Lory del Santo from Italy was the proud mom of 4-year-old Conor. But just as things were turning for the best for her and her son, everything changed in the most tragic possible way. This story may be familiar to some of you, but it never fails to make me cry over and over again.
In 1985, Lory del Santo met a charming man from England. They immediately took a liking for each other and soon began a relationship. It turned out he was a famous musician, at the height of his career.
A few months later, Lory discovered that she was pregnant. She was overjoyed and hoped her boyfriend would be too… With full confidence that they were to share a future together, she gives him the big news. But his reaction is not what she expects. He says he’s not ready for kids, to be a father, and the two end up splitting. He needed time to sort out his own life first.
After some time apart, things changed. He decided that he was ready, and comes back to Lory. They are once again a unit by the time son Conor is born in August 1986.
Happy times follow Conor’s birth. The family live happily in the English countryside and enjoy a great life. For some time.
After a while, dad begin to falter again. He is not sure that he genuinely loves his. He doesn’t know quite how to behave with him — he’s scared and insecure. He begins drinking. But gradually realizing he needs to change his life around, he checks himself into a rehab center.
Lory and the dad chose once again to take a break, but remain in touch. Lory and little Conor move to Italy, where the father visits them occasionally.
Conor is a playful and happy boy, who especially loves listening to his father’s music.
On March 19, 1991, the dad decides it’s time to truly change his life. It was a very special day: Dad decided he and Conor would have their first full father-son day. They went to see the circus in New York, and had a great time. On that day, dad decided he wanted to spend as much time as possible with his son. So he decided he’d take him to the zoo the very next day. Conor was so excited, he could hardly sleep the night before.
At the time, Conor and his mother were living in a skyscraper in New York. The morning after the circus outing, Conor was playing hide and seek around the apartment with his nanny, waiting for his father to pick him up. A janitor was meanwhile in the apartment cleaning its large glass windows. The apartment had several big windows, but these were always kept closed for security reasons. That day however a window was open, as the window cleaner did his work. It was then that the unfathomable happened: As Conor tried to hide from his nanny, he ran straight towards the open window. He believed that the glass pane, as always, was closed, and planned to hide behind the curtain.
Tragedy took its fateful course. Young Conor fell 49 storeys, landing on a nearby building. Lory ran into the living room when she heard the babysitter’s screams, but it was too late. She completely broke down when she realized what had happened. Minutes later, the father had arrived… to pick up his son. But Conor was already dead.
The father in this story is artist/guitarist Eric Clapton. One way he tried to manage his grief was by writing a song, that you already have likely heard…
… “Tears In Heaven”. I never fail to cry when I hear this song. But it’s also a valuable reminder to seize every day, and never take anyone for granted.
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