Our friend, Graham, who has fought with MND for many years, passed away on Good Friday. Graham defied the odds in many ways. He had the ALS form of MND, and average life expectancy from diagnosis is 2.5 years – and he battled on for nine years.
He spoke with the help of a Neuroswitch, and, always the tech guru, connected himself into the house speaker system and remote control camera. He also surfed the internet, and created videos.
But Graham was much, much more than just someone with MND. He was a friend, a husband, a father, an uncle, a son-in-law, a son, a brother, a brother-in-law, and in his last hours, a grandfather. He was also a man of God, full of integrity and honour, and a deep compassion for others. He was also wise. I don’t say that lightly, as few are wise, but Graham was.
I wrote earlier that it was on Good Friday, that he passed away. For Christians, Good Friday is the day when we take time to remember the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We remember the day when he became the redeemer, taking upon himself the sins of the world, in order to allow us to reconcile with God.
It seems fitting, that for Graham, Good Friday was the day when he threw off his earthly body – the one that so shackled him – to stand alive and complete in the presence of God, able to sing, walk, and shout if he so wished.
There are a lot of verses in the Bible that talk about the end of a person’s days.
In 1Corinthians 13:12 it says: For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul writes: For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
and then in Revelation, the last book in the Bible we see this verse.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
We may mourn for our friend, but at the same time, we rejoice in his new wholeness. We do mourn with his family, and the rest of his friends, because he is no longer here, and we will all miss him dreadfully. It’s a complicated sea of emotions, rushing and flowing around us all.
As I finish this, we’re in another country, while Graham is being farewelled. There’s a particular song I know he loved, so I’ll link the Youtube clip.
And here it is – I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me.