Monday, 20 June 2011

Life and Innocence in Death and This Week's Garden


Had a beautiful telephone call today from our dear little Grandson Oliver.
Our dearest and most long standing friend Alan passed away last night having battled since late last year with lung cancer.

The innocence of 4 year old Oliver's concern touched me in a profound way when he began to ask me questions.
"Did 'Uncle' Alan die Grandma?"
"Was he by himself?"
"Did he go to sleep?"
"Did he go to see Jesus?"
"Did he go by himself?"

The innocence and concern in his voice brought tears to my eyes.

Alan was a lovely Christian man who spent much of his retirement years helping others, particularly elderly folk in his neighbourhood and he will be sadly missed.
The number of people who visited him,some travelling long distances, amazed him and we kept telling him that he was reaping what he had sown.

He will be very much missed by Alan and I as we have known  him and his wife Joan for almost 40 years.
We had the kind of friendship where we could be 100% honest with each other and be totally ourselves. As a foursome we have been there for each other throughout joyous and difficult times, sharing our faith as well as having fun.

We always remember in the 1970's when our daughter was a young child.
We were at an open air meeting in the park and Jane had won a fancy dress competition. The compère on the platform asked Jane if she had a boy friend. She said yes and pointed to our friend Alan who being the gentle man that he was had to stand up in front of a very large audience with a very red face.

It has been a privilege to know this man and particularly in recent weeks.
In pain, on oxygen, barely able to speak or swallow and having his lungs constantly drained, the weaker he became (and often not expecting him to get through the night) the stronger he became in spirit. 
He prayed for people who visited, prophesied over his town and people and prayed for everyone of his grandchildren individually.
One grand daughter who did not come from a Christian home asked for a Bible which she read  to him and left with a desire to know more about this God her Grand father knew.
He said he had a glimpse of heaven and was waiting for the door to open.

I'll finish this tribute with scenes from my garden this week
which is my little glimpse of heaven for the moment.














24 comments:

Deanna said...

Absolutely gorgeous flowers, Barbara! Beautiful to see.

My heart goes out to you with the passing of your very dear friend. What a great witness he must have been.

Though you will miss him, you have been blessed by having him being your close friend. May God comfort all that are grieving him. Heaven will be wonderful for when you see him next.

God bless,
d

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

What a dear little boy asking such profound questions. Your garden is lovely and is a close glimpse of heaven but won't it be awesome to really see Heaven and know all it's mysteries?

Susan said...

So sorry to hear about your friend, Alan, passing. I know you have been praying for him as you were standing and praying with us for our Suzette. Interesting (?) that he died on the 19th of June and Suzette on the 19th of May and both from lung cancer. We deal with our pain on a daily basis.

Yes, out of the mouths and hearts of the little ones!!!!

Cheri said...

Lovely tribute to your friend. Cheri

Needled Mom said...

I am so sorry to hear of Alan's passing, but I know that where he is now there is no more pain and suffering for him.

Your garden is definitely heavenly!!! I can see why you would want to spend your waking moments there. Stunning.

talesfromagarden said...

Lovely tribute to your friend and beautiful flowers,so sad to lose a close freind like that.

Bernideen said...

Yes, I found these questions your Grandson asked to be ones we all need to ask. LIFE TRULY IS BUT A VAPOR.
Eternity will be eternity. Good thoughts and a lovely garden!

Trisha said...

Beautiful flowers, and a heartwarming story; but knowing Alan had a glimpse of Heaven, speaks volumes. What a wonderful thing for anyone to see what is waiting for them.
Blessings Barbara, I love your posts.
Trisha

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Barbara

What a lovely tribute and yes the questions your grandson asked you also touched me.

The pictures of your garden are lovely.

Have a nice day!

**What is the purple flower called?

Best
Tracy :)

Balisha said...

Out of the mouths of babes....such simple questions that we might ask. Cancer can destroy the body but not the soul.Your rose garden is the place to be when you are feeling sad.I have this little poem in my garden..

THE KISS OF THE SUN FOR PARDON..
THE SONG OF THE BIRDS FOR MIRTH.. FOR ONE IS NEARER GOD'S HEART IN THE GARDEN..
THAN ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH.

BALISHA

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a blessing to have had such a long standing friend and what wonderful memories you have too. We hold those memories close to our hearts and it seems they are always with us. Even though you've lost your good friend to death, he will always be in your hearts. The words of your grandson are so very precious. My sympathies to you all.

Lorrie said...

What a powerful testimony of hope. I'm sorry for your loss, but know that you are at peace because of God's presence.
Your roses are stunning.

Camille said...

What a blessing to have such a dear friend. May he rest in peace.

Your garden is just beautiful ~

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

My heart goes out to you and Alan; I know you will miss your friend Alan a lot while at the same time rejoicing he is with the Lord now. The beautiful flowers in your garden make a lovely tribute to the sweetness of his life of faith...full of the fragrance of the Lord.

Vee said...

Sweet comfort be yours and all of your friend's family and friends. Your tribute is compelling and dear. He sounds like an amazing man and the joy of it is that he still is. Oliver's questions made me cry, too. What a perceptive little guy he is and what a wonderful opportunity for you to share a great faith and hope with him.

Lori Zehr said...

So sorry to hear of your friend's struggles. He left a wonderful testimony, though. The roses are absolutely gorgeous!

margaretkiaora said...

What a lovely post!

Nancie said...

Hi Barbara,

Alan is such a shining testimony for our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a comfort to know that He is with our Lord, resting in Him eternally and enjoying His joy and fellowship without hindrance. May the memory of this dear friend be an encouragement to you and all who know him.

Your garden and the flowers are so lovely! The beauties of God's creations always remind me of what a Great God we serve and that He watches over us daily.

Thanks for your visit and comment. Take care and have a blessed weekend!

Warm regards,
Nancie

nikkipolani said...

Sweet words from a sweet boy -- thank you for sharing that, Barbara. And for the beauty in your garden. Truly, it is a little glimpse of heaven. I wonder what fills Alan's eyes now!

Midwest to Midlands said...

I am so sorry to hear of your dear friend Alan. What a lovely post and tribute to him. Your roses are beautiful, what a garden you have. I wish I could remember it because I got a sympathy card once that said something about the roses now growing on the other side of the wall. or blooming elsewhere.
(We have a grandson named Oliver too.)

Annie said...

I feel so deeply for the hard and difficult passing of your friend and good man, Alan. May his suffering in this life send him more speedily to his ultimate reward in Our Lord's embrace.

Cousin Pam said...

Alan must have been a very special person indeed. Just reading what you've written makes me feel very humbled.
I'm sure he's wearing his well-earned crown.

Adrienne said...

What a dear friend you and your hubby have had - so many memories you will treasure always. I'm sorry for your loss but thankful that your dear friend is not suffering but with the Lord he loved.
~Adrienne~

Mmm said...

What a wonderful tribute adn beautiful photos to boot. I hope when I die, if of old age or so, that someone so kind remembers me as such too. :)