The Night I last saw you
You were in good spirits. I didn’t make a fuss when you walked out to go to your pals house. It was like any other time you were going to go and hang out with them. You were eager to go and see your friends who you had not seen for the past week. You had been away over half term, up to Suffolk, to see a young girl you had met in the summer and who you were very keen on. So you had arranged to meet and see your friends and catch up before school began again on Monday. So we spent the day doing family shopping. You bought guitar stings and a guitar book. You had a gift certificate from school for doing well on your exams and you bought a book. You loved your guitars. They sit in my room now and I look at them and remember your passion for your music. That afternoon, when you had bought your book, I had for once decided that I would leave you and Dad and your brother James to finish shopping and I would treat myself, so I went to the hairdresser and spent some time and money on me for once. It was a little luxury. I didn’t know that while I was spending time at the hairdresser that I missed spending time with you. I didn’t know. When I got home it was gone 5pm and I had taken the bus home and walked a fair way to get home. I was tired. I didn’t spend much time with you that evening. I didn’t know you would vanish. You ate your dinner. Fish and chips and you asked Daddy to drive you to Chris house. So off you went with Dad and you stood at the living room door, filling the space with your height, and with your lovely sweet face you smiled and said you were going out. I asked you to be home at 10.30 pm., which seemed reasonable, but you pleaded to stay out a bit later and I said okay, no later than midnight. I wasn’t worried or concerned really, you were just going into Cowes like any other night out. You were very tall, about 6’ 4”. What was there to worry about. Obviously I was always aware of the dangers but couldn’t wrap you in cotton wool all your life and had to let you go and trust you. So off you went smiling and with that lope of yours on your long legs, off you went through the door saying ‘bye Mum, see you later’ and as usual I always said be careful. I never saw you again Damien.
I regret that evening every day of my life. I wish I had spent more time with you. Hugged you and touched your cheek. Wish I had listened more to stuff you chatted on about. Wish that I could have been a better parent and been more there for you. I wish I hadn’t just let you stride out of my life waving innocently at me with those beautiful eyes twinkling with mischief. I wish I could have just stopped and listened to that inner voice when I relented and agreed you could come home late. I wish that I had stuck to my guns and the 10.30 pm curfew. But I wasn’t paying enough attention you see. I had wanted to spend a little time just on me doing what I wanted to do. I failed you because if I had not wanted to relax and have a little me time I might have listened to my inner voice. I regret that I did not be the parent I should have been and put your safety first by ensuring you were safe. Dad said he told you when he dropped you off that you should call if you needed a lift home and he would come and get you. I thought you were okay, safe. That you would work out if you were staying the night as you often did at your pals house. I knew you would let me know as you normally would. I didn’t know you were being murdered while I slept. Did you cry for me? Did you call for Daddy? Were you alone and frightened and hurt? You must have been petrified and alarmed that this was happening to you. I wish I could have stopped it all happening by being a better mother and making sure you were home in time. I am so so sorry Damien, my light and my heart.