Hymn for the weekend

[him fawr th ee week-end]: Singer Chris Martin told London’s Magic Radio’s Jo Parkerson that this song features more of Beyoncé than she originally expected. “On one song, ‘Hymn For The Weekend,’ I said, ‘Could this be a bit more of a duet?'” the vocalist said, “and we just – she was just so lovely to watch sing. She’s so good, it’s insane.”

The House That God Has Forgotten part 46: The day that I will never forget.

It’s Friday. The weekend has begun for me and after a long hard week at The House That God Has Forgotten, I am finally able to relax and enjoy having a morning where I get to sleep in a little.

I feel like a lot of people are watching me lately. Wondering what I am going to write next, mind you I do not hate being famous for this blog… I rather love it when someone comes up to me and talks about a post, or how it made them think or feel. It shows that words have power…and that is the beautiful thing about writing. It is getting your voice heard.

I have however thought about making this blog private. In other words you would have to request to view it. Mainly out of the fact that not all people appreciate what I am writing here, or that I represent the silent majority of The House That God Has Forgotten.

This is not what I am here to write about in this post. It is to write about a date that I forgot. Yesterday it was 8 years ago Karen died. 8 years have gone by and I have watched them slowly go by and the same has not changed so much.

I feel bad I did not remember the 3rd of October. It makes me feel like a bad person for not remembering. I talk a lot about Karen here. How her death affected so many people who were working at the time.

When you see posts by people that stopped working At The House That God Has forgotten in like 2012 or 2013 and they say that they still remember that day it shows what an influence it has on the people that we have worked with.

It did not click in my head the posts about “Today I am lighting a candle”. I just assumed it was that day in the year that everyone lights candles for the people that they loved that have passed not for Karen.

Like I said, it makes me feel like an awful person for not remembering, considering how much I do write about her.

We live in a special world prison guards. Ignored by society. Everyone loves the police. They are heroes, but what happens when they leave them somewhere? They do not magically disappear and everything is all good again.

It is us that has to deal with people throwing shit, spitting on us, crying and generally feeling isolated.

We are a cog in the machine that no one cares about.

The courts get the credit for keeping people put behind bars for years or months or whatever.

The police get the credit for putting them somewhere.

We are just some lost piece in the middle. The one that everyone ignores, or chooses to forget.

Except for October 3 2011. Then we were in the news. “Was she working alone?” “What is it like to be able to work with dangerous people?”

Then as quickly as it came. The video of Karen walking to the promenade cell became a distant memory.

Isn’t it ironic? So close to the sinking of the ship Estonia that Karen would be murdered? Two tragic events…years apart, but so close together.

I think a lot about how it must have felt for the people that worked that day. How many of them are still left?  Did they get tired of the life we live and move on? How many families laid down their foot and said “I do not want you working at a job where you can be killed at.”

Especially for how little you earn as a prison guard.

They do not mention that when you go to a job interview for our job. They say that there is a risk of conflict, that it can be dangerous even. They do not tell you about Karen.

I can imagine that Karen is a class at the prison guard education program. That someone tells you about how important it is to not let this mistake happen. They say her name, but no one listens… they just call her “The girl from that place that got killed”.

They do not know about the people that knew her at The House That God Has Forgotten. People that were her colleagues, people that sat right next to her during the same education that they are going through now. They do not know about those lunches they shared or the jokes that they had together that made them laugh.

I remember them. They looked grey after that day. There was a weight on their shoulders that made them look as though they were pulling the Earth behind them. Their eyes dark and sad.

And all I could do was sit and watch from a distance.

I had a funny situation shortly after this happened. In October 2011 I was going to my second half of mentoring course (PHL) and half the class came from that place where she worked. We did not talk that much those days about evaluations or what not. We sat and listened.

“I was her mentor,” a woman silently whispered in my group. We heard all about how she was kind, and good and cared about the inmates she worked with.

“I worked that day.” said another.

This was what we listened to. Their stories about her. The ones not published in Aftonbladet or Expressen. We heard what it felt like to be there. Heads hanging low and people still needing to talk about it.

I think in this case a group conversation is something that fixes everyone. Ask the four people from The House That God Has Forgotten (1 left there now by the way) there was no therapy for the nightmares and the thoughts going through their head.

They give you a little card and tell you to call this number. You call the number and everywhere is booked. You wait until three weeks after and have 5 visits with a phycologist covered by the insurance (I have researched this personally).

I do not think 3 weeks and 5 visits  can cover what these people have been through.

I am sure they had doctors there or therapists for people to talk to, but people in our line of work are too proud to say something to someone outside the walls. They prefer strangers from another place that know what they are talking about.

Not long after that I had my pepper spray course with the people from where she worked with me (I was the only one there from The House That God Has Forgotten) we were one that day. I have never in my years in the department of corrections seen a group of people that encouraged each other (and me) while doing something.

I can only imagine that they were feeling “IF Karen had this, maybe it would have never happened.”

And now the years go by and she becomes a symbol for the few of us left that day. I never knew her, but I will never forget her. I think for the people that were somewhere that day they changed. They knew that it was not a game anymore, that people can be killed in this line of work.

And yet we are overlooked and not seen. We are not like the police with bullet proof vests and handguns. We do not get to drive fancy cars and make a lot of money like the lawyers do.

We are instead overlooked, underpaid and just unappreciated for the work we do.

I think every October the 3rd in The House That God Has Forgotten they should have a candle lit on the table on the third floor like they do for everyone that has died there. To remind us, to spark a dialogue and to remember that Karen was so much more than a video and a cautionary tale, but a person. A person who left her mark on many of us, and she should do the same with everyone.

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