Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pippin's memorial service

Yesterday was the memorial service for Pippin Seales. Pippin's death was the event that I mentioned on October 12. The one that slapped me back into reality. At this point I can tell you his name because it's been in the local papers ever since he died in a sand dune / cave collapse at Natural Bridges state beach in Santa Cruz.

As it happens, I didn't go to the memorial service. I offered, instead, to stay at the home of Pippin's parents. Apparently thieves read newspapers these days. As a result they know when funerals are taking place, and thus when homes are easy targets. I stayed at Pippin's home to make sure the house wasn't empty, and head off any trouble. Perhaps that's a sad commentary on our times, but it's better to be prepared. Naturally nothing happened, but if my presence gave the parents some peace, it was time well spent.

In some ways I got to know Pippin pretty well in that home. His picture appears in many places, and the evidence of his life was all around me, just sitting in the living room. The love and devotion of his parents was obvious as well. They may live there, but it was clearly Pippin's house.

For one so young - he was only 11 - his life was grand, and his experience broad. He will be greatly missed.

If you're a parent, please give your kids an extra hug tonight. I may be far too sentimental, but the truth is that nothing in this world is certain. Make sure your children know you love them. The same goes for your parents and friends. Spend each day living the way you want to live, as best you can. These are all clich├ęs, I know, but that doesn't make them less true.

Pippin Seales died at his own 11th birthday party, in the company of friends he loved, in the place he wanted to be, and doing what he very clearly knew he wanted to do. That's quite an example. I hope we can all follow his lead.