As the minutes tick away from when I heard that terrible news, I find myself reflecting on very vivid memories, once long forgotten but now at the forefront of my mind.
Seymour is my ‘big’ cousin, 6 years older than I and the oldest cousin in the ‘Clarke’ clan, a position I think he as a child and later a teenager enjoyed and performed with relish.
I remember many an hour spent, snuggled in his duvet in his room in Belsize Lane, reading Tintin. He was always cross to find me in there but I don’t think he minded too much.
As a family we holidayed together, France, Swaziland, Kruger Park and Durban. Seymour keeping Corri and I amused as the adults enjoyed themselves too. We played murder in the dark in Swaziland, argued furiously around Kruger Park as he had more legroom than I. He and Frank ‘baptizing’ me with rum down some leafy French lane. Seymour setting fire to a shoe and lowering it out of the window, in Paris, to annoy our parents three storeys below who had banished us all upstairs whilst they partied through the night.
He was generous too, not only with material things like a computer, or a telescope, he took and developed beautiful black and white photographs at my wedding but with his time too. Methodically trying to help me at 15 understand maths and get me through my O’level. I can see now how he kept a watchful eye over me as a teenager and young adult. Dropping by often to take me out for a drink and put me back onto the right track.
I wish now I had spent more time with Seymour in my adult years and got to know him as a dad. We had a couple of enjoyable afternoons together as a family in Wimbledon and I am grateful for those hours.
I realise now just how proud of Seymour I am and I am sorry I never told him so.