Monday, June 14, 2004

not much to show for a life

It's been a tough weekend.

The boy's grandfather died suddenly and we had the duty of having to tell him. This was made more difficult by the fact that he hadn't seen his grandfather for some time.

He'd been living at the boys home but was deeply depressed and alcoholic to some extent, and the boy and he clashed so much that they had to be kept apart.

This man had been a member of the police force, and was perhaps late 50s or 60-ish, but had only found out in recent times that he was adopted. This rocked him substantially. He must have discovered this through his 'mother' who has become senile in her old age and perhaps let this slip at some point. I'm not sure of all the details.

Anyway, he'd taken off, as he had done many times in the past. He was living in a caravan park a few hours drive away, estranged from the family. It seems he had been ill for some time, but suddenly had a massive heart attack on Sunday. They kept him on life support just long enough for his daughter (the boy's mum) to get there and say goodbye.

I don't know what she thought as there is so much resentment built up over years of this man's unfatherly behaviour.

Apparently his caravan was squalid, with nothing to show for a life - a small suitcase of belongings, and the rest was only fit to be tipped out.

What a sad way to leave this planet. Alone, unworthy, hadn't even seen his daughter's brand new baby, his latest grandson.

And then for us to have to tell the boy, who said, "Good, serves him right for drinking so much." He had a smirk on his face, but I just looked at him and said, "No. No-one deserves to be ill and die all alone," and the smirk quickly vanished.

He sobered then and we talked once more about forgiveness. About not letting evil sores eat away at yourself because of what other people have done. We prayed for his grandfather and his mother and talked about the security and eternal hope that we have in God. Death doesn't have power over us, even though it is sad.

I think he understood and felt better.

I'm hoping that this is a real wake up call to his mum and stepdad, that life is short and precious. They need to start thinking about what they will leave behind, what their legacy to their kids will be. Will it just be a suitcase of worthless belongings or will it be a family that is strong and healthy and experiences love every day?

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