He gave a short speech at Helen's funeral in February and he was Amy's class teacher earlier this year before he took ill. She just loved him and said that he was the "best ever teacher". Her class was the last class that he taught.
Coming out his funeral today, I was filled with a strange feeling of regret and inadequacy. Regret that I did not know this man better and total inadequacy as to how much this man fitted into his life and how small my life seemed in comparison. There were many stories and it came through so strongly about how well he listened to people, helped people, soaked up knowledge on all subjects and shared this knowledge. How he loved writing, loved words and poetry, teaching, literature and nature and shared himself with family, friends and pupils.
The minister who delivered the main sermon and eulogy was a close friend. His love for the man, the stories he told and the spirituality they shared shone through this sermon. His son spoke with love and admiration and his daughter was brave enough to sing. He had said that he did not fear death but that he did not want to die because "life was beautiful and he still had so much to do".
There were lovely hymns which the congregation sang with gusto and the a cappella rendition of The Lords Prayer was so heartfelt. It must be my most moving moment in a church, ever.
I left there alone, without stopping for tea. There were people I knew and who I could have chatted to. I could have been more friendly and spoken to them about the "old school days" but I did not want to even although I would loved to have taken a closer look at photographs and letters in the church hall and learned more about this teacher of "mine". But, I still felt that I did not really deserve to be there and that he was not "my teacher". If, at 16 years old, I had been a more responsive student, I too could have learned so much more from him. He was there to give, I was the loser.
"Love is the law of life. We live that we may learn to love. We love that
we may learn to live. No other lesson is required of us."
Book of Mirdad - Naimy