When Tomorrow Never Comes

This poem is dedicated to Capt. Norman Lees, whom on April 8th 2000, was killed whilst giving an instruction flight, at Goodwood Airfield, West Sussex, England. Norman served as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Navy in Northern Ireland and with the Royal Air force in the Falklands Conflict. Remember the gray helicopter easing into the smoke laden Sir Galahad? That was Norman, remember the SAS storming the Iranian embassy in 1980? That helicopter was Normans. The London Docklands bomb had a helicopter hovering over it to guide a police search, that too was Normans. And the mobilization of the rescue services in the Zebrugge ferry disaster, that too was led by Norman, but humble as he was, he would never have told you any of this, which is why I am.

At the time of Norman’s death, he was a Captain for Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Norman pioneered a course, to help people fly without fear. I met him because I was scared of flying. I overcame my fear, trained as a counselor, and together we helped people. Those who knew Norman were witness to his ever-generous spirit and sincerity and warmth… Someone that special just can t be replaced.

When Tomorrow Never Comes
My war hero, rock and, very best friend
You promised me that we would never end
Sudden death, even, you could not control
But you are not dead, merely residing in my soul
Your voice echoes in my head, as if I have taped each

All that you taught me, I have listened and heard
I have tried to be strong, as you would urge me to do
But its so hard, alone without you
At the sight of youre shiny plane, upside down and torn

That day a part of me died ” I think it was my heart,
I put a rose on your seat, hoping you could see
And I tried to accept my reality
Through the tears and pain, hopefully one day I will grow
People keep telling me I must let go…
I wish that just once more, you could hold me with loving
But there is no refuge, from this grief that I bear
Before you, men in my life had been cruel
And I felt at love, I would always be a fool
You healed the wounds of my past with such patience and
For your untimely death I could never prepare
You told me that you would never say goodbye
Dont be afraid of flying, planes NEVER drop out of the
Both promises were lost on that fatal night
When your life ended, and I began this fight
As time passes, I pray that life may be wonderful again,

For now all I can do is wonder how and when
Missing you has become a part of my daily life
Coping without you a constant strife
The sight of visiting the hangar haunts me with memories
of broken planes on the floor
The Lockerbie jet and so many more…
I walked away holding just a little piece of your plane
Knowing my life would never, ever, be the same again
Not to die is to live on in the heart of others…
…And this is your legacy… That forever and forever,
your spirit will live on within me…

Jill St. James lost her partner Captain Norman Lees, 49, April 8, 2000 aboard an MK 9 Spitfire aircraft at Goodwood Airfield, West Sussex, England

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