Dear friends and family,
Welcome to Kingley vale, home to one of Europe’s largest and most impressive yew forests. The yew trees have stood here for as long as 2000 years. A special place for Jo, me and Puck.
Jo & I choose this tree to be the setting to say good bye to our gorgeous Puck. Its limbs and branches gather around us as if giving us a great big hug.
We wanted to express to everybody how much your support has meant to us. Without you we wouldn’t have got this far. We’ve been so touched by the messages of love that we’ve received. Thank you for coming to be with us and walk with us at this special time.
I still cannot believe that I’m standing here having to do this.
But I must!
I want to tell you a few things about Puck’s mum. Things you probably already know. If you wanted a perfect example, a perfect model of how to look after yourself and your baby then look no further than my darling Jo. The love, care and devotion she bestowed on Puck throughout 9 months was beautiful to watch. Sleeping well, eating well, mental preparation. Oodles of reading and plenty of exercise. So beautiful to watch, full of such care, tenderness and kindness. Puck was such a lucky boy and I am so so sad he didn’t get to feel more of his mums unflinching devotion.
I want to wrap Jo up and take her away from this because I am heartbroken when I think of my beautiful girl being separated from our Puck. Everybody should know what an incredible, beautiful human she is.
Why is Puck called Puck?
Some of you may be wondering or not know why the name Puck?
Last year Jo and I went to Shakespeare’s Globe in London Town on the Southbank. We went to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Stuart and Judy. This is where we told them the wonderful news that Jo was pregnant. One of the characters in the play is Puck, AKA Robin Goodfellow. A mischievous sprite, clever with a playful, tricksom, fun loving, quickwitted character. Puck in the play is androgynous. Jo nicknamed her bump Puck that day and it stuck instantly. During Jo’s pregnancy we decided quite quickly on a girls name but could never quite settle on a boys name. We still hadn’t decided when Jo went into labour. After he was born, I went to see him to give him a kiss and strength. I had always wondered what a Puck might look like. When I looked down it was clear he was definitely a Puck.
Adieu mon garcon parfait. Bonne chance et mon coeur sera toujours avec vous.
A song Jo & I used to sing to Puck when Jo was pregnant.
There is a land high on a hill where I am going
There is a voice that calls to me
The air is sweet, the grasses wave
The wind is blowing away up in the farthest field
Oh walk with me and we will see the mystery revealed
When one day we wend our way up to the farthest field
The sun will rise, the sun will set
Across the mountains and we will live with beauty there
The fragrant flowers the days and hours
Will not be counted and peaceful songs will fill the air
I know one day I’ll leave my home
Here in the valley and climb up to that field so fair
And when I’m called and counted in
That final tally I know that I will see you there
Oh my dear friends I truly love
To hear your voices lifted up in radiant song
Though through the years we all have made our separate choices
We’ve ended here where we belong.
[Refrain doubled at end.]
For Josie, my mother On the day when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you. And when your eyes freeze behind the grey window and the ghost of loss gets into you, may a flock of colours, indigo, red, green and azure blue, come to awaken in you a meadow of delight. When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home. May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.
Jo and Matt Kindly asked me to say a few words
Ironically, at a time when finding the right words to support, to explain, to console, has never been more important, trying to convey the powerful emotions we are all feeling is impossible in a short moment. So I won’t attempt to do so.
I have been reading a book by a guy called Harold Kushner. He is a Rabbi who suffered the painful loss of his son at a young age and he was compelled to write a book to honor his legacy and help other bereaved parents and families. There is a passage in the book, written back in 1981, which I found extremely profound and powerful and I want to share it with you.
” We do not choose. We can only try and cope. This is what one does with sorrow, with tragedy, with any misfortune. We do not try to explain it. We do not justify it by telling ourselves that somehow we deserve it. We do not even accept it. We survive it. We recognize its unfairness and defiantly choose to go on living.
I now tell bereaved parents: you have inherited from your child all the years he never got to live. Just as you inherited his books and his toys and his stereo, you inherited his un-lived years.
