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.