When planning James’ funeral I was challenged to my limit. I wanted to make it beautiful but I didn’t want to be doing it at all; nobody my age should be planning their husband’s funeral. There were lots of tiny agonies around this time and hideous decisions to be made but I knew I wanted the below on the order of service.
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
And so when we want to ‘see’ James we look up to the sky. I’m not sure what the kids think they are looking for but Flynn came rushing through the front door last week; “quick Mum, get out here right now.” So I followed him out the front door whereby he lead me to our neighbour’s house. It was being repainted. I then saw what had piqued his interest. His voice turned to an almost inaudible whisper. “He’s fallen”, “who’s fallen?” I asked “that one, look Mum, look!” he said and then I saw the wings.
And so it had to be that quote. Those who know me well, know all about my long standing love affair with a certain William Shakespeare. I’ve never met the man, personally but I feel like we might have had a good chat he and I.
I once taught at a school where there was an intake from a huge spectrum of society. The pupils came from such diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Some came from some of the most challenging and unprivileged of backgrounds. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was always given the most challenging ‘youth’ or the ‘naughties’ as we referred to them. It was a worry, I’ll admit: how do I get these crazies to understand, appreciate, even love me Will I AM. The above never failed. Because any human heart connects to love.
When I read this aloud I could have heard a pin drop, they just wanted more of it. Some voiced their appreciations with mutters of “ I’m not being funny yea, but that is well good.” Others would lean back on their chair ‘til it was balancing on two legs and offer “S-I-C-K!” as a five syllable word. I realised that they appreciated these words and the true meaning more than my other classes and I would often wonder why this was.
I came to realise that it was because they had been challenged, or suffered in some way. They were not nicer, or better people than my other students…… but they were more interesting and they felt on a deeper level.
For Nathalie and Clèmence who look up to the sky at night and search for the Gumby star.