One morning, I travelled to work and read the Metro, a free newspaper that is distributed on public transport. I read about the stabbing of a teenager, in broad daylight, on the platform of the railway station closest to where I worked. The boy died in his friend’s arms before the ambulance could arrive. I read the name of the deceased and for a long time I couldn’t accept that I knew him.
I arrived at work and the grief was palpable. The sixth form community had lost a vibrant, sociable and gentle spoken soul. His friends were with him when his own confusion about what had happened to him was expressed. He wanted to stand up, he was alright, he said. He didn’t see the blood that was pouring from his back. Imagine the grief of the girl who’d cradled him as his life slipped away. For the two years that I taught her after, it was as if her own life had been taken from her too.
We talked about it a few months after. I expressed how worried I was. She felt like she would never heal. She also felt that to feel happy again would dishonour him. I told her of a friend of mine who’d died very young and how I had grieved for a long time after. But one day I woke up I realising that I had a duty to live as he could not. Would he not want her to remember the joy he brought? Would he not want her to live her life as fully as she could? Would he not want her to be happy?
I knew that I hadn’t helped her deal with her pain. The same disengagement with life was evident in every lesson she attended. She attended counselling, her mother had brought her to the doctor, but in truth it was only Time that would help her.
A couple of months before her exams she asked for help. She’d thought about what I’d said and she’d made a decision, even though she didn’t feel like it, she was going to get herself to university. One of them at least should get to study law like they’d planned. After a long hiatus, she worked hard and was rewarded with several offers.
I’m not sure who said it, but Verd often quotes: we have an obligation to be happy. I’m reminded of that again today when visiting Rachel Falco’s blog “How to Provide”. She opens with a Thoreau quote:
“I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear…”
I think I’ve featured Rachel‘s blog in the Knowledge Cooperative before, she’d written an article on how to deal naturally with all the pests that plague us. Still, I think she deserves another slot. From raising to dressing chickens, from pests to herbal remedies, from designing a vegetable plot to food preservation, from post-war survival to surviving a siege, Rachel offers extremely practical and accessible advice on Community Supported Agriculture, self-sufficiency, farming humanely, and providing for a family on a homestead. How to Provide is often my first port of call when I have a ‘how to’ question. For instance, I have a friend who makes amazing fresh pasta and serves it in her own pottery. She manages to convey the idea it’s easy, but I’ve never tried it. So I look it up and guess what, Rachel knows how!
Even if you don’t have a homestead, you’re likely to find a practical tip that’s better for your budget, health, and life.