Lessons in Dying

In Belgium, some are upset that a teacher in the Netherlands has asked her elementary school class to design her coffin. Diagnosed with cancer, she got permission from each child's parents and none of the kids seems to have a problem with it. Sounds beautiful to me:

A DUTCH primary school teacher dying of cancer is overseeing one last class project: her pupils are making her coffin.

Eri van den Biggelaar, 40, has just a few weeks to live after being diagnosed last year with an aggressive form of cervical cancer.

She asked the woodwork teacher, a friend, to build a coffin for her. "Why don't you let the children make it?" replied Erik van Dijk.

Now pupils of the school in Someren, who normally plane wood for baskets and placemats, have been helping with the finishing touches. They have already sawed more than 100 narrow boards and glued them together. Only the lid needs to be completed.

The coffin now stands in the middle of one of the classrooms.

Although Miss van den Biggelaar can no longer teach, she has looked at sketches of the coffin and is being kept up to date about it by pupils, aged between four and 11, who visit her at home.

"Life and death belong together," she said. "The children realised that when I explained it to them. I didn't want to be morbid about it, I wanted them to help me. I told them: 'Where I will go is much nicer than this world.' "

1 comment:

tiny robot said...

That is incredibly touching! I don't remember liking any of my teachers (or disliking, for that matter!) enough to help construct a coffin for them.