They area a precious legacy from him to you; use them well. Don’t be afraid to enjoy life just because your loved one isn’t there to enjoy it with you. Live their years along with your own, and feel their presence as you do so. ”
We love you Jo and Matt and we are here for you.
When we are green and young we asked to be loved
When we are wise we asked to be allowed to love
Allowed to love – it is the reason for living
The greatest good thing in life
To love and be loved – that is paradise
We had so little time to hold you and get to know you, but remember that we had been close to you since the wonderful dreamy mid summer night in the Bard’s forest when we heard that you were here and that Puck would be your name – what excitement and expectation as you grew in your loving and devoted Mother – Oh! what joy!
You will for ever be Jo and Matt’s first born and our second grandson and you will always be with us and we with you, in a strong and loving bond. Your name will always be on our lips.
Fare thee well our beautiful and innocent child until we meet again in paradise.
We love you
Nanny and Grandpa
Our precious Puck- our first born son- taken from us, but always with us. Wherever you are –
In the delicate emerging buds of Spring; in the wistful yet comforting song of the Robin; in the soft, sweet moss beneath our feet… may you always feel the strength of our love for you…. my lips pressed softly to your perfect little forehead and Daddy’s strong arms cradling you close. We will never know why you were taken from us so heartbreakingly soon? And I know that no matter how much time passes, the void and pain felt deep within my heart, and these arms that ache for you, and the numbness in my hands that know that they will never feel the softness of your skin- these feelings will never ever leave me.
But I vow to see you every single day in the beauty that is all around us. Even on those very dark days when our grief seems all-consuming; You will be with me; and I with you. Until I join you to fly together amongst the majestic Yews, to dance our dance with the falling leaves of Autumn; glisten magically in the crystals of a Winter’s frost and burst forth in an exquisite carpet of Primroses and Wood Anemone as we herald the arrival of Spring….
To me you were the most precious precious of cargo, for no one but me and Daddy will ever truly understand just how treasured you were; the challenges and the heartache that we alone faced to bring you into this world. Whilst I ache to see you open your eyes, hear your cry, feel you suckle and melt at your first smile and first words, I know that in the few fleeting hours that you spent with us, your unique ‘Puck-spirit’ touched so many.
We will never have the privilege of getting to know you, your personality or of supporting you in fulfilling your promise and this utterly shatters mine and Daddy’s heart. But everyone who spent time in your perfect little presence felt you…. And I know that a heart and spirit that powerful has no choice but to live on….
Puck- you are here with all of us today as we say our farewells. And I find great comfort in the knowledge that we will always find you here, playing amongst the branches of this magnificent Yew tree. Our darling boy- get up to as much mischief as you can; be curious; explore your magical woodland home; stay awake all night to gaze at the starscape; set off on wild adventures; befriend the mewing buzzards and soar high with them…. And I know that- unbeknown to them- you will touch the hearts of all those who walk beneath you…. and that you will be there forevermore whispering a gentle reminder on the breeze to cherish one another, to love freely, openly and deeply and to make the most of each precious rotation of the Earth. For your right to life was taken from you, and Daddy and I are so so sorry that we couldn’t protect you…. but we promise that together we will make amazing and beautiful things happen in your name.
Though our pain and grief is fierce right now, we know that pain is the price we pay for being truly alive and whole. And the overwhelming pain we feel for the loss of you and your bright future must become meaningful and not just pointless and empty suffering….
Our little boy, Puck… I cannot express how much love there is surrounding you here today. And this will be your legacy- through Puck’s Promise you will show that LOVE, and reaching out to those in pain, can make the world turn again. And that through opening our hearts to this omnipresent wonder and beauty, we can and will find joy again.
A Butterfly Lights Beside Us
A butterfly lights beside us, like a sunbeam…
And for a brief moment its glory
And beauty belong to our world….
But then it flies again, and although
We wish it could have stayed,
We are so thankful to have seen it at all.