Have You Ever…

…written a eulogy for a 6 year old god-daughter?

Not the opening line of a blog post that is expected, but one with resonance, I’m sure.

I was sitting watching the spectacle of the SuperBowl 50 half time show on YouTube this evening and deliberately wanted to catch the Coldplay set, just after watching ‘The Programme’

Interestingly, there was a video that let me watch the set WITHOUT the Coldplay opening and it got me to thinking…

Soundtracks to our lives

I remember, as clear as today that has just passed, lying on my parents’ bed writing the eulogy to my 6 year old god-daughter who had been killed in a RTA in 2002, with ‘Yellow‘ on constant repeat in headphones. It’s not something that I reflect on a lot, however, the omission from the stream tonight got me thinking… She loved the colour yellow and the song was so timely in what it portrayed and the impact that it has had on my family over the intervening 13 1/2 years.

Everything that defines the family has a yellow tinge… it is always on the periphery of our lives, waiting to remind us of the fragility of life. We are not special, but we have gone through a lot – more than the majority – and still I watch the pillars of my parents coping with the resilience that we try to ‘teach’ people today. Nobody ‘taught ‘my parents that resilience and I can firmly assure that I wasn’t ‘taught’ it either…. However, I watch them from afar being the ‘Yellow’ in their daughters’ lives… The constant, the ‘everything you do’ with  some guilt and much admiration. Being the counsellors and the ‘ass-kickers’ – the models of determination and the guides…

I can remember, with all too familiar clarity, standing at the pulpit, looking down on the Chapel, with the small, yet spectacularly large, white coffin below me trying to convey the feelings and emotions of a family in as a concise and meaningful way. (This was before the time that my ‘Church’ decide to do away with such ‘personal’ tributes). They all watched and waited for the words that were, ultimately, not mine. In my words was a simple tribute wrapped up in the creativity of others – the words of Christina Rossetti in ‘Remember Me’ struck the deepest chord as it hinted at a life not yet fulfilled yet extinguished… And that was then reflected in my own rewriting of ‘Without You’ by Adrian Henri where I added the last line that’Without you, Coldplay would have one less song to sing at their concerts.’


Coldplay isn’t everyone’s ‘cup-of-tea’ which is fine, but the creativity of the writing can not be dismissed so easily. So be it…

I love the risks that Chris Martin and the band take… albeit that they are in a much more comfortable position than we will ever be in – however, there is evolution in the music and passion in the lyrics. That’s why it annoyed me this evening when I had the option to skip over Coldplay to see ‘Beyoncé’ and ‘Bruno Mars’ in the half-time show. Because, when I clicked on the link for the whole show, Coldplay opened with lines from ‘Yellow.’

Personally, I feel that we are all born with genius potential and it is our responsibility as educators to ensure that our children have the opportunity to realise their ‘genius.’ That’s not to say I don’t mess up – of course I do, and I’m sure that for every child that has gone through my class successfully, there’s another saying that I didn’t encourage their potential – so be it…

I have written about my Dad here before and following him up Alpe ‘d’Huez on a bicycle – with the revelations that Armstrong divulged. It is with honest regret that I have a photograph at the top of the mountain with the jersey He wore… however, that is what happens…

When you apply your principles to others, you are inevitably disappointed. When you stay by you own, and when they are validated, you can’t go wrong.

That’s why it annoyed me tonight – we live in an opinionated age. However, when Coldplay, as a band, wrote and composed ‘Yellow’ they never had any inkling of the impact it would have in somebody’s life. The band never knew that 10 years on in Belfast – that the capturing of 2 yellow butterflies in the Odyssey Arena from the show would mean so much to one person…

So, be careful, people..

We never know the impact we make on people nor the legacy we leave.

All I know is that whenever I hear the opening chords, I don’t see a beach… I see a coffin, and several hundred people waiting for me to say the things they are feeling….






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