We recently had a tragedy in the area: one of the kids who use to take karate with us was stabbed to death. Levi, the former karateka, was 17. The young man who stabbed him was only 13.
While looking back through some dojo photos for one of Levi to give his younger brother (another former student) at the wake, I came across this picture I took after youth promotions three years ago:
Levi is on the bottom row - second from the left. Of the 29 folks pictured - minus Sensei F - only 12 are still training. That includes some of the black belts lined up in the back.
Many folks I've trained with over the years have had to step away from the dojo at some point or other - some for a little while, some for a little while longer. Some have come back, but a whole lot have not. You miss them for a minute, but then months pass and you sort of forget that you used to see them on a regular. They get busy, you get busy and, well, life happens. Before you know it, you find yourself pointing to them in an old photo saying "Hey, what ever happened to...?"
Kinda sad, really...