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Six years – remembering Sam Puttick and his parents Neil and Kazumi

June 1, 2015

Today is remembering Sam Puttick and his parents day.

Six years ago Friday just gone, I was walking into the office where I’m sitting now, and Sam’s dad Neil texted me to say always remember Sam, his 5 year old son at the time, who died shortly after on 30th May 2009, of meningitis.

Neil and Kazumi had kept Sam alive after a road accident which had injured Sam so severely he had to be ventilated and had no movement from the neck down. If I’d known how deep their struggles were in the years to follow, I’d have moved in next door to help, but somehow we didn’t, so we didn’t.

But in those short years they lived a whole life. They were survivors and livers of life, but in a humble and honest way. Neil fought for his son and wife throughout, telling me of his many struggles with social barriers, isolating behaviours from people who they’d counted on as friends, unjust and unfair treatment from insurance companies, deep difficulties with family relationships, all on top of his single mission to keep his son alive long enough for a medical breakthrough that would help his son regain some movement.

All three of them were soldiers, survivors, serving the mission of life, pushing beyond the human endurance that the constant bombardment of emotional and physical torments could throw at them. Alas like the common foot soldier, they were felled by the risks of their mission, going down like the first violinist on the Titanic, playing on.

Of course they could have made it, just like a raindrop can make it when it falls onto a dry field and a thousand years later bubbles up in a spring, but for them, as it is for many raindrops, the journey ended when it did. Sam died on 30th May and soon after Neil and Kazumi threw in the towel. After six years of wondering, I think I can understand now why they did what they did.

So here’s remembering Sam Puttick and his courageous mum and dad, Kazumi, and Neil Puttick.

I’m typing this in my office and I refuse to cry in front of everyone. Neil wouldn’t have, so neither will I. I’m looking at the bright daylight and hearing the London traffic, life goes on, and that is why I’m remembering, so it goes on in a thoughtful way, keeping the spring bubbling.

And let’s celebrate the things we do to treat each other inclusively – when we recoil from a person who initially scares us take a moment to turn back and re-engage – this is the behaviour which makes our society inclusive and is what makes life good.


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