.
The Kings School headmaster, Dr Tim Hawkes, where both boys attended, released a statement last night:
“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of an Old Boy of the School, Stuart Kelly (’15). This is the second great tragedy to affect the Kelly family,” Dr Hawkes said.
“The exact circumstances surrounding his death are not known, however, it is enough to know that we have lost a member of our community and therefore our thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy and Ralph Kelly and their daughter Madeleine.’’
Two sons dead.
I can't even imagine, and don't pretend I can even come close to, the pain of Thomas and Stuart's parents Kathy and Ralph Kelly. Two people who after Thomas's death advocated ferociously for tougher mandatory sentencing laws for alcohol fuelled violence and worked to keep youth safe on the streets through the foundation they started: The Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.