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Monday, 8 June 2015

A final goodbye to a good friend. .

Occasionally in life you meet somebody who you immediately click with. I am privileged to have a number of very good friends in that category and Duncan Kent was one of those. Duncan and his wife Janet picked Pam and I up as friends when we were in a very low place just after arriving in Cornwall. They were members of the same church and recognised our loneliness and invited us for lunch. Immediately we hit it off and friendship was established.

Sadly Duncan died very suddenly and most unexpectedly on the 19th May 2015 at approximately 6:00am. Since then we have been trying to come to terms with the grief that this has brought about.

A few years ago a man that I knew well committed suicide which left us shocked but it was a comment that his close friend made that caused me to ponder. At the time of a death the close family are rightly supported but what about close friends was the question asked. This friend was in terrible grief but there was nothing to help him, his friend had died in the most difficult of situations and his friend had not been able to help. And now there was no help for the living friend. He is a man after all and men get over these things!

No they do not!

I am now understanding what he meant. Who cares for those beyond family at a time of grief? The workplace will only afford them a few hours for the funeral if they are lucky. They are only friends and so they will soon get over it! Blood is thicker than water and so grief can never be as painful. All of these and more meaningless ditties are bandied around and do absolutely nothing for a grieving and hurting friend. 

Society needs to wise up to the situation!

I am told that we live in a caring society which is certainly true but it cares for it's own issues and reputation far more than it does for others in their difficulties. As I have been pondering and experiencing this now at first hand it has caused me to think even more outside of the box. In our current society there are many things that cause grief for people which is every bit as bad as the death of a close friend or family member.

I remember speaking a number of years ago to a grandfather who was in a terrible mess because due to an awful breakdown of his daughter's marriage he had lost not only contact with his wayward daughter but also of his grandchildren that he and his wife had brought up from their birth. This man was so broken that he died soon after clearly of a broken heart, he could not live without those precious children and there was nothing and no-one capable or willing to help him (including me at the time!!!)

How many more people are grieving and over what issues?

I am pleased to say that Duncan was a Christian and I had the great privilege of being the last visitor he had before his sudden death. I was also there when he walked out of this life and into eternity with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that he is in heaven and rejoicing there but that does not make the pain go away! 

There is however some comfort from my faith in Jesus. 

There was an incident in the life of Jesus when He was at a graveside. Lazarus had been dead for 3 days and jesus visited the family. He knew Lazarus and his 2 sisters Mary and Martha. When Jesus arrived He saw the 2 sisters crying which brought a response from Jesus. Our English translations of the bible record at this point the shortest verse which simply states that: 

Jesus wept!

You can read the full account in John 11: 1-44. Jesus was overcome with grief even though He was about to raise Lazarus back to life. The writer of the book of Hebrews says of Jesus that He is the same yesterday, today and forever which encourages us to know that just as He grieved for Lazarus and shared in the sorrow of his family then He cares for us also in our griefs and sorrows. 

Are you in need of help? Feel free to contact me and I will at least put you in touch with somebody to help if it is beyond my expertise.

Duncan's death has left us shocked and in grief but it has served as a wake up call for me to recognise that there are some very needy people all around us. Pray that we might find a way of being useful to them.

I have posted the transcript of the service of thanksgiving for Duncan's life on my Pastor's blog. If interested the link is:

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