Our dearly loved son, Will, died on Wednesday, 18th January 2006. He was twenty-two and he was our only child. Until he first became unwell in September the previous year, he had been fit and healthy. With his amazing silvery blond hair, hazel eyes and golden skin, he was a beautiful young man.
I never wanted Will to be an only child.
After Will was born, by emergency caesarean, I was never able to conceive again. Fortunately, he always had the ability to enjoy his own company and would chatter non-stop to himself, as he created imaginary scenarios with his adored Lego. My poem, “Castles in the Air”, describes him doing just that.
When Will was seventeen and at Grammar School, I attended an Alpha course at our local church and became a Christian.
When I attempted to tell Will about my belief, he resisted initially, saying that he did not know what he
Not long after this he went with the group to a Christian youth meeting with some friends from church. Others had been praying for him, he said, when his knees began to tremble, his eyelids to flicker, and he felt a hand grasp one of his outstretched hands.
Then he described how he was running, impossibly fast, along side a figure dressed in white, whom he could not see but knew to be Jesus. When it stopped, Will said he wept tears of remorse, saying over and over again, “I am so sorry I never noticed You before, I am so sorry.”
Will gained a place at Birmingham University, to read History. The subject Will chose for his dissertation was Byzantium Iconoclasm. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried, as a layman, to explain to people what that entailed.
It was difficult for Will to come back home to live, having spent three years away. The following summer he accompanied me to New Wine, an annual Christian camp, in Somerset. By the end of the week, Will knew where his future lay. He wanted to enter the Anglican Church. He wanted to train as a vicar. We were thrilled at Will’s decision.
He knew that by becoming a vicar, he would never earn a lot of money but that was unimportant to him. Will worked hard, with the support of our vicar, to gain as much experience as possible, in order to give him the best chance of being accepted for training as a minister.
In October 2005, Will travelled to Edinburgh for a friend’s birthday.
He arrived home full of enthusiasm for the city of Edinburgh and its yearly festival and eager to show us the photographs and slides he had taken.
It was shortly after this trip, that Will first began to feel unwell.
Will died in January 2006 from fulminant pneumonia, following a misdiagnosis of MS. A cause was never established. It was a cruel six weeks, with a tracheotomy Will could not speak but only write on a pad, held by the nurse or by us.
His funeral was incredible, our church was absolutely packed, with people in the entrance and the hall as well and we raised the roof for an hour and a half with beautiful worship songs and tributes.
Will is buried at Little Marlow cemetery. A member of “Memorial by Artists”, who lives High Wycombe, created a stunningly simple headstone for Will out of Welsh slate.
I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me – yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it. Wordsworth
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