Monday 12 November 2012

A farewell to B

Mog and I danced at death today. We weren't expecting to. But we were privileged to attend the funeral of a most precious friend, our beautiful butterfly B, who died so suddenly whilst we were on holiday last week.

Parents are not built to accommodate the death of a child. It's not supposed to happen. When you hold your previous baby, the hopes and dreams you have for them are more likely to include weddings, graduations, first steps and flying kites and endless enchanting chatter. We might imagine we hold in our hands a little mini-me, created to avoid all the mistakes we made ourselves. Or perhaps we're more realistic, and we hold our breath in wonder, wonder at the beauty of this new life; and aim to give them the world, to allow them to seize whatever opportunities may come along.

We don't generally imagine we will outlive them; that one day we will hold them too silent and still, and make unthinkable decisions about the very last services we can offer them.

Some of us have children with disabilities, with complex medical needs, with uncertain lives. And then we do have to think the unthinkable, and for some of us there's an element of comfort in thinking through some of the worst things that might happen; not comfort in thinking bout them, but comfort in knowing or at least thinking we know what decisions we might make about certain things towards the end of life.

And Beautiful Butterfly B did have profound disabilities. But she was healthy, not frail, and her death was not expected, not anticipated. There was no lengthy illness, no gradual decline, none of the warning signs we may have seen in our children or in others, preparing the way for us. She was just here. And then she wasn't.

And in a few short days - although I'm sure they will have seemed unbearably long at times - B's family created a beautiful, beautiful service of thanksgiving. A service which managed to capture the grief and loss, the shock and the pain we all feel. Which poured out the love B had always inspired, into her casket and back out to the congregation. And which was able to celebrate, truly celebrate, the new body B now has, the wholeness and perfection she has in her new room in our Father's house, and the joy that she has her new Dancing Partner, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And so we mourned our loss, and especially her family's loss. But we also celebrated her Homecoming; and as Mog heard this song her happiness and excitement spread in a wide face-splitting smile. And so we danced, Mog and I, in anticipation of that beautiful day to come, when we will all dance together, with the true Lord of the Dance leading us on.


Alesha said...

What a glorious hope it is - and it IS so REAL to us, isn't it? I think we do think about it, for obvious reasons, more than other parents do. I have to say that although I can't imagine the depths of pain, I'd like to think that through the comfort of God's Word, and the beautiful music we have here, that I sometimes get just a tiny glimpse of the heights of the GLORY we are going to share over there. It is that hope that helps us to BREATHE through the pain.

Praying for B's family...that each breath will be easier, as they look forward to seeing B again and spending eternity with her in Heaven.

Wishing you and the girls comfort today,


Yvonne said...

Here in Edinburgh the Royal Hospital for sick children is moving and the murals in the mortuary chapel painted by Phoebe Anna Traquair are under threat. I've looked at pictures of the murals before and thought they would be something to focus on in a terrible situation and I thought the biblical references she chose were very meaningful and appropriate. Many believe part of the reason they are probably not going to be relocated in because of the Christian imagery. I can't find the murals I thought were the best but here is a side mural.

Tia said...

You're right, they are beautiful. When the Radcliffe Infirmiary closed, someone took photographs of some of the more beautiful parts - including a lot of the artwork - and then made the photos into montages which now sit in the bridge between the John Radcliffe and the new Children's Hospital. Maybe someone could do the same there?

I hope they provide some beauty - a mortuary is such a dreadful place to have to be, you need something to feed the soul.


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