Sad news

Last week was strange and sad.

It started relatively well, but then on Wednesday, we received news that Charlie’s martial arts school was closed for the week. Charlie was disappointed: he’s mad into kickboxing and as many of you know is very proud to have received his yellow belt quite recently.

Friday, the school emailed to tell us that the reason they’d closed was because of the death of Charlie’s Sensei, or teacher, a lovely young man named Henry.  Henry was only in his early twenties.  He was a huge role model to Charlie, who often jabbered on about how cool Henry was and how he was hoping to emulate him by achieving his black belt by the time he was 21.  Without thinking, I rang Charlie, who was out with friends, and told him the bad news.  With hindsight, I should have done it in person. He was devastated.

We’re not sure what happened, but it’s a tragedy.  This young man had a huge impact on the life of my son. Kickboxing is very strict about etiquette, manners and respect.  It’s changed him in lots of ways, not just physically – he’s calmer and more confident too.

As a parent, I think we’re sometimes a bit full of our own self importance, and often forget the enormous effect other people can have on the lives of our children.  I’m so grateful to Henry for being such a fabulous role model, and frankly to everyone at the Martial Arts School for the care, attention and effort they put in with other people’s children.

Charlie will go on kickboxing, but I’m not sure it will ever be quite the same.  Rest in peace, Henry.

19 replies
  1. Adam Barwell
    Adam Barwell says:

    One of my neighbours died when I was 17. It was my first ever funeral and it was difficult, however it made me stronger and as she died so young it inspired me to aim high, obtain what I wanted and within reason listen more to my heart than others opinions.
    The best thing you can do it let him talk and be there for him, which I am sure you will
    Take care

  2. Rachael (Tales from the Village)
    Rachael (Tales from the Village) says:

    Oh how sad. But don’t beat yourself up, lovely girl. You are a brilliant mum and your boys are a real credit to you. Hard to remember sometimes we’re still learning to be parents. Big kiss.

  3. Sarahffelan
    Sarahffelan says:

    Ah poor lad, and such sad news but who knows how best to handle such things until they are upon us? I’m sure you are there for him now so don’t feel bad about it. Agree with Rachel that most of us would have picked up the phone, we are only human after all. I always think the greatest surprise about becoming a parent is the realisation that our own parents don’t know everything and are still learning as they go. I think it’s lovely that you can show you’ve really thought about it through your blog & I’m sure Charlie will be grateful you’ve taken the time to reflect xx

  4. Rachelradiostar
    Rachelradiostar says:

    As I said said earlier, it wasn’t done badly. He had his friends with him who were the best people to be surrounded with. I hate it when life shows itself to be harsh, for our precious kids, who we try to protect from it to some extent. In your shoes, I’d have probably done the same. Knee jerk reactions are not always the worst. X the news was terrible news to give however it was delivered x I hope your son can deal with this as best he can, he has a great Mum to pick up the pieces x

  5. K8
    K8 says:

    Oh that’s awful, I’m sorry to hear that Charlie lost someone so important so soon. Maybe if you encourage him to attend the funeral, or a gathering of some sort with the other kids from the Dojo he’ll get a chance to mourn and celebrate his sensei’s life. It might give him a sense of closure.

    This story’s so close to the bone… I can’t imagine what would happen to kiddo’s MMA club if something happened to her sensei. He’s an amazing bloke, she loves him like a (very strict) uncle!

    • English Mum
      English Mum says:

      Yeh it’s a bugger because we’re actually away for the funeral. Henry was active in a church charity called Habitat for Humanity, so we’re going to make a donation in his name.

      I know, right? They get really attached even though they’re very stern :)

  6. RubbishWife
    RubbishWife says:

    He was lucky to have such a good role model, even if for such a tragically short time. It might inspire him to go on and train to teach kick boxing himself, you never know.

  7. Belinda - Net2Nana
    Belinda - Net2Nana says:

    That is so sad, and as you say, very difficult for your son, especially as his techer was almost a lad himself. RIP Henry. My children found it very difficult when the body of children’s TV presenter Mark Speight was found. They loved SMart and it raised lots of questions some of which I found really difficult to answer.

  8. moon
    moon says:

    You never know, it might inspire him even more, and he will be thankful that someone like this was involved in his life. Very tough at such a young age, however, he might be stronger than you think ..


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