is not something any normal person looks forward to doing I suppose. It may be something we want to do for one reason or another but it does not mean any of us are going to enjoy the occasion. There will always be someone missing from it.
Ms W's father did not want a funeral. He didn't want anything at all for a while. It is only in the last week when another idea was put to him that he felt he could face anything at all.
It wasn't my idea. It came from the girls in her form at school. They put it to their form teacher first and, with her support, went to the school principal. She took it up with the governing council. They agreed "without hesitation" and today there will be a tree planting ceremony in the school grounds.
There is a designated "quiet corner" in the school grounds. I don't know when it was begun and I have never even seen it. Ms W used it sometimes, as do the other boarders. You can talk there if you want to talk but it is generally considered not to be a place for loud conversation. It's a place for writing letters home, calling family on your 'phone at weekends and things like that.
It borders on one of the bigger playing areas and I think that might be a good thing. I have been told that there might be more people there than Ms W's father expects. I am certain there will be. I've had some phone calls asking "will it be all right to go?" I know the school has had some more.
Ms W's father isn't going to say anything. He has said he just can't do that. His boss is going to do it instead. His boss is a wise man. I have always liked him and I like him even more now. Yesterday we went through what he is going to say. He isn't going to suggest she was perfect but it is a reflection of her - kind, caring, and funny. We have included a quotation from her small contribution to one of the books written by Nicola Morgan. We have included one of the many jokes sent to her by Roger Wright, a former professor of Spanish at Liverpool University. We have included a haiku from her friend Junko Morimoto. All that is intended to acknowledge the way she forged friendships outside her peer group, with adults in far away places. There are others who will be mentioned too.
On her desk at home, lined up with all of Nicola Morgan's books and the books I wrote for her, is her copy of Dag Hammarskjold's "Markings". I gave it to her last year during the lock down when the girls were asked to "find some little thing to think about and share with the others". I don't know how much of it she had read but some passages were underlined in pencil, including this one she had dated the day after she became the class representative (form captain).
"Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others can receive your orders without being humiliated."
She had added the words, "I need to remember this."