School of Love

It’s hard to believe that it is only just over two months ago that we took Edward and Arthur for their open day at Powell’s School. Edward loved it, but Arthur was a little more circumspect. He was so happy at Mrs Berry’s, the wonderful nursery that all of our children have attended, and had made it absolutely clear that he wanted to stay there, in his words, “forever”. So it was been with some trepidation that we have been waiting for Arthur’ first day at school to arrive, especially without his twin brother around to keep him company.

The tension started building last week when Clare and I attended the pre-term parents’ meeting with Arthur’s teacher. Our meeting was at 2.30pm, but we had also been due to meet Edward’s teacher earlier at 2pm and although this had been cancelled it was still heartbreaking. I won’t mention any names because I haven’t asked permission and it’s not fair to do so without consent but I know that some of the teachers read this blog and I want them to know how wonderful we think they are. Quite a few came to Edward’s funeral but due to the emotion of the day I didn’t see or thank them and I hope that they will see this and that it makes up for my oversight.

The dominant feature of the meeting with Arthur’s teacher was tears, and lots of them, from all of us. But, it made everything so much easier for us to be able to see their empathy with our pain and it would have been awful had it been clinical, efficient and unemotional. I have always been very fond of the school and it will now have a place in our hearts forever. We saw several members of staff whilst we were there, all of whom hugged us and shared our tears. Most importantly we could feel how genuine it was. The hardest moment came when we popped in to see Edward’s teacher whose class he was so looking forward to being in and I know from meeting her that he would have thought she was wonderful. She handed over Edward’s file which included photos taken of him during the open day, some of his drawings and the notes that Clare had lovingly written about the special care and attention he would have needed. I was not expecting it and it was so, so hard. Too hard. Afterwards, Clare and I went to sit in the playground to wait for Alice to finish for the day and watch some of the children in the playground. There were plenty more tears.

By the time Monday morning arrived, Arthur had demonstrated that we did not need to be worried about him. He had practiced putting on his uniform the night before and in the morning was up bright and early, demolished his porridge and got changed way before his sister. He proudly paraded his new uniform in the kitchen in front of John and Jenny and even turned to Alice and told her not to worry because he could now look after her at school. He chatted happily all the way during the rainy 5 minute walk and pretty much waltzed into his class. Much of the credit for this must go to Mrs Berry and her fantastic team, who have done such a wonderful job of preparing our children for school. Thank you, all of you – we are going to miss you.

Watching Arthur was lovely but very emotional. I was ok until one of my friends gave me a hug, the kind that has that tiny little extra squeeze of care at the end, and it completely set me off. I stood back in the school yard as Clare took Arthur in and had a good cry. Thankfully it was raining so my face was already wet and I think I may have got away with most of it!

As I write, both Alice and Arthur are now back home and the day has been a great success. I don’t want to call it bittersweet, because it doesn’t do justice to the immense pride that we felt for all three of our children. Bitter is just the wrong word. Edward might not have been there physically, but he was, is and always will be a part of this family and he has played an enormous role in making us the family we are. Yes, there was plenty of sadness and the now ever so familiar pain of simply missing him, but it was encompassed within the great gift of love that Edward has bestowed upon us.

Love is Edward’s legacy, and we will do everything we can to keep it safe in our hands.

7 thoughts on “School of Love

  1. James Warne

    The kids look magnificent in their school uniforms Andy. As always a very moving entry. I admire how you find a light shining at all times through this. I don’t doubt that this light is Ned.

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  2. Sparky

    What a gorgeous photo. You can almost feel Arthur’s excitement Andy. Am so glad that Arthur’s first day went so well. You continue to be an amazing example to us all as a family. Sparkle x

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  3. Katherine Kirkland

    Hi Andy,
    I love to hear about how things are going with you all, it makes me cry with the sadness, but I am amazed and inspired by your whole family’s love and strength. Arthur looked fantastic, as did Alice on that first day.

    Hugs to you all. xxxx

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  4. Melissa Pittock

    What a gorgeous photo….Arthur looks like he can hardly contain himself with excitement ! Thinking of you all. Xxxx

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  5. Cally

    Such a great picture. We’re so pleased Arthur had a got on so well. It sounds like a lovely school. You’re all still in our thoughts every day. Love to you all.
    Cally, Stu and Jude xxx

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  6. Pam Kay

    I read your recent blog Andy which was so good as usual. It must have been very difficult fo you all as a family when the new term started. Looking at Arthur, his wee smile said it all and you must have been delighted that his first day went well. Alice is an amazing wee girl too and I am sure despite your sadness, they do keep you from getting too withdrawn. Although life does go on for us all, it is still very sad that wee Edward is not here but I am sure he continues to look down on you all, returning the love you gave to him every day. He will always be with you wherever you go. Try to keep thinking of the happy times you all shared together and I’m sure it will help in time. Thinking of you all…Pam xx

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  7. Norma

    Hi Clare, Andy;
    What a wonderful photo! Arthur looks so excited! Well done Team Wheatley; however you managed to prepare for the start of school for all of you, but in particular for Arthur, you obviously got it right. To know that Arthur’s first day was such a success is lovely.
    I dreaded this day for you ; and secretly /selfishly was protectively wandering(for a split second!) if Arthur could stay another year at Mrs Berry’s. How wrong would that of been for him; he is obviously ready to move onto this next huge milestone and that is such a credit to you two; and the continuing support of family, John and Jennie, who i believe was once a teacher.
    I guess all milestones for Arthur will be met with mixed emotions ; but i imagine Edward’s gorgeous beam of a smile will be there encouraging you all on.
    You only have to look at that photo again; well done !!!! With much love+ best wishes. XXXXXX

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