We Remember

Helen's Funeral Speech

Thank you so many for coming here today at such short notice. I know you all loved Ted in one way or another.

 

And a special greeting to Ted’s daughter, Nike and to Ted’s son, Alisdair, together with his wife, Kathrin. Their presence has brought me much comfort these last days. It has been a delight to spend time with you. I am pleased you can experience how much your father was loved, truly loved by so many people. The mails have flooded in from every continent.

 

Ted, it’s not every day you meet a soulmate. Soulmates come in all shapes and sizes. And as you used to say “I’m in shape. Round is a shape.” But when I walked into that kite shop nearly 18 years ago to meet the graphics man from London who knew the Beatles, I had no idea how this was going to change my life – personal and business. There stood a giant of a man with a beautiful voice and I knew that I knew you. And I believe that intuitively you knew the same.

 

You were the eternal optimist - always ready for a new and exciting adventure. You knew no fear as you forged forward. You totally identified with our business of teaching English to babies and children and were our spokesperson and the front person together with me for our business. You did outstanding work in those days before we grew financially stable and you saved our young and fragile company from going under on more than one occasion through your ingenuity and determination. And your strength. Your physical strength. You could carry 2 suitcases of 30 kilos at once without flinching.

 

I loved traveling around Europe in your car - often sitting in complete silence, sometimes singing together. It was quite idyllic. We had harder business moments and your support was always unconditional. When you retired 9 years ago and sold your LC and MF, I thought you would rest more in Germany. But your mother died. She was a wonderful, humorous, strong and upright lady who died at the age of 97. She was still keeping house for you after your divorce. I couldn’t see you ironing, cleaning and cooking for yourself. And, as fate is wont to do, an emergency sprung up at Head Office and we really needed your urgent assistance. In you jumped again, head first, this time leaving Germany for good and moving to Israel. And again you saved the day with international sales.

 

These were golden days for me. With you living but a few minutes’ walk away, we could enjoy walking, swimming and eating together on a daily basis. This happened at work and in Hararit. You became part of our extended family in Hararit, eating with us every weekend and being with us at festivities. Everyone looked forward to hosting you and to your singing. So many of the people assembled here so enjoyed your uplifting and loving company. OK, you had your moments. But don’t we all. You were and you remain an integral part of this company and of our family too.

 

When Benaya and Kyungeun left for Korea, they were given a special picture frame with lots of little photo frames of the family in it. One frame was of you. You were so chuffed that you cried.

 

Although you “could have been my mother” as you used to say concerning age, you were ageless. Always young and you used to say that your “children kept you middle aged”! Your 2 kids, Alisdair and Nike, were the pride of your life. Perhaps they weren’t always aware of that. But that is the truth. You loved them so very much.  You recounted to me every week what was new with them. When you got divorced in Germany, instead of you and your mother moving back to England where you were more at home, you moved in with your mother in the street next to where you lived and rented a large house so you could be with your kids. Many other fathers wouldn’t have done his. But you did. You adored and loved them both and were overwhelmed to be able to open your heart to Kathrin too, who you loved very much. I am so so happy that you three are with us today here. I am sure Ted is too. I am praying that you will have children and at least one will have Ted’s voice and humour. The universe needs this.

 

I talked earlier of how loved Ted was around the world. We have received hundreds of mails and messages for teachers and franchisees who knew and loved him. I’ll read just a few.

From our MF Rafael in Tuscany, Italy:

I am very sad to learn this news.
I met Ted 9 years ago in Rome and have always been impressed by his kindness and elegance disconnected from his size.
Our relationship has always been based on mutual respect that was always renewed at every meeting, E-mail exchange or Facebook message.
The most recent was in Barcelona that has covered me with compliments and at the end of the conference and when I needed to face the difficult meeting with the '"Italian Learning Center Association" he gave me a kiss, saying "Good Luck great man!."
I will always have his voice in my ears and his kindness in my eyes, but we are lucky, we can always have him with us listening to one of our CDs.

Good Luck to you Ted!

From our TT, Pamela, in Barcelona:

"The first photo you took of me, was for the News You Can Use "Feature Teacher". It was the first time i met you, and i was so nervous. I remember how you said to me "smile at me beautiful", and it made my day. Singing with you, listening to your stories and your jokes, your amazing bear hugs and how you made each of us trainers feel like we were the most beautiful women there. I will miss you Uncle Ted, sorely and with all my heart. So you will now sing for the Gods and humour them with your jokes, lucky them. Love always, your Bollywood Babe."

 

Ted, you often said just how grateful you were to David for his practical and physical assistance to keep you in Israel, getting you a work permit and temporary resident’s ID. And also in these last month when you were so ill, especially when I was abroad, when David looked after you daily in hospital until we believed you had pulled through. And at home, David’s strength could get you mobile when your body couldn’t cope with the pain and effort.

 

You had the most amazing CV I’ve ever seen – not much you hadn’t done. You really took a chunk out of life and lived it big! You had many passions, the main ones being Mac computers and also photography. You and David and Maayan spent hours talking about photography. You were a talented painter. I so wish you had continued painting. 8 years ago, you did one of me and Puppy, again the view of the valley. You never ever finished that painting. It was all painted except for me. You wanted me to pose for the painting and I told you to use a photo. I’ll now have to hang it on the wall unfinished.

 

When I was a little mean and digging with you, you used to say “you’ll be sorry!” You said that you mother would say that to you, and now you are sorry. Well Ted, I’m sorry too. I’m sorry for so many things, and especially for being so busy these last months when you really wanted me to sit with you in your room. But I so believed that very soon your back would be better and you would be mobile again. Who could have imagined that you would leave us so suddenly?

 

And you had recently lost 35 kilos – 50 kilos, if we measure it from your heaviest here. I was so looking forward to helping you equip yourself with an entire new wardrobe. I already wanted to buy some things, but you said “don’t bother”. I wonder what you really knew.

Ted, you came to teach us all something. From you I got so many incredible ideas, learnt patience and deep love, and felt the breadth, the expanse, of existence. Don’t understand that wrong. It wasn’t a jibe at your regal size. You just portrayed and showed another take on life, a different one from my own ways of doing things. My understanding of and feel for life was enriched.

 

And who would I turn to understand current event, to understand concepts, correct spellings? You were always there.

2 - 3 hours after you had died, David and I arrived at the hospital and sat and meditated in your small room with you. I was so hoping to really feel you there. But I didn’t really – not in the way I was expecting to. What I did feel was a tiny delicate waft of light enter me delicately and plant itself in my heart. I treasure that.

 

I believe you were a king. But a king born in different times. You weren’t born to deal with cleaning and tidying, or financial issues. Indeed these were not your forte. You were born to rule from a level of benevolence, wisdom, common sense, daring, innovation, and extreme kindness, setting the tone for those around you.

Ted, you are being laid to rest in a country you admired and identified with. You were and you remain bigger than life. I and many others here already miss you so so much.

 

As Rabindranath Tagore wrote:

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

I know you are happy. Watch over me and those you loved and love. 

 

Love, Helen