Mike had a south facing window in his bedroom. Several years ago it got to the stage where Mike was having difficulties on sleeping due to the light, especially in the summer. So I brought an expensive roller blind that blocked light. As always, I liked to get Mike involved in any practical work. A saying I picked up was “measure twice, cut once”. So Mike and I did exactly that. When I had finished cutting and went to the window guess what, I had cut it too short!!! Mike knew exactly what I had done and he laughed and laughed at his dad! Well he lived with Elephant Tape on that Blind for the rest of his time and enjoyed reminding me to “measure twice dad”!
A very painful decision had to be made which was forced on us, do we cremate Mike or have him buried. The implications of that were far-reaching. Kathy sat with the Undertaker and I in tears as she realised Mike would never return to Australia. I was not willing to have Mike’s ashes sit on a shelf waiting until some day when we may move to a permanent residence in Australia.
At that time in August, I was not engaged with the emotional consequences of our decision. I simply wanted Mike to be buried and recognise that in reality, Carlisle was his home and it made more sense to be his final resting place.
I now realize today, I will not be able to move from Carlisle! I mentioned to Kathy yesterday that emotionally, the thought of leaving Mike here is too painful. The thought that I cannot pop up to the cemetary and see him is not a situation I want to create.
We also have seen that God has given us much grace to handle every situation. We had a good Christmas with the girls and grandma. We did not miss Mike any more than any other time. We have his birthday coming up on the 19th January. We will find an appropriate way to celebrate that as a family.
“Dad Im freezing my nuts off down here, have you got a water bottle!” Well thats what I thought I heard him say when we went to visit on Christmas day!
What a joy to visit Mike. The cemetary was sooo busy. I find the cemetary a place of comfort and a great place to think and gain perspective.
Akila brought the family a beautiful present, a thinking man. It depicts very much where we are at as a family. We decided to step back for 6 months, not make any major plans or decisions. We review the new landscape, the altered DNA of our family unit, the role changes as dad, mum and sisters, losses too many to imagine, thankfulness for a very uncomplicated son……..
Mike read a poem when he was around 7-8 at the cathedral and for the life of us we cannot find it, but it was about a thinking bird. It so depicted Mike and made an impact on Kathy and I.
Laura shared that she had a dream last week and Mike was in it. The rest of us have not dreamed of Mike, I look forward to that.
I see we as a family are still thinking and pondering over many life and death questions, many we believe we have no answers to as we see dimly. Some times we are in the crowd but are alone with our thoughts.
The words I hear in this season, “Unto Us a Son is Given” seem to shout louder than others. Kathy and I, like Mary and Joseph, were entrusted with a Son. He was not ours to keep, he was on loan.
God The Son, came early, he could have waited until electricity was discovered, houses were warm, water came from taps etc. He chose to come at a time in history which only again demonstrates His love and mission. He came for my son, Mike. I sit here before every one else is up on this festive day and thank God for Mike and Jesus. Both have had a major impact on my life. So “Unto us a Son is given”, you parents out there, dont wait until “Unto us a Son is taken”, to appreciate what you have. Go give that son a cuddle right now, irrespective of age!
Wishing all of you a fresh revelation of God that turns you world inside out!
Seeing Mince Pie’s in the stores has not been easy for me. Mike did not like a lot of food but when it came to sweet things and especially Mince Pie’s at Christmas, he would devour them!
I could not bring myself to buy a pack, but Kathy did in the end. The other day I thought it was about time to face the emotion and although I do not really like savoury food, I had a pie and dedicated it to Mike!
What do I see? Art is an interesting topic. “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”. What is art to one person, is junk to another. What do I see and how do I feel when I look into the sky and see clouds? If you live in Cumbria, UK, it can be quite depressing if you know there are other places where there is an abundance of blue skies.
There is an old English idiom, “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining” Difficult times are like dark clouds that pass overhead and block the sun. When we look more closely at the edges of every cloud we can see the sun shining there like a silver lining. As believers we walk in Faith, possibly not being able to see or understand from a Kingdom perspective. Psm 57
9-10 I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
Now there is another perspective, “every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness”.
I wrote the following on my Facebook yesterday, “In principle, God can move mountains, but in practice He normally gives us the grace to climb them”. Why would I write that?
During the last months I have become aware of voices that before were filtered out by life. I have a growing concern of an unbalanced view of God and His desire for our lives. The picture that is painted when I listen to emphasis of worship and messages, is that God will change our situation if it is “uncomfortable”. Thats not the words that are said necessarily, but the subtle intention. The emphasis appears to be that anything other than happiness is not what God intends for our lives. And we seem to use Romans 8 v 28 to tell each other “get your act together, trust God, there is good in this”.
Romans 5 to me is very clear. Suffering is a tool God uses in a positive way. I dont say that God sends the suffering. There is SEED, TIME, HARVEST, we want SEEDTIME, HARVEST. We have to stand back and look at the whole bigger picture, only then can we make sense of snap shots or little clips. Isaiah 45 v 3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you will know that I, the Lord, who call you by name, an the God of Israel”. I have found that treasure and riches in the secret places, they are in the pain and edges of life we want to avoid. In my experience, I am able to see more in those places than in the normal traffic of life.
So why do we jump to pray for healing so quick or pray for situations to change? Do we ask at all, what is God doing here through this? Do we pray for God’s grace, mercy, love and glory to be manifest? Do we pray for perseverance that develops character which develops hope? When I look at the heros of faith, I see the journey and it was one that God gave them the grace to climb the mountains of life. Do we pray for Grace in the TIME stage? Yes God is Mighty to Save and Move Mountains, He has done that at Calvary and moved the mountain that blocked relationship between Himself and Man.
Its such an awesome sight to see grace in action in the lives of God’s people and to see people respond to God’s mercy.
It makes sense to think that we would be sad at this time of year for Mike. Kath and I have discussed this and realise that whilst Christmas is a time where families come together, its Christian purpose is to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the real solution for mankind to reconciled with the Father. So we have had to check our own hearts and motives. As we have been a very close family, there is not one time above others for us that highlights a time of greater happiness, which also means there is no one time of greater sadness. Without being over dramatic, its all sad! Every day there are sadnesses over Mike. Obviously for a long time it will be hard with the many “firsts”. In fact last weekend was one of the happiest times in my life. With the girls decorating the house, Todd and Karen being here, having awesome fun in the spa with Mike’s gel, and fine living. So we live often in a state of paradox and contrasts.
In one sense we are still trying to shake off some of the pain but it keeps coming back. We received a letter from the Coroner asking which of the four options we want with the body material that was sent to the lab for testing. Kathy was in tears reading that earlier in the day. I was annoyed as the original letter said no response from our side would be interpreted that they would dispose of it. I said to Kath I would deal with it only for her to say well its a family discussion, at which point I just lost it and told her to deal with it and don’t tell me any more! What a horrible discussion or decision to have to make. It’s emotional issues like this that can bring friction between us.
We are enjoying receiving such beautiful Christmas cards with some very thoughtful comments. The notion is that this will be a hard Christmas for us without Mike. Actually, non of us can relate to that.