Farewell to David



We were looking forward to welcoming our new son David in to the world on, or about, Sept 27th 2012. We’d felt him moving around on the Saturday before this and Gemma started having contractions that evening. The next morning we realised that we hadn’t felt any movement and so went to Epsom hospital to get it checked out. It was with enormous shock and disbelief that we were told there was no heartbeat and that he had died sometime in the last 24 hours. After a briefly returning home to pray with a friend we returned to the hospital for Gemma to be induced. He was born on Monday 24th Sept at 1:20 pm.

His loss has left a big hole in our lives. It may be I’ll be able to write more fully on it at a later stage, but for now I just want to reproduce the letters that Gemma and I wrote to him.

Here is my letter:

‘Dear David

I’m so sorry that you had to leave just before we finally got to meet. There was so much that we missed out on. I wanted to see your eyes, hear your laugh, take you to the cinema, play Frisbee, build sandcastles, teach you to ride a bike.

There’s so much I’d like to know about you too, son. Were you going to be tall? Perhaps you were going to take after your mother and be good at sports – I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been much good at kicking a ball around with you, but perhaps if you’d taken to cycling I might have kept you honest for a bit! Maybe you were going to take after me and enjoy fiddling with computers. I wonder if you were going to have dark hair or fair. I’m sure your sister, Elspeth, would have provided you with lots of entertainment: I think you’d have liked her.

There are many painful things in the world that we would have done our best – and sometimes failed – to protect you from. But there are also so many beautiful things I won’t now get to show you: birds singing, wind rustling in trees, waterfalls, mountains, rain falling from a blue sky, the glory of the heavens, hot chocolate when you come in from the cold, singing God’s praises and, most of all, the love of a parent.

There’s so much I don’t know about you. The only thing I’m sure of is that you would have been very loved. And that we’ll never forget you. In years to come I am sure the memory will fade and the pain will lessen but you will always be our firstborn and always have a special place in our hearts. On that day when all sorrows cease and we finally get to meet face to face I’ll tell you that in person, my precious son.

With all my love

Your Dad’

Here is Gemma’s letter:

”My precious little David

I am sitting here a week after I saw you and it seems so long ago. It’s less than 10 days ago that I felt you moving around inside me and I was so excited because I thought I was going to meet you in a few short hours and we were going to start to get to know each other.

I didn’t know how much I wanted you until I lost you, until there was no hope. How I wanted and prayed that the hospital staff had got it wrong and that you were alive and kicking and ready to come out to face the world.

I will never forget that moment when she put you against me and I held you for the first time. You were so beautiful and my heart was bursting with love for you. You looked so peaceful, like you were asleep. I wonder if you’d have stayed like that or given us many sleepless nights. I wonder if you’d have been a tearaway or a little angel. Only God knows the answers to that.

I will treasure those few hours that we had together, the time I had to hold you and kiss you, to be with you.

I know that you are safe and happy now, David. I know that you are with Jesus and that I will see you again.

Until that time, David, I will treasure those moments we had together as mother and son. And know, my beautiful son, that I will love you always.

With all my love


A Test of Courage

For the last day of her easter holidays I took Elspeth to Chessington. Unfortunately I had no leave left, so started work at the crack of dawn in order to enable us to take off at around 3pm. Chessington was open until 8pm that day, and Elspeth wanted to see what the rides were like in the dark, so this suited us all around.

Now I once persuaded Elspeth, slightly against her better judgement, to have a go on Stealth at Thorpe Park.

John and Elspeth on Stealth

It's a Kodak moment

Although the resulting photo was a classic (even Elspeth agreed) the poor girl was pretty much terrified out of her wits. This wasn’t a mistake I was going to make again. So after we’d done the Rattlesnake, which she loves, and been in to Lorikeet Lagoon to feed the Rainbow Lorikeets, we stopped for a warming hot chocolate and discussed our options. Entirely of her own volition she decided to have a go at The Kobra.

The status display was saying that the queue was 70 minutes, but it soon became clear that it was going to be nearer 50 – still quite long enough. With about 10 minutes to go Elspeth started to look worried.

“We can leave the queue if you want.” I offered, but this was quickly turned down. If we left we’d have to join another humongous queue somewhere else, and that would be a wasted of good ride time. By the time we’d got in to the final cattle pen prior to boarding she was in tears. In vain I tried to assure her that it was no worse than the tea-cup ride, and didn’t swing up as high as the pirate boat, so I hugged her to me and we trekked on board.

About 20 seconds in to the ride the tears disappeared and a huge smile broke out, and about 20 seconds after the ride stopped we were heading around to the back of the queue – now thankfully diminished – for a second go.

“That’s my new favourite ride at Chessington!” she declared as we headed off for home.

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