The artist mother of Parys Lapper, who died suddenly at the age of 19 last month, has shared an emotional letter to her late son.
Alison Lapper released the letter via social media after burying the teenager, who police say may have died from an accidental overdose.
Parys had been struggling with his mental health after years of bullying at school due to his mother’s disability.
The note praises Parys for his sensitive and gentle nature, and for his wonderful and vivid imagination. It recalls how Parys would physically lift his mother – who was born with no arms and shortened legs due to a congenital disorder – and place her “somewhere I didn’t want to be, which in the end would make me laugh.”
It also sees Alison lament the fact her son will not attend her upcoming wedding to partner Si Clift, but takes comfort from the fact Parys loved him.
She signs off, telling him: “I hope that your mind is peaceful now… it was a privilege to be your mother.”
Lapper last week told The Times that at the age of 13, Parys had asked her not to attend parent evenings because of the bullying.
Lapper, who said she believed her son had been on the road to recovery, stated that she did not want him to be remembered as a “junkie, as just another drugs death”, adding: “The drugs were a consequence of what he had been through.”
She told the newspaper: “Mums like me shouldn’t be burying 19-year-old kids, should we? He’s supposed to be burying me.”
Lapper is known around the world for her work, but in 2014 she said Parys is “my greatest piece of art work and creation”.
She uses photography, digital imaging and painting to question physical normality and beauty.
As an artist she poses questions around perceptions of physical ‘normality’ and beauty ideals through the mediums of photography, digital imaging, and painting.
A member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World, she has used her body as subject matter for artworks.
The statue of Lapper, titled Alison Lapper Pregnant, was a 13-tonne, 11ft 6in high white marble sculpture by artist Marc Quinn, and was unveiled in Trafalgar Square in 2005.
London mayor at the time, Ken Livingstone, hailed Lapper as a “modern heroine”.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.