PANEGYRIC: SHARE THE LOVE
More than just a eulogy
Several weeks after the first experiment; Share the love, some things are evident to me and I’m not trying to be smug when I say this but personally;
- The experiment HAS changed me - FACT
- I am now a better person for it - FACT
- It took me on a road to Damascus, it was life-affirming - FACT
- It has benefitted others around me - FACT
- I’m tired of saying ‘fact’ because I’m starting to sound like a broken record (FACT).
Regardless of the (dare I say it again) facts I want to share something that for me has been one of the best examples of the experiment so far;
When does your childhood end?
It’s a simple enough question. Some might say it’s when you stop playing with toys and playing ‘childish’ games or just when you ‘grow up’, but I was unsure of the answer. But sometime a week or so ago I felt like my childhood ended at the ripe old age of forty-five. Or to go further it felt like the chapter on my childhood was slammed shut once and for all. I don’t play with toys or play childish games or think like a child but a strand that has lived within me all my life felt like it was callously cut off.
What changed? What caused this catastrophe? The simple answer; the passing of a very special woman, the woman for all my life I called Nanny. The pain was sizable. I struggled with the thought that she was no longer with us, no longer living on this planet, no longer a concrete ‘thing’ that I could see, touch, feel, love, talk to and communicate with, no longer a living thing. I truly loved her as she did me. My heart, along with so, so many others was crushed, leaving a dark shadow on it forever more.
I won’t tell stories of how beautifully loving she was, you will just to have trust me that she truly was a wonderful human being. But I will tell you that what did get me through the grief was what I learned from the share the love experiment. After the initial shock and sadness of losing this beautiful person I realised and then decided that I needed to support other members of the family. I quickly volunteered to carry her coffin and compose a eulogy. I had never composed a eulogy before but taking this responsibility gave support to the other family members and gave my mum pride. I reworked it and reworded it a hundred times. Even two days before the funeral I was still unsure if I’d captured ‘it’ which others would share and help them through this grief. If it hadn’t have been for the experiment I know I wouldn’t have even thought about writing the eulogy. The experiment gave me confidence and belief that doing this act of sharing the love was important not just for me but for others.
At the funeral the eulogy was perfect. People laughed and stifled our sadness. Afterwards not only did every member of my family congratulate me sincerely (and we have a big family on my mums side) but I knew it had given us strength and fortified our family bond. The vicar who I’d never met also congratulated me. I heard every conceivable thank you and comment for the remainder of the day until I left them later in the evening to travel back home (a long way from my ‘home’).
I heard different voices and faces telling me; “No one else could have done it but you”, “Mark that was brilliant, I love you”, “You got your Nan down to a T”, “You done her proud”, “Mark, I don’t know how you wrote that but it was brilliant”, “Can I have a copy of that speech?” “That was a brave thing to do”, “I couldn’t have done it”, “You’ve got some balls doing that”, “You nearly went but you didn’t, you kept it together”, “I’m proud of you”, “Your Nan would have been proud”, “That was straight from the heart.”
Strangers I’d never met but who were friends of my cousins and uncles stopped me to say; “That was amazing”, “Great speech”, “That was your Nan”, “I wasn’t part of the immediate family but I remember going round to the house and what you said was what it was like”, “I loved it that you still called her Nanny”, “That speech was unbelievable, it brought a tear to my eye”, “Did you write that yourself?”
From family to strangers there was an over whelming sense of love shared. My Nanny’s eulogy struck to the heart of everyone who knew her because it was from my own heart and we all shared that bond. To have helped people through this grief is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and the power I found all came from the Share the love experiment.
The experience was overwhelming and it made me realise that because of my Nanny’s love and legacy she cultivated and nurtured the magic of my childhood hadn’t ended, it was always there from the magic stoked by the love of the people who share the love. And in that I know my childhood isn’t over because somewhere deep, deep inside me my childhood’s still there. An innocence that I know is in me somewhere. I just need to find the key that my Nanny helped to forge to unlock its magic and its innocence once more. I shared the love.