Radio broadcaster Steve Hewlett has died of oesophagal cancer at the age of 58.
Listeners to Radio 4 heard him share his experiences of dealing with the disease on the Media Show and now fellow BBC presenter Nick Robinson has shared the moving poem he’d written to his friend after revealing he last saw him a ‘few days ago’.
‘One last conversation, so much to say, so little actually said,’ begins the poem written by Nick, which also discussesbeing ‘too British, too male, too stiff upper-lipped to really talk about the fact that it’s a world you and I both know you’ll soon be leaving.’
Nick Robinson’s tribute to Steve Hewlett
‘One last conversation
So much to say.
So little actually said.
But the pills, the piles of sympathetic letters, the constant flow of visitors said it all
We chat, we gossip, we exchange insights about our shared world.
I’m too British, too male, too stiff upper-lipped to really talk about the fact that it’s a world you and I both know you’ll soon be leaving
To talk about the fact that your “battle” is almost at an end
You “fought” they said.
You’ve been so “brave” they said
Yet you know, I know, anyone who has faced it knows differently
Cancer is not a battle.
There is no choice whether to fight let alone whether to win or lose.
No amount of courage no measure of cowardice can decide the outcome.
There is no virtue in survival. Certainly no lack of it in death.
You now know that you will not.
Luck. Chance. Fate. Nothing more. Nothing less.
You didn’t …couldn’t choose
You didn’t …couldn’t decide.
Save, that is, for one thing.
You chose to confront your sickness, your pain, your fear in public
Your decision made thousands realise they were not alone
That really was brave. That a choice that let others know that their sickness, their pain and their fear was not, in fact, just theirs
That one last conversation which was so very worthwhile having.
As I leave you gripped my arm. An unspoken goodbye.
Only now do I know what I should have said.
No one who heard you talk about what you’ve faced will ever forget
Oh yes and one more thing.
On Facebook, Nick wrote: ‘Sad news. My friend, my colleague and a great broadcaster Steve Hewlett has died. I visited him in hospital a few days ago and wrote this knowing that I would almost certainly never see him again.
‘His family said it brought him and them some comfort so I’m sharing it in the hope it may help others – old friends and the many new ones who never met him but felt they knew him.’
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