Petruska Clarkson

Following the announcement of Petruska’s passing, many people, from all walks of life, have expressed a desire to record their thoughts, feelings, and condolences. Others want to recall and describe significant moments in their life with Petruska. Please add your comments or make a posting as you wish below. For any further information please email

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Petruska’s Cremation

Petuska was cremated on Wednesday 14th June. Alone, as she left the world alone. This is the way she requested it, and after contacting and discussing it with her relatives and old friends, it is the way we agreed it should be.

But as we are finding out, she was never really alone. She changed the life of almost everyone she met, and she remains in the hearts of many. She was not afraid of death because, I think, she knew she would live on in our hearts and minds, through her work and in our memories. This is surely shown by the comments in this log.

I make no apology, therefore, for another Rumi poem, and I invite you all to take special note of the last stanza:

You mustn't be afraid of death
you're a deathless soul
you can't be kept in a dark grave
you're filled with God's glow

when your heart is immersed
in this blissful love
you can easily endure
any bitter face around

in the absence of malice
there is nothing but
happiness and good times
don't dwell in sorrow my friend

John Nuttall

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dear friends, colleagues and fellow Physians,

It is with great sorrow that we announced that Petruska Clarkson died on the evening of Sunday, 21st May, 2006. She was 58 years old.

Following a successful address at Greenwich University and a number of supervision seminars last summer, Petruska had been travelling and chose to settle for a while in Holland, visiting and staying with friends. Her contact, with anyone, had been intermittent during this time and so it is impossible to say anything about her immediate perspective on life. In the last few days she booked into a hotel, and on the above Sunday chose to take an overdose of various pills and, apparently, died peacefully.

Petruska had a number of personal, professional and material difficulties, which, as many know, were the source of some anguish and sorrow. As we know, she was a highly creative and sensitive person, and there is probably a limit to the amount of turmoil that such a personality can bear. There are indications in her will, and the short note she left behind, that she had thought seriously about her life and death for some time. And there may be many reasons, we cannot know about, for her decision. She discussed with many, over the last year or so, her contribution to life and frequently expressed that she was content with what she had achieved and given. Even so, many of us believed she had more to contribute – but, maybe, it is just our desire that makes us want more.

I thought about her decision in the light of the following poem by Rumi.


Oh happy day when in your presence,
my ruler, I shall die!
When near the sugar-treasure melting
like sugar I shall die!

Out of my dust will grow a thousand
of centrifolias
When in the shade of yonder cypress
in gardens I shall die.

And when you pour into my goblet
the bitter drink of death,
I'll kiss the goblet full of joy,
dear and drunken I shall die.

I may turn yellow like the autumn
when people speak of death,
Thanks to your smiling lips: like springtime
and smiling shall I die.

I have died many times, but your breath
made me alive again,
Should I die thus a hundred more times
I happily shall die!

A child that dies in mother's bosom,
that's how I am, my friend,
For in the bosom of His Mercy

and kindness, I shall die.

Say: Where would de
ath be for the lovers?
Impossible is that!
For in the fountain of the Water of Life
- there I shall die!

Having communicated with many of you, I sense the feelings of sadness, waste, anger, and, for some, meaninglessness about her decision. These, and many more, are the feelings we must bear.

In her will Petruska wrote, “I insist that there be no funeral, cremation or memorial service of any kind held for me. Instead I wish sincerely that all those who have valued my work just continue to ‘help the people’ in the spirit of Physis as they are”.

In time we will want to come together to celebrate her work, but in the immediate term I would ask you all to respect her memory, and her wishes.

Petruska was out of touch with her family and no one has yet been able to contact them. However, we are in touch with her dear and trusted friends around the world. Please address your condolences to her ‘family, friends, and colleagues’, as we all feel her loss.

John Nuttall

Executor of her estate

Thursday, June 01, 2006


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