Kadian always wanted to visit Cupertino

by Debora Harding

As Kadian's Mum I started seeing his unique brand of intelligence and magnetism at 9 in any Apple Store we went. Within 10 mins of walking into a store he'd have a group of fans - usually Apple Geniuses - but one time I caught him with a group of customers doing an Apple TV presentation - it was always the way these products connected to a bigger creative vision that he loved. As he would say - magic. Was just in Cupertino and saw the new Apple campus. Remember the excitement when he saw the plans. Going to be tough being in NY for election when his first Memorial Lecture being held at Bedales but know he'd be in US fighting for a world of connection and respect

Why Does My Son Deserve Media Coverage?

by Debora Harding

Kadian Harding Washington Post

I have been disturbed by the politically hostile reaction I've witnessed regarding the press coverage of lives lost in Paris -- why should the victims of the Paris massacre receive so much more attention when there are regular terrorist attacks going on around the world. 

This sort of thinking is deeply offensive to those suffering grief and the question should be a non-starter.  Imagine this being asked personally of a parent who has just lost their child in the Bataclan seige.

If we want to examine "the news that is not in the news", something many activists dedicate their lives to, then let it be another time.

We were incredibly fortunate in our public support and the media coverage we received in the loss of our fourteen year old son, Kadian in his tragic bicycle accident.  It has made a huge difference to our being able to get out of bed in the morning.  His website and Facebook fan page still receive hits every day, and there isn't a morning when I open my emails and see more comments on geotags that have travelled around the world, that I don't smile.

Instead of the taboo of silence that often surrounds those having to deal with death, I've been met with the grace of media coverage that gives me the courage to not stuff my grief in my gut every time I walk out the door. WHAT A GIFT - but still, in the face of Kadian's loss - NOTHING.  Our lives were destroyed, and three and half years later, are only beginning to resemble sanity. 

The thought that someone might ask "why do you deserve more media support/attention than any other family who has lost a child, why does Kadian deserve more press . . . ?" is god awful.

Thomas is a writer, I am a writer, and we have both worked in mainstream and alternative media. I am aware that our skills have given us a unique platform.

But for well-meaning people to frame a question about media values with 'why so much media coverage for Paris victims?" seems to grossly negate the character of normally generous people.  

I'd ask those concerned about the coverage to pause for a moment of silence before a public rant.

Grief Poem by Edwin Muir chosen by Andrew Marr for British Poetry Week

by Debora Harding in

For Ann Scott-Mancrieff

Heard this beautiful poem on BBC radio today for National Poetry Week - a Andrew Marr selection. He shares Edwin Muir's poem "To Ann Scott-Mancrieff". Muir was an Orcadian Scottish Poet who experienced a huge amount of grief in his life, losing a mother, father and two brothers at a young age. Ann Scott-Mancrieff was a friend of his, a writer, who died at the young age of 28.

Andrew Marr selected the poem with an introduction stating that it demonstrates "how we can care for people we never met."

Dear Ann

Where ever you are

since you lately learned to die

You are this unsetting star

that shines unchanged in my eye

So near, inaccessible

Absent and present so much

Since out of the world you fell

fell from hearing and touch

So near but your mortal tongue

used for immortal use

the grace of a woman young

the air of an early muse

the wealth of a chambered brow

and soaring flight of your eyes

these are no longer now

death has a princely price

you who are Anne

much more

than others are this or that*

"Searching" for Kadian

by Debora Harding

I had never heard the term searching until we lost Kadian. My husband and I were driving to the Sustainability Centre - a difficult thing because we had so many memories of cycling with Kadian on those roads. I kept looking ahead for him as if I was chasing his fleeting shadow. If we just drove faster, we'd catch up. It was closer to a hallucination than a memory. But it wasn't. We could see him so clearly in our mind . . . if we could just drive a little faster. He'd be sitting up, one hand on the handlebar with his knees sticking out the sides like a frog (he had grown four inches in one year and it was the only way he could get comfortable, until he bought his Surly). He'd be whistling and looking out at the country-side. It was always a relaxed pace with Kadian.

My husband told me he had just learned the term for this sort of remembering from one of our many new books on grieving. It's called 'searching'.

I couldn't imagine then, how many places I would start to search and where. Or how my own special brand of searching would evolve. It wasn't just on the roads, or in stores we used to frequent together, though those were possibly the most painful - it was also in places like - the larder.

I still go in four months later looking for him. Is he in one of the flour jars? Is that wheat flour from a bag he emptied? Is he in with the Wilton Candy Melts? I caught him one day tucking into them and tried to get cross - but as with all the other times I tried to get cross with Kadian - he had me laughing in seconds. He wouldn't take me seriously when I'd get angry, and then I couldn't take myself seriously. How about the stale box of Coco Puffs up in the top left-hand corner. Was he up there? Or maybe the wicker basket full of flour tortillas. Nope, those were bought the week of the funeral and we never used them. That's why there are fifteen packs. And there the sugar theme abruptly stops.

