The divine humanity of Heathcote Williams

 A True Love Revolution

Every day, every damned day, I think of that horrible moment, the afternoon of 1st July 2017: it explodes in my brain, this obscure memory, destructive as a bomb, a kind of black plague that tears and decomposes my integrity.

I think, I think, and I still think …. If only you knew many things, if only you knew some secrets … things would change so much …

Everyone believes that killing Heathcote was his pulmonary disease, which for years accompanied him. But no. It was not this that killed him.

If Heathcote is no longer with us, we must thank the doctors’ incompetence. Especially we have to thank a “surgeon-professor” in particular who followed him for a long time and operated on him all the time.

I will explain very briefly without going into details to protect his privacy.

Everything started from a complication linked to a surgical intervention that took place years ago. Suddenly this started an unpleasant chain of events (it was nothing related to his pulmonary problems which he had been suffering from for many years). He had to be operated on for another medical problem. It was the beginning of an inhuman calvary of which the professionals involved, especially precisely this “butcher – surgeon”, were the creators.

You can not even imagine how they tortured him. He entered an infernal circle where he was a victim created by the confusion of professionals, mountains of examinations and tests, hospital admissions, completely wrong diagnosis, for over a year. At last, after a very long time of tortures, the surgical procedure was done in a shitty way, so so squalid. Still there followed very serious and dangerous complications related to the new badly done  surgical intervention, a long unjustified stay in the hospital (when he could be at home and continue convalescence), sudden hospital viruses, severe thoracic infection and kidney failure, and then the accident … the definitive and irreversible incident.

I knew his health very deeply. When I was in Oxford, I took care of him as I could, and even when I was in Italy, through phone calls or messages, he opened up with me in a natural way and he talked to me about any physical discomfort he had.

He could be alive now. Believe me.

This leads me to not find a reason for what has happened. I can not find any justification. I should have been with him in Oxford at this very moment. NOW. But here I am, crying, writing without any strength.

Because yes, Heathcote could still be with us.

But nothing can be done anymore, we must accept this irreversible condition. Yes … that’s the problem. Accept it.

He was a wonderful person, far more so than many people know. So aware of the world’s problems, so deeply sensitive, I would say ultra-sensitive, ultra-empathetic.

How many times I have consoled him because he was sad, deeply bitter and sick, because he was aware of some horrible news from the radio (attacks, wars or accidents or anything else) and he lived all this viscerally, as if it was exactly happening to someone he knew, yes, because the whole world really had the honour of receiving a part of his heart. He was this way.  He was special, really special.

He was an angel who cared for anyone, acquaintances, friends, naturally, with affection.How many times he spent hours and hours on a daily basis and talked with so many, really, so many people, to help them, encourage them, to stretch a hand and bring them out of their abyss of inner sorrow. Because yes, when someone needed help or comfort, he was the one he/she was looking for, because he was a mentor, a master, a “guru” for everyone. Every person was like a brother/sister to be protected, who was homeless on the road, a needy artist or sad friend or any other person. He was ready to give his inner energy. It looked like a kind of “natural mission” that he had to do for anyone.

Heathcote was a person really capable of giving himself, a person who really understood the meaning of existence by giving himself completely to others, because yes, he really gave himself to others and knew he was giving love beyond every border.

I will always remember when I was in tears in moments of sadness and difficulty, how, in a deeply loving and totally pure way, he would embrace me and hold me to his chest, with infinite tenderness, fortifying me with deep and wise words, inviting me as a guardian angel to forget the pain, to relax, to dissolve the knot of discomfort, while he “protected me from the evil of the world”, comforting me with the sound of his heartbeat. He had the power to regenerate tired souls.

I remember now an event with deep affliction and sweetness. I was in Oxford, and he was deeply sick and his lungs were particularly fragile.

I was next to him and it was a moment of horrible crisis, and he suddenly said the phrase: “My darling, forgive me if in this state I can not take care of you.” This surprised me, moved me infinitely, crushed my soul and left me speechless, because no, he did not have to worry about what was happening, it was not his fault. Yet he worried about me. He worried to do something “for me” even though it was him who needed help.

Yes, Heathcote was just like that. Do you see how wonderful a person he was?

He inspired incredible security. In his presence you felt safe. Totally safe. Being in his presence was like living a “divine”, “mystical” experience.

He released such a peaceful power, such a serenity that seemed to come from another world. He had an aura. An incredible and indescribable aura that only those who had the fortune to know him alive could experience and absorb 100%. His charm was unique. The most fascinating man I’ve ever known. A charm created by a wonderful mix of qualities. He was profoundly wise, educated, incredibly strong (both spiritually and physically… he was very attached to life, he loved life, and he always fought like a lion!), was a balanced and thoughtful man, and at the same time sensitive and sweet, with a unique sense of humour, mischievous in the best of ways, always with a bright smile “printed on his lips”, a spirit eternally childlike, which gave him that incredible purity, that “ingenuity” and the ability to be so amusingly self-deprecating… All this and so many other such contrasting qualities were mixed together perfectly and splendidly and made him divinely unique. He lived his beautiful “being” with an adorable unknowingness and admirable humility.

