The death of a pet is often a challenge for children, but generally the kids at school all took it pretty well. A bearded dragon is not the easiest pet to form a relationship with, and unlike a cute or fluffy class pet, he wasn't exactly adored by the masses for his cuddliness. Still, I did shed a tear for our old scaly mate when he finally bit the big one and so did some of the more sensitive kids that were helping me care for him at school over the last few weeks.
I will never forget my own first experience of death when I was around eleven. I found three baby birds that had fallen onto the ground from a nest. I recall being doggedly determined to become mother to these young fluffy chicks who responded with open beaks and hungry cries at my touch, and even though my father had warned me that they would never survive without care from their real mother, I was sure that I would make a suitable replacement.
I dug up worms all afternoon and found an eye dropper to administer water into their tiny beaks and really thought that I was making a difference. The first of the chicks died within hours of me finding them, the second died later on that evening and the third perished overnight.
I recall being absolutely devastated that I could not save their tiny lives. I had such high hopes for them and visions of releasing three healthy birds into the wild with a dramatic toss of my hand in a teary but happy farewell ritual. The death of those tiny birds had a profound affect on me because it was at that moment that I sadly realized that regardless of our best intentions, we just cannot save all of the abandoned, sick and dying creatures on the earth. Those tiny birds taught me that death is inevitable and unbeatable, no matter how much you don't want it to be and the crushing reality of it and my own defeat to death left me weeping for hours and hours. I recall believing at that moment that I would never stop feeling sad ever again.
The permanency of death is indeed a crushing blow to endure, and when you are only eleven years old it feels just as intense about a few baby birds or an old lizard as it does about anyone or anything. These first early brushes with death are quite shaping and certainly aren't easy, but there is an intense respect for life that blossoms from even the earliest realization that all life is fragile and impermanent.
Socrates once said - Death may be the greatest of all human blessings, and I think that he was right on the money with that one. It is only when we fully embrace our own mortality that we can truly begin to understand the importance of living our lives to the fullest. Some of the most important lessons in life are learned through our sadnesses, and the reality of death is most certainly one of those lessons.
Release Date: 2007
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 90 mins
This British comedy directed by Frank Oz really cracked me up. I know that funeral humour is not going to be everyone's liking but I thought that the cast did an excellent job of carrying a slapstick comedy that has such a dark premise.
When a dysfunctional family's patriarch passes away, they attempt to sort out all of the minor hiccups that occur on the days preceding the funeral with as little fuss as possible. However, when their own glaring problems become mixed with the mounting new issues, things start to unravel and the result are hysterical.
The cast is great here; strong and notable efforts are offered by Peter Vaughan, Alan Tudyk and Peter Dinklage, all of whom had me in stitches. In 2010, an American version of Death at a Funeral was released, but the British one shits all over it's loud and far too try hard efforts, see the original and you wont be disappointed.
FINAL SAY: What are you doing in my dad's coffin?
4 Chili Peppers