"Once I understood each word the caterpillar said
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the Starlings
and shared a conversation with a housefly in my bed
Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets
and joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
I once spoke the language of flowers.
How did it go?
How did it go?"
- Shel Silverstein
Less than 24 hours ago, Ceridwen Claire Allom was living and breathing and laughing, and riding her bike. News of her death has taken my breath away and struck deeply into my heart, which bleeds for her brothers, her mother, her grandparents and great grandparents, and all her friends and the many, many people who loved her.
There will be more written here about this, but now's not the time. For today, Ceri's pictures and her friend's songs can tell the story of a beautiful young woman, an original. My heart is with her family and friends today. This was one of the last things Ceri posted on her facebook page:
I remember the complete and utter desolation, devastation, when my brother died, how much I just wanted to fix it, like we want to fix dear, sweet little Ceri. How hard it was to sleep, how much you come to treasure those few, precious seconds every morning when you wake, before you remember again.
"And as he spake there came a great cry of mourning from the sea, even the cry that men hear when one of the Sea-folk is dead. And the young Fisherman leapt up, and left his wattled house, and ran down to the shore. And the black waves came hurrying to the shore, bearing with them a burden that was whiter than silver. White as the surf it was, and like a flower it tossed on the waves. And the surf took it from the waves, and the foam took it from the surf, and the shore received it, and lying at his feet the young Fisherman saw the body of the little Mermaid. Dead at his feet it was lying.Weeping as one smitten with pain he flung himself down beside it, and he kissed the cold red of the mouth, and toyed with the wet amber of the hair. He flung himself down beside it on the sand, weeping as one trembling with joy, and in his brown arms he held it to his breast. Cold were the lips, yet he kissed them. Salt was the honey of the hair, yet he tasted it with a bitter joy. He kissed the closed eyelids, and the wild spray that lay upon their cups was less salt than his tears.And to the dead thing he made confession. Into the shells of its ears he poured the harsh wine of his tale. He put the little hands round his neck, and with his fingers he touched the thin reed of the throat. Bitter, bitter was his joy, and full of strange gladness was his pain.The black sea came nearer, and the white foam moaned like a leper. With white claws of foam the sea grabbled at the shore. From the palace of the Sea-King came the cry of mourning again, and far out upon the sea the great Tritons blew hoarsely upon their horns."
Ceri's gone where we can't find her now, where we can't fix her, no matter how much we want to, or how much we love her. Life is for living. And it's so short anyway - just a tiny insignificant speck in the great scheme of things, but while it lasts it's magic, it's a wonderful gift from the Universe, it's Paradise, right here, please, please, please don't waste it. Spend it having fun with your friends, or travelling the world, do what you love. Don't do this to the one's you love.
We have an epidemic in this country. Wairarapa has for several years had twice the national rate of self inflicted death, in a country with the highest rates in the world. Every few weeks another family, and all the friends at all the schools, have to go though this. More will be written about this matter in due course, and we must remember that there has been no formal decision regarding the cause of death of Ceridwen Claire Allom yet, and there may not be for some time.
Meanwhile, here's another of Ceri's favorite songs, thanks to her friends for sharing the love, a sweet little song for a sweet little lady who had great taste in music.
No words can describe the utter perfection of Zoe's singing, which still echoes in my heart, or the utter desolation in the hearts of her friends and family as we stood and sat in the little chapel and listened to it fill up the silence and drown out the sound of all the weeping.
Her mummy bore her, and brought her into the world, and loved her more than anything. It took six men to carry her outside into the sunshine yesterday.
That's just not right. Too many of our young people are at risk, and next to NOTHING is being done about it.
One of the people who deserves special commendation in this community is the Deputy Principal of St Matthews Collegiate, Julie Holdsworth.
I'll refrain from commenting here on some of the other staff of St Matthews, or the Board of Trustees, but St Matthews is very fortunate indeed to have Julie Holdsworth.
After the service for Ceri, in the little chapel at the funeral directors, after all the purple balloons had drifted away, we went to St Matthews for a cup of tea. The Principal and others had been at the service, but they weren't to be seen at the school afterwards, instead Deputy Principal Julie Holdsworth greeted everyone and presided over the occasion in her usual impeccably (and naturally) warm and graceful manner - we were a bit of a motley, 'colourful' crew, and it was an extremely emotional time, but Julie Holdsworth has a gift for empathy, healing, listening, facilitating growth, growing potential, emanating compassion, and Julie Holdsworth made us all feel very welcome. Julie Holdsworth is the sort of person Ceri might have grown up to be. It was a very special communion in honour of a very special little lady, who broke our hearts without realising it.