© Lionel Beck - North Yorkshire - UK John Baverstock John had a son and a daughter, and was the victim of a broken marriage. Then he met Susan at work and they fell in love. She also had a son and a daughter, and was married to a violent man by whom they suffered physical and mental abuse. In due course he was persuaded to leave the marital home - an idyllic smallholding set in a North Yorkshire forest - but still the harassment continued. John moved in with Susan. They wrestled with debts Susan's husband had left behind and tried to turn the neglected farm into something worthwhile. None of these difficulties diminished their love for each other; and John was accepted by Susan's children, and also by her parents. The ex-husband faded into the background, and life at the farm reached a welcome equilibrium. Just when they felt they could look forward to getting on with their own personal paradise, disaster struck. Susan was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive cancer. So that she could avoid staying for long periods in hospital away from her children, John made daily trips with her to Leeds for treatment (a round trip of about 120 miles) for weeks on end. As her health deteriorated, and pain and suffering increased, John left his job to became her devoted carer, medical attendant, housekeeper, cook, gardener, "father" to her children; (It was at this point that I was appointed as the children’s school transport driver.) The disease stubbornly refused to respond to treatment to the point where Susan and John's intended walk to the paradise garden became the inevitable journey to the local hospice, from where she was eventually returned home for a final few weeks amongst her loved ones. Knowing her children would be cared for by her parents the love between Susan and John was so strong that they talked themselves into a suicide pact. By this time John had become so involved in Susan's life that even the thought of his own children was insufficient to change his decision to walk into the unknown shadow with her so they could forever be together. It didn’t work out like that. Susan died; John survived. He tried to struggle on without her, but attempted a second appointment with death, again without success, from which he drew certain conclusions about his life. There is a happy conclusion to all this ... John eventually found a new love and a purpose in life. He is in regular contact with his own two children. He has a good job and also raises a lot ot money for charities. I am happy to count him amongst my friends. During Susan's illness John wrote a book (as yet unpublished) about their experience. He also wrote some poems (usually in the early hours of the morning), and these are reproduced here. Lionel Beck.   Where Light is Love (Written soon after John met Sue) The thought of you goes through my mind A woman of my dreams at last I find Someone to whom I can look up to To put some joy into one so blue For so long now, love has been a thing of the past That came along once but did not last Just when the door seemed shut so tight Out of the window peered a light As I look to the light I see a new start Someone to pick up a broken heart Where it will lead to I don't know But it's a journey on which I long to go I look to you as that shining light To bring me out of the dark of night The tender moments that we may share I hope will show you how much I care Already you seem always on my mind With you happiness I hope to find These few words to you I write My new beginning, my shining light. ©John Baverstock 1994   John Baverstock Poems of Love, Life and Death Encouragement (Written after cancer diagnosis) These last few weeks have not been the best And has probably been our strongest test. But, like before, we have come through Because its what it takes to be well again, The strength and character to beat the pain. I'll be there to help you through With all my care and love for you. This I know is not enough And is why you have to be so tough. But believe me you can beat the "C" Because I need you here with me. We have a life together to share And can only do it as a pair. Two more reasons why you must pull through, Sam and Hannah need you too. We love you, darling, you know it's true For all of us, its what you have to do. The children and I have to be so strong As the road to healing is very long. The hurt and fear we feel inside Is something that none of us can ever hide. For you to be well and with us again, Is the only medicine to heal our pain. ©John Baverstock 19th March 1996   To My Darling Sue (Written in response to illness being diagnosed as Terminal) I once described you as a shining light That brightened up the darkest night. With you my life did start anew That brought me love I've know is true. You picked me up and made me strong, You restored my pride, which was lost and gone. You taught me to live, love and care. In all my troubles you did share. I owe so much to you, my darling Sue, My debt is love and overdue. These last few months I've tried to care, To ease your pain, by being there. I look at you with saddened eyes, This dreaded cancer we both despise. Our lives have been shattered beyond repair, This wretched disease brings nought but despair. I can't hide the pain I feel inside, My eyes so red from tears I've cried. As each day passes I dread and fear The thought of you not being here. So if the light can no longer shine, Then your darkness will also be mine. When this day comes, my debt is due, I'll give my life, to be with you. For this is all that I can give And in eternity we both shall live. So as we go into dark of night We shall be one in everlasting light.  ©John Baverstock  16th July 1996 Broadhead Farm Our home is a beautiful place. It is up in the forest, surrounded by grace. It was once a run-down, derelict farm, Now fully recovered with beauty and charm. Its a place where animals are free to roam In the buildings and field they find a home. Our animals range from small to big With hamster and ferrets and a pot bellied pig. We have Lilac the goat and some lambs and sheep, Freddie the pony who we bought quite cheap. Potty the pig who sleeps in the straw, A spaniel called Meg, you just can't ignore. Two English bull terriers called Rosie and Moose, Plus Tip the Sheep Dog wandering loose. We have ten cats, seven girls and three boys And twenty odd chickens making plenty of noise. In the front garden there are flowers and plants From asters to roses and even chrysanths. There is lavender and dahlias also to be seen With rockeries and trees and a lawn of green. Also in the kitchen garden from seeds we have sown There are vegetables and fruit, all home grown. All have been added to give the place charm, It is our home, it is Broadhead Farm. ©John Baverstock 29th July 1996 Myself A poem about myself I will try to write, Not totally dim, but not over bright. Sometimes clumsy, and sometimes daft, Always good hearted and willing to graft. I'm quite laid back, but not very daring, I try to be patient, loving and caring. The people around me I love and respect And the same from them is all I expect. I've been a failure from time to time But these last two years I've started to shine, And finally getting some good out of life Which far surpasses my troubles and strife. In the past I've come through heartache and pain, Dusted myself off and started again. Just when things seemed right for me, The cruellest twist is about to be. Yet another huge blow for my body to bear, Sent once again into wretched despair. There comes a time when enough is enough, And the game of life is just too tough. The rules seem to change from day to day, It seems to be one game I cannot play. So with sadness I admit that I'm beat, No more comebacks, just accept defeat. ©John Baverstock 9th August 1996 Questions for God (Written in response to an invitation to talk to the Hospice Chaplain) I often wonder if there is a God at all, And if there is, does He hear my call? Does He listen when I say a prayer? Or are my troubles not his to share? Why should I take time out to pray When I see so much suffering every day? Why does God let people suffer, Kill and abuse and torment each other? Why does He look down from high above And never help those we really love? What does He understand about the human race? Why does He never show his face? Why can't He put right all that is wrong So people can live together as one? So in our lives there'd be no more ill And we can believe it through God's will. Then this world would be a better place With a healthy, loving, human race.  ©John Baverstock  11th August 1996 The Hospice (In Praise of St Catherine's Hospice, Scarborough, N.Yorkshire) I look through the windows at surrounding trees Watching the leaves twitch in light summer breeze. There’s the garden with various colours to see, Even a summer house for afternoon tea. There’s a distinct air of peace all around Set in this quiet idyllic ground Where the sick can relax in a tranquil place Away from the things they can no longer face. The sick and the dying get great personal care That even their families are happy to share. The rooms inside are tastefully decorated Where all the home comforts have been created; Where privacy and dignity take pride of place That make the uncertain future easier to face. The staff go cheerily about their tasks, Happy to do whatever you ask. You’d never believe how relaxed it is To be in the care of St Catherine's Hospice. ©John Baverstock 11th August 1996 A View on Death The grief that death brings to all When someone you love gets their call, Trying to live without them there, Thinking of all the good you used to share. Can your relatives cope with the grief, Come to terms with life's greatest thief Hoping they've got strength to carry on Knowing that their loved one has gone? Who will comfort and ease their pain, Will they ever be the same again? These are things you come to fear When you know death is near. To know the fact that your dying Can't ever stop the strongest crying, Wondering whether you'll die in pain Will all your dignity still remain? Will all my loved ones be around For the journey that I'm bound? And look at death with strange relief That stops the pain and ends the grief. Knowing that suffering will be no more As you walk through death's darkest door, And look at death as a welcome friend That brings all this misery to a final end. ©John Baverstock 12th August 1996 Destroyer of Love (Bitter Thoughts about my Love's Ex-Husband) Not one shred of decency in you can I find. For your family you've brought misery through the years Through your drunken abuse they have shed many tears. You had three important things in your life - A son and a daughter and sweet Sue, your wife. Yet they were mere objects that stood in your way, So you caused them much misery day after day. You would drink so much from morning to night Then with ill temper you'd row and you'd fight. The target for abuse was usually Sue. Why she stayed with you God only knew. For so many years you had countless affairs, Your wife and your children the last of your cares. The love for the bottle grew stronger each day, Yet your family were slowly slipping away. There were times when to violence you would resort Hitting your wife without care or thought. You'd taunt and torment her throughout the day Getting progressively drunker along the way. But if she fought back - and she usually did - You'd vent all your anger on one of the kids. For years this went on, but you couldn't care less, Your twisted mind and a heart of emptiness. Your anger and abuse, like an ill wind did blow Yet no regret or remorse did you ever show. You are selfish as selfish can possibly be, Your actions to many are so cowardly. With time, wretched man (I can't speak your name) You will reflect, with sorrow and shame, Living with all this you'll just have to do, Knowing that your family really despise you. ©John Baverstock 8th September 1996 Sleep (The Final Poem) Sleep, sleep, peaceful sleep. A watchful eye over you I keep. Flicker, flicker, your eyelids flicker, Your body getting tired and sicker. Twitch and writhe, the pain is strong. How much longer can it go on? Weep, weep, the tears just flow, Try to run away, yet nowhere to go. Hurt inside, a broken heart, Sadness, emptiness, torn apart. Nothing left, except for fear, Knowing that death is getting near. Slowly sliding, slipping away, Stop the pain! Stop today! Peace at last, hurt no more, Take that walk, go through the door. Suffering ends, pain has gone, Battle over, cannot go on. Sleep, sleep, peaceful sleep, Watchful eye has gone to sleep.   ©John Baverstock 21st September 1996 Made with Xara Web Designer