Going into the utility room was horrendous the first couple of weeks. We couldn't bring ourself to move his items, but we couldn't bare to walk in and find his clothes, see his shoes, look at his coats on the rack. How is it possible? Our sister-in-law gave us the gift of washing his clothes, folding them and putting them back in his closet without calling it to our attention. A couple of weeks later, we had to get rid of his shoes. We couldn't just put them away until we could deal with them. We would never deal with them. They were more unbearably painful to look at than anything else. But none of that had anything to do with searching. Searching has that elusive fantasy element. It's in a different category all together. And it is not shattering if you understand it.

We decided to transform Kadian's room a month ago because we kept searching for him when we would walk by. He used to sit on his sofa, the one we dragged home from the dump, pat the seat and say "Mum, please come work in my room," or "please come watch a movie in my room." He was so proud of his new space - we had only been in the house for a couple of months. But he never settled the predicament he had of either being by himself in his room, or spending time with us downstairs. That's why nothing made him happier then responding to that pat.

But we couldn't search for him on his couch when his bed was there with the sheets still on it. When his pillow still smelled of his hair. So we garned the strength, with the enormous help of friends and family and turned his room into a place where we can all sit with him.

We decided to keep everything he hung on his wall, and turned the space into a sitting/tv room so that we could be with him at night (the television isn't actually hooked up but it looks the part). The IMac now sits underneath his "Apple Wall of Fame". We are certain he'd be delighted.

But now, when I go to leave Kadian's room, I see the greasy fingerprints he left from working on his bicycle on the inside of his door, and on the wall switch. I want to wash them off. I can't tell what drives me more berserk. Anger because every time I see them, I'm reminded he's not here - or anger that I used to care about getting his mucky hands on the wall. Most likely, it's anger because if I wash them off - they will be gone forever and I won't have his fingerprints any more. For now, they stay because I'm searching . . . searching for the hand that left that print.

(first published on deboraharding.com in October 2012)

Tara Marie Mahootian recalls Kadian's unique spirit

by Debora Harding


After Kadian's death we received so many wonderful letters of testamony to his character. Here is one such great recollection from a friend who spent much time watching him grow into the beautiful young man he had become . . .

I’m reminded of the fervent depth and beauty that was uniquely Kadian. His thriving intellect, creativity, charm and wit were infused with the deepest passion that inspired his kindness, musicality, generosity, and loving embrace. He navigated through life with a multidimensional compass and right measure of sensitivity known by few. I will always remember his contagious laughter and his adorable grin that revealed he was courteously holding back & shielding me from a much larger burst of intense and creative ‘Kadian humor’ surging through his inner world.

Kadian meets his first World Heritage Site

by Debora Harding in

Kadian loved Geocaching because it took him to beautiful places. So we printed 100 geotags in order that people could travel with Kadian's spirit to Unesco's World Heritage Designated Sites of Culture and Outstanding Natural Beauty around the world.

Please join us in celebrating Kadian in a fun and positive way by using this adventure to take you to places you may not have gone - and bring Kadian's spirit alive by taking him with you there.

Below you'll see pictures that Kevin Swain placed in in Frasier Island with his wife Catherine. Kevin is a practiced geocacher and demonstrates here the photo narratives we'd love to have. Please send any photo's and stories of what it was like to take Kadian with you! kadianproject@gmail.com

Frasier Island is the world's largest sand island. Click the link above to read all about this rare biological habitat.

What Is the Kadian Project

by Debora Harding

It was three weeks ago at the Memorial Celebration for Kadian that the purple bracelets stamped with his name and the Kadianproject.com were handed out. Since then, its become apparent that the question we have been asking ourselves, "what form will the Kadian Project take?", is now also on the minds of those who are wearing the bracelets as well.

Right now, it might be easiest to say that www.kadianproject.com is a website rather than a project. Or perhaps it is better to say that it is a project in its "development" phase, or . . . . a website with growing pains that has some really moving content. A website that for the moment looks very nice, with links that work but two weeks ago was a mess without links that didn't work. And lets hope not, but may be a mess again. In short, it is a website that has broken every rule there is to break about its launch - including not knowing why its actually there. So why is it up? Most likely its as simple as having something to hang on to, until more shape takes form.

We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions - and to hear of any thing you might be doing in Kadian's name. You can either reply to this blog - or send an email to kadianproject@gmail.com.

We love pictures!

And don't forget to "Like" the Kadianproject if you are on Facebook.

Kadian's Memorial Celebration

by Debora Harding in

**It's been one week now since Kadian's Memorial Celebration took place at Bedales.  We are still reeling with its phenomenal energy.**

Has there ever been a grief Celebration so deeply moving and cathartic? The stage performance glowed with that loving power that Kadian had.  It managed to capture his sense of fun and charm, as well as his beauty.  It was also a real testament to the way Kadian could deeply connect to people, and in such short period of time. Over 60 people from the Bedalian community performed to a packed audience of over 300 people.      

We were able to thank the performers in each film - but we were not able to thank the people behind the scene. 

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