Saturday, July 27, 2013

Padi's things

This is not going to be easy for you to read but I thought I'd just go ahead anyway to update you.
With an efficient yet discrete swoop, various contraptions were collected yesterday morning at 9am - the bed, bath seat, etc., on loan from the NHS. His wheelchair was provided by LATCH but has not found a new home yet. I can still remember looking at the smaller model we were first given, wondering why we'd need it...
Gradually we find places for Padi's things. As we do so we fondly remember their affiliation with him. The various entertainments that kept him contentedly amused. The book mum read to him, the i-pad (for audiobooks, email, games, LoveFilm, Facebook), 3DS, Bible and 'daily readings' books. Then there's the hand bell which was used to summon help or attention, the manicure set with which he kept his nails immaculate. Various lotions and potions to deal with his irradiated skin and PEG site. The eye patch, the tea cup mat. The baby monitor and torch.
Many of these things are reminders of his ill-health. Amongst the flood of kind communications, some people clearly struggle to know what to say, with some suggesting that the only comforts we had were the knowledge that his suffering is at an end and that we can take refuge in all the happy memories of Padi.
While both of these factors play a part, alone these kinds of thoughts leave an aching void, like the gap behind me awaiting the return of the 'normal' bed to his room. I mentioned before that the conference provided a ready-made week of useful structure and activity which helped to break our fall. On Wednesday night we met Joel Beeke, one of the speakers who, upon hearing our story, decided to focus particularly on the 'Puritan view of Affliction' for his talk the next morning. You can see him on YouTube, mentioning our "15 year old boy" just after 58 minutes. He listed a number of ways that we can cope with affliction, remembering that the Puritans averaged about ten children, losing 50% of them through disease. More than 50% of puritans were incarcerated for their faith. They knew affliction. For the Christian, the question is, how can I really be like Jesus Christ in this affliction? Casting out self pity, we "consider him" Hebrews 12:3. Dr Beeke gave eight ways of doing this: Consider... the passion of Christ, the power of Christ, the presence of Christ, the patience and perseverance of Christ, the prayers of Christ, the plenitude of Christ, the purposes of Christ, and the plan of Christ. We have an 'all-sufficient' Saviour and a gospel that is designed by God to meet our every need. In fact, the only real and solid comfort we have is bound up in the sure and certain knowledge that these things are supremely Padi's things, and nothing...
neither death, nor life, nor nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
On a point of clarification, some are interested to know a bit more about what we mean by 'avoid wearing only black' to the funeral. The funeral will be 'traditional', as per Pads wishes, and so a level of formality would be appropriate. Some will feel they want to wear black out of respect and tradition, and that's really fine. But we are not going to be wearing only black. To give you an idea, I'll probably wear my dark suit, white shirt, and navy blue tie. You should feel free to follow suit.

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