Introduction to Adam Clark

Audrey Odell (2005)

I was honoured recently to attend the funeral of a young man who had tragically died in a road accident. I have been fortunate that in my 50 odd years of life I have only attended a handful of funerals. Close relatives being my brother, my father-in-law and my grandparents. The deaths of these people, particularly my brother, had the expected, devastating effect and my grief took many forms for many years. I am not here to talk about handling grief, we are all different and bear this unwanted emotion in our own individual and varied ways.

The funerals, however, I have in the main, found to be 'unmemorable', particularly with my lack of understanding when people have advised that the event should 'draw a line' under the passing of someone dear to us. For the death of someone close, who has been part of your life, I believe that this is neither the intended function nor the usual effect, of funerals as a whole. At the time of these funerals, I mostly found them disturbing and deeply upsetting.

The funeral I recently attended was the most emotive event I have attended, ever! That included sales and team building events, geared totally to 'moving' or 'galvanising' the attendees, to action. The focus of this funeral was the life of the young man aged 19, who had, as they say, 'everything to live for'. However, the form and content of this funeral was truly a celebration of a short but unbelievably potent life. The emotions evoked included joy, laughter and of course sorrow, as we remembered that Adam would not be 'around', in his day-to-day activities, or the year-to-year fulfilment of his anticipated life plan.

My husband and I had been fortunate in having the opportunity of getting to know Adam, from Christmas 2003 to Summer 2004, just 6 months. To put this in context, we live, handily placed for youngsters (friends of my daughters), to 'drop in', typically before and after a night out, as there is little transport to surrounding areas (except taxis and for students these are a much to be 'avoided' expense). These youngsters come and go, we say Hi; we have the odd, usually fairly 'one-sided' chat, which is exactly as expected with teenagers. Not so with Adam. At the time we recognised he was 'different' in the most indeterminate way. He was a typical lad, driving his pride and joy 'Peugeot 205GTI', loving Top Gear, a good night out, lots of friends and from what we knew his music was pretty eclectic but definitely included R & B and Rock. The latter was understandable as he played the drums, even in his Gap year he went off for his late afternoon drum lessons.

The difference with Adam was that when he came into our home for the first time, he made sure we knew he was there and whom he was. Each time he came, he would never fail to speak to us; even his quick 'Hi' if passing by, had a message. It could say he was tired, happy, a little worried (though still smiling), but in the main, it just said, (if he didn't), 'It's me, Adam'. So, about the 'difference', just what was it?

Adam wasn't perfect, he would have told you so and discussed his 'bad habits' and weaknesses. He didn't even notice that people were 'drawn' to him. This is where I start my 'fade out', to leave the wealth of others to take over. How and why Adam died is of little importance. The focus of everyone who knew Adam, to whatever degree, is the influence he had on people he met and the continued influence his memory will invoke.

My last contribution to this text is to say that the funeral assured me that the Adam I came to know was the real Adam, only he was more of all the things that had 'made him different'. I hope the reader has the time to scan through some of the tributes and Eulogies from the funeral. The site has been designed to be a means for the publication of memories of Adam that anyone may wish to share. These may be photos or anecdotes and of course some of the most apt poems and submissions dedicated to Adam and made available for the Trust, to help us all remember and understand more 'About Adam'. This site is dedicated to the memory of Adam and the future success of The Adam Clark Memorial Trust, with its achievement of their common aim, to 'make a difference'