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Conor Clapton :: Tears in heaven (Eric Clapton)

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Published on Sep 29, 2010

Conor was born on August 21, 1986 into the loving arms of singer Eric Clapton & his wife Lori Del Santo. When Lori got pregnant and since Eric was English, she felt the baby should be born in England. When the day was there and Lori was brought into labor. Eric rushed to the hospital to visit Lori and being with her at the birth. As it happened, the baby got stuck upside down, so they had to perform a last-minute Cesarean. When the baby finally came, they gave him to Eric to hold. He was spellbound, and he felt so proud, even though he had no idea how to hold a baby.

But however deeply Eric loved this little boy, he had no idea where to begin with him, because Eric was a baby trying to look after a baby. So he just let Lori raise him, which she did brilliantly. She would come and stay with her sister Paola, who also worked for her as her assistant, and occasionally their mother accompanied them, and for a few weeks they would live a very peaceful, family kind of life. Eric used to watch Conor's every move, and because Eric didn't really know much about how to be a father, he played with him in the way a sibling plays, kicking balls around on the terrace for hours and going for walks in the garden. Conor also got to know Erics mother and grandmother, and Roger too. Anyone who came into contact with Conor adored him. He was a little angel, really—a very divine being.

When Conor was four, on the evening of March 19, Eric went to the Galleria, an apartment block on East 57th Street, where they were staying, to pick up Conor and take him to the circus on Long Island. It was the very first time Eric had taken him out on his own, and he was both nervous and excited. It was a great night out. Conor never stopped talking and was particularly excited at seeing the elephants. It made Eric realize for the first time what it meant to have a child and be a father. Eric remembers telling Lori, when Eric took Conor back, that from then on, when Eric had Conor home on visits, Eric wanted to look after him all on his own.

But then the next day (March 20, 1991) four year old Conor, died on impact after a fall from the 53rd-story window of his mother's friend's New York City apartment, landing on the roof of an adjacent four-story building. The main sitting room had windows along one side that went from floor to ceiling, and they could be tilted open for cleaning. On this morning the janitor was cleaning the windows and had temporarily left them open. Conor was racing about the apartment playing a game of hide-and-seek with his nanny, and while Lori was distracted by the janitor's warning her about the danger, he simply ran into the room and straight out the window. He then fell 49 floors before landing on the roof of an adjacent four-story building.

That day Eric was up early because he had to pick up Lori and Conor and take them to the Central Park Zoo. At about 11 a.m. the phone rang, and it was Lori. She was hysterical, screaming that Conor was dead. Eric thought to himself, This is ridiculous. How can he be dead? And he asked her the silliest question: "Are you sure?" And then she told him that he'd fallen out of the window. She was beside herself. Screaming. Eric said, "I'll be right there."

Lori was not about to go down to the mortuary, so Eric had to identify him on his own. Whatever physical damage he had suffered in the fall, by the time Eric saw him they had restored his body to some normality. Eric remembers looking at his beautiful face in repose and thinking, This isn't my son. It looks a bit like him, but he's gone. He went to see him again at the funeral home, to say good-bye and to apologize for not being a better father.

After the funeral, when Lori's family had all gone home and Hurtwood was quiet and it was just Eric alone with his thoughts, He found a letter from Conor that he had written to Eric from Milan, telling Eric how much he missed him and was looking forward to seeing him in New York. He had written, "I love you." Heartbreaking though it was, Eric looked upon it as a positive thing.


Clapton's grief was expressed in the song "Tears in Heaven''.
Written for his son

SONG: Tears in heaven
ARTIS: Eric Clapton

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