Friday, 10 June 2011

Mourning a little boy I didn't know

May Nemo rest in Peace and may God help his friends and family in their grief. My thoughts and prayers to everyone who’s ever lost a child.

I went to a funeral this week, that of a 10 year old boy I’ve never met, nor do I know anyone in his family. But Yat Yeung “Nemo” Tin’s story moved me the minute a friend of mine told me about a child who had died in a road accident. He said he knew Nemo from church where the little boy had been a regular ever since, eighteen months ago, his mother brought him there for the first time. But she only spoke Chinese and not English, so she didn’t come back and Nemo took to walking to church all by himself every week, striking up a friendship with adults and kids alike. The friend also described the way in which Nemo would go smiling and waving to people on the street. He’d even made friends with the grumpy corner florist whom he would startle by jumping from the back and poking him in the ribs.
Something about this, the idea of a little boy who only had ten years to live and went so far to reach out to perfect strangers touched me to the core. It’s like he knew his time was limited and made the most of his short life. The fact that someone like me who'd never met him reacted with such emotion to his story reinforced the thought that Nemo was indeed special. London newspapers covered his death because it brought to light an unsafe crossing near Royal Albert Hall.
So I found myself at Nemo’s funeral, surrounded by others who didn’t know him but felt the need to come, by his friends of all ages and walks of life and also by school children who should never have to mourn a fellow pupil. Nemo’s mother stood stoically in her devastation, even as she kissed her son’s casket goodbye when it was taken away by a horse pulled hearse.
When I told Nemo’s story to my driving instructor, he said “that boy must have been an angel”. Exactly my thoughts.

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