It began with the man’s wife coming home from a shopping trip, and then rushing into the street screaming ‘My boy’s gone. My boy’s gone.’ Mother and another male neighbour were the first into the house, where they found Mr So-and-so hanging from the loft entrance. The man cut the rope and lowered the body, which mother tried to resuscitate but without success. He was a retired miner who had suffered the pain of pneumoconiosis for some years, and the last thing she described was the brown discharge dripping from his lifeless mouth. To my sense of horror was added a layer of disgust which took some time to wear off.
That isn’t a nice thing for a sensitive and imaginative child to hear, and I wonder whether it contributes to your view of life from that time forward.