|"You aren't used to this are you?" I asked
him as he lay so desperately ill in hospital. I was holding his
hand. "About time I did" He replied.
This is one of those lasting impressions my beloved brother left me on
his last day of conscious day in this world. He was so demonstrative
in his love for us, his family, and was unused to receiving any outward affection
from me. It was as if, by holding his hand all day, I could give him
my life and strength and somehow make up to him all those thirty one years
in which I could have showed more love and patience as he battled through
the frustrations of autism.
John, sixteen months my senior, developed from someone who could not
communicate, was obsessive in behaviour and was not considered "educable"
into an extremely social person with his own circle of friends and was also
very kind and considerate. A born leader, he gave his circle of friends
an aim and purpose in life and stamped them with his personality.
It seems strange that he should lose his earthly life at the age of thirty
one, jus the age at which it was considered he would reach his full
potential. A potential which, indeed, was developed to its full after
that major five and a half hour operation to remove a proportion of a rare
benign tumour. The admission that "After I get over this I will get
very upset" displayed his realization of the seriousness of his
illness. A realization and maturity that was painful for us, his family,
The gaunt gangling figure walking down the ward for the first time amidst
his drips and tubes whilst two nurses danced at his side brought tears to
the eyes. He was a "miracle" we told him. He had no
grasp of the word so "wonderful" sufficed. Love abounded around
him. Nurses picked it up and gave it him back. Others knew his
plight, how, of all on that floor, he was the most seriously ill. John
rallied all behind him - patients, visitors and nurses all united in one
wish - for his recovery.
It was not meant to be. God took him to Himself after eight
days on life support. A prayer, prayed in earnest, was answered.
He left the life support machine very quickly, and it was a surprise, even
to those nursing him.
John's view of life is with me eternally. Moments remembered as
we took him abroad for the first time. This was his dearest wish, to
hear another language, use another currency and fly in a plane. Curtains
that didn't meet in our apartment had been "ill treated" and, although
he knew "things were different abroad" he didn't think there would
be no "cereal dishes"! Happily a pudding dish sufficed for
his breakfast of cornflakes. I think he was the original
John had two dear close friends and I think the last comment should go
to Michael who, on hearing of John's death at work, told his parents that
"John was better now - he is being looked after" and sent his flowers
with the message "In loving memory of my dear friend, John"
Sarah Jane Davies,
2 August 1986