Saturday 26 March 2022

for Rhys


This is the letter I would like to give to you, but if I am  unable to do so, have attached a copy to my Will with the request that you receive it after my death.

TO: Rhys Douglas-Wilson

written on 26 March 2022


Dear Rhys


I am writing this to you as your grandfather - your dad's dad. I hope I am still alive when you read it so that we can meet. I have missed being able to get to know you, but if I am no longer alive I hope it will help you understand who I was.


I did meet you when you were a few months old, but your mother decided I could not be your grandfather and since that day I have little idea what has been happening in your life. I hope all is good and that you are well and happy. This is the only photo I have of you, with your dog, Whitney


I have not been too well in recent years; brain operation, heart surgery, stroke and heart valve infection. I spent a lot of my convalescent time thinking about you and about your dad, my son, who I love very much.


I was given a lot of support from my wife Anne and from your uncle Ben. He does not have an easy life but is very brave and positive. I hope you have the chance for a good relationship with him. 

Even after seven years I still do not know why Jonny has agreed with Maria to cut me out of his and your life. You will have to ask him. 


I am sure Maria is a great mum and I know that Renata is capable of giving you a lot of love.


When Maria 'sacked' me as your grandfather she told me that her  reason was that I had 'selfishly' taken Jonny into a 'war zone'.  This is UNTRUE as Jonny came to Mostar four years after the war there had ended. His stay there changed his life for the better **


She told others that, I chased 'hookers’ (prostitutes) in New Orleans. Again UNTRUE. She refers to a day in that city when I went to look for an elderly black guy I had met and to whom I had promised $20. After getting the money from a cash dispenser I told Maria and Jonny what I was going to do. Sadly he was not where I had met him and he never got the promised money.


So far as I know Jonny has never agreed with any of these allegations made about me and it remains a mystery to me as to why he has agreed to silence me.


Here is what your father wrote to me on 1 Jan 2013:


You make Maria so happy I think you complete something she missed out on.. and not in a needy way but in a really positive way. The money you gave us rescued us and made this life possible and now this baby will make our family even more. …I am so blessed and you are so responsible for my strength, Anne too. I know Anne will be exhausted and we completely understand if she cant make it but please express to her how much we love her and hope she is happy to be a grandmother.” 


And the last communication I received from Jonny was on 30 Jan 2015 when he wrote this:


just wanted to write to you to say that I love you and also to say that there really isn't an issue between you and me.”


I have no idea why your mother dislikes me and Anne. We both liked her and I can only guess that she experienced unhappiness with men in her past. 


I hope that you will be given your own copy of the book which I have dedicated to you. That you will then understand the truth about me. 'Left Field' can be read here:


Here is what I wrote four years after Left Field’s publication.


Finally I wrote about the grief involved when losing Jonny, a living son here (under a pseudonym) which concludes with a song, “In the Living Years" by Mike and The Mechanics.


I am not angry or bitter, but massively regretful and sad. I have so powerfully wanted to see you and get to know you. Perhaps we will still be able to.

I take this opportunity to send you, Jonny, Maria and Renata as much love as can be accepted from me. 


David    xxxx



PS I lived as long as I did because of the love and strength I received from my wife Anne and from the love and solidarity I once received from Jonny and have continued to receive from your uncle Ben, from my sisters, Liz and Joanna and from all my friends. Here is your father and uncle a few years ago! Jonny was so cute and I believe that in his soul he still is.




Someone who knew your dad well in Bosnia recently wrote the following to me when hearing I was writing to you.

Please try to talk about Jonny and his talent, his joy in Bosnia, in what ways it was different and more positive than his life in London. He used to say how he won a scholarship to a fancy Highgate school that was full of spoilt rich kids of war criminals and Russian despots. Kids that took coke and heroin at the age of 15. His coming to follow you in Bosnia saved him from a life of debauchery, selfishness and drugs. He was admired by famous musicians and producers who took him under their wing and tought him many production and post production skills. Talents and connections he used to get where he is now and which eventually led him on the path to meet Maria and make Rhys. It led him on a path to a different kind of education and enabled him to meet people who made a difference in our world of despair and war. Jonny is someone who each and every Bosnian and Croat he ever encountered admired enormously. He had an energy and conviction that was hard to ignore. That inspired people and this energy only came about because he had a father who led him on this path. It is so ridiculous that he cannot acknowledge that now.


                                                 - - -

‘You should remind yourself that what you love is mortal, that what you love is not your own. It is granted to you for the present while, and not irrevocably, nor for ever, but like a fig or a bunch of grapes in the appointed season; and if you long for it in the winter, you are a fool.’ Epictetus