He had “something extra”. Yup.

It was impossible to stare him in the eyes for too long, because his deep, penetrating eyes gently penetrated the shell of anyone’s mind and you felt totally naked and as small as an ant, but were immediately taken over by his gorgeous and reassuring essence that “anesthetized the feeling of gentle subjection “.

Exactly. In his presence, you always felt comfortable, but precisely at the same time, always with a veil of awe, for he really emitted an unknowing, very very powerful energy. Naturally, with an incredible genuineness and respect. With him, you felt in the bones of being in the presence of a higher, rare mind, but with his deep sweetness he made you feel in a condition not to get embarrassed, because yes, he made you feel at his own level, we were all accomplices with him. Seated next to the master and not on a lower step. A mind and a spirit evidently superior but without wanting to point it out to anyone, silently, unknowingly. An inexplicable purity and power of mind.

Exactly, he was just like that. He really gave that feeling of being a human touched by a “divine” hand, a kind of alien perhaps, but with the natural ability to make you feel exactly at the right place.

This led everyone to feel they had to carry infinite respect for him, but at the same time feel completely free to be themselves without any barriers. Free.

He was freedom, peace, made in person. The most true and pure anarchy enclosed in one body.

If only you knew how much he knew really how to love. In an unconditional and incredible way. How many things I would like to say about it, how many things I would like to tell, but I would need endless volumes of books only to explain the grandeur of love he could give.

Nobody in life, I swear, no one loved me, as he loved me.

You can not even remotely imagine what true, deep love he was able to donate with his entire being. He renounced himself to love, he sacrificed anything for the person he loved. He knew the understanding, the care of someone, in total, perfectly… yes …

His presence for me was constant, daily, an indispensable presence and comfort, a breath of vitality, joy. Now? All this is a reminder. Everything I have experienced with him in all the senses, from the beautiful moments to the sad ones, from magic moments to the moments when we had to console each other, and really everything… are just a reminder. All this intensity of emotion should be remembered with sweet nostalgia, but no, now all of this is reflected in me as a kind of acid bucketful that literally melts me and burns me to death. The beautiful afternoons at Binsey, lunches in the center of Oxford, the outdoor breakfast in the summer, the beautiful Christmas Concerts with mulled wine and sweets, laughter, reflective moments, work together, those days at the theater, and many, many, many things, innumerable days, mornings, afternoons, nights spent in companionship and lived to the utmost of our possibilities, so many things … so many things that were / are jealously guarded in his soul, and that are kept in me, now what are they? Just burning memories. Fucking burning memories, as wonderful as they are ruthless.

I wonder if one day I can remember him again without crying each time. If I can accept the silence. My days that were filled with his wonderful presence now replaced by disturbing silences. Will I get used to it? Probably never. Still, often by mistake I happen to look at the mailbox or phone, to see if there is a message or a phonecall from him. And immediately I realize that it’s all impossible.

Where are you Heathcote? Where is your soul now? I’m sure of one thing. A soul like yours can not stop being there. A soul like yours can not stop shining. You are here, still with us.

You all know that Heathcote has fought the whole life for the rights and good of humanity, for peace, to break the barriers into utopia with his art, his precious works, his gestures, creating a noise around the world.

More years will pass, more people will realize many things, things in a sense still “unknown” but that will make him a precious example, the diamond’s point of a new, true and authentic revolution: the revolution of true love. A love without barriers, a struggling love that runs countercurrently, unpretentious love, a love that was utopian indeed made incredibly real by him.

I adore you with all my soul Heathcote, and miss you day after day like oxygen. You were a guide, a mentor, my very best friend, ally, guardian angel, and so so so many other things… you were, when you were here on earth, and you are still and you will be forever for me … the “everything” for eternity. An eternal angel who watches over this poor world and will make it even better, with an intangible presence but even more powerful.

Your “love revolution” that you have put into effect for the world, for so many people, for humanity, and for myself, in a wonderful way, will evoke in the world more than ever one day. Because yes, you made the revolution.

I’m sure. Thank you … wonderful angel … that you were, and continue to be.



Elena Caldera

Translation: Claire Palmer


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2 Responses to The divine humanity of Heathcote Williams

    1. Heartfelt tribute that makes me wish I had got to know him better.

      Comment by Steve Turner on 24 August, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    2. Thank you Steve , yes he was incredible. Really incredible xx

      Comment by Elena Caldera on 25 August, 2017 at 1:40 am

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