My much-loved friend,
It matters to have trodden the earth proudly, not arrogantly, but on feet that aren’t afraid to stand their ground, and move quickly when the need arises. It matters that your eyes have been on the object always, aware of its drift but not caught up in it. It matters that we were young together, and that you never lost the instincts and intuitions of a pioneer. It matters that you have been brave when retreat would have been easier. It matters that, in many places and at many times, you have made a difference. Your laugh has mattered. Your love has mattered. Above all, it matters that you have been loved.
Nothing else matters.
In 2003, as she approached the end of her life, English theatre director Clare Venables received the above letter from her dear friend, Peter Thompson. She died of cancer in October of that year, aged 60. The letter was then reprinted in Sheila Hancock’s 2004 biography, The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw. Thaw had also died of cancer, in 2002.