View Full Version : A sad tale

Fangking Omega
January 20th, 2006, 12:56 PM
I've been to a funeral for the first time today.

My best friend's dad had been suffering with leukaemia for 18 months, discovered when the family were on holiday in Switzerland. After so long of enduring countless agonies and the pain of chemotherapy, he was showing signs of improvement. However, on Saturday, a sudden brain haemorrhage put him into a coma and he had to be rushed into hospital, the place where he had spent so many weeks during the course of his illness. In the early hours of Sunday, he died.

It was all very unexpected and sudden. On monday, I strolled into school to do my art gcse "mock", but my friend wasn't in since he had no more exams anyway. So I knew nothing about it. Tuesday, I wasn't in school, and neither was my friend, but he went climbing with some others in the evening. And he said nothing of his dad's death to them either, and they noticed no change in him. Wednesday, normal school procedure was resumed, my friend was back in school, quite his usual, cheery and very funny self I only spoke to him for about 10 seconds though, given we didn't have any of the same classes for the first two lessons. It was by period 3 that I heard about it from his form tutor (who was my form tutor for years 9 and 10, and is one of those people who is very kind and thoughtful) when he bumped into me by chance and told me as I approached the French department. Utterly shocked and saddened by the news I was, and I felt immeasurably sorry for my friend, as you of course would. I was amazed to see him still so cheery in French, as I doubted that even a solid A* in his mock, as he did indeed receive, could help raise his spirits through something so difficult as that.

It just struck me, how would I feel if I lost my dad? I'm a bit of a daddy's boy to be honest and I don't think I could cope even nearly as well as my friend. It's a scary thought. I hung with him that lunchtime, we went into town, talked, I offered my most heartfelt condolences, but left it at that as he didn't really want to talk about his dad, so we didn't touch on the subject any further and it was just generally a pleasant atmosphere. Next day, we did the same. Went to Mr. Kite's sandwich shop and I bought us both a cup of tea and we sat down and talked again. After a lickle bit, he told me that the funeral was tomorrow (friday), which wouldn't be a lot of fun as he said. He told me about the night his dad died, and I feeling very sorry for him could do little more than offer a sympathetic ear. Anyway, he asked if I'd like to go to the funeral if they could sort something out, and I said I would. I wanted to show him that I would stick by him, whatever. And I know he'd do the same for me.

So, it was sorted out that I could go to the funeral this afternoon, and also one of his other friends. We both went after morning lessons in the staff car with 4 of the teachers who best know my friend and also knew his dad to some extent.

The service itself was at a small, modern methodist church in Huddersfield. It was sad of course, but a very fitting tribute. Particularly poignant were the thoughts of his kids read out by one of the speakers. His daughter had only ever seen him cry twice; once when the chemo had reached a real low point, and again when he was in hospital, and she came to visit to tell him she'd gotten the grades to earn her a place at Cambridge university. As for what was said regarding his son, my friend, they were very alike in their ways. He had often worried that his son wouldn't achieve his full potential (he had been messing about, not doing his work and seemingly wasting what was truly remarkable intelligence, given he's probably top in the whole year), but in the last year he had transformed his life and become a mature young gentleman. His dad would be so proud.

I remember when I first met John Booth years ago; well built, outgoing and kind. I compare that to when I saw him last year. Diminished, weak and in a wheelchair. It didn't look like him anymore. The only thing that hadn't changed was his devotion to his faith, and in the end I think that it was his love for God that stopped him giving up altogether. If anyone has earned his place in "the fields of God's Kingdom" as the pastor said to draw a beautiful parallel on John's love for the Yorkshire countryside, it is him. He loved his family and his friends, and they loved him. Trying to put myself in the shoes of my best friend, I can only imagine how terrible the loss must be. The sense of relief that no longer will his father suffer pain cannot overcome the monumental upheaval of losing him. His bravery and strength is inspirational and he fully intends to go about business as normal from monday; he says that is what his dad would want him to do.

Cancer might beat the body, but it can never destroy love, crush faith, nor quell the spirit.

Just a little something I thought I'd share.