Friday, 7 December 2012


William died this morning.  4 AM.  At the Jeevan Sahara Kendra Care Centre.

He was last hours were peaceful.  He died in his sleep.  He had been lovingly cared for for the past month by our nurses and many others.

But the last two weeks were not easy.  Death comes differently to each person.  William's last days were hard.  For him.  For all who were caring for him. 

William's whole life has been hard.  He died at 22.  HIV infected from birth.  An orphan.  Cared for by a series of giving people.  Stabilised and launched out on his own.  Living independently and working.  But harbouring the virus.

When we first met him he was like any other young gun around.  Tall, lanky, ear-buds linked to his mobile, carrying a messenger bag.  He had not been well.  We diagnosed him as having TB.  He did not start treatment immediately.

The next time we met him he was deathly sick.

The TB had taken over.  His bowels were bloated.  His breathing was hard.  After some time at our centre we shifted him to Bethany for respiratory help.  He was then found to have a perforation of his intestine.  Emergency surgery was done.  He was still very sick, but wanted very much to get better, and to get out of the hospital.

After 2 weeks we shifted him back to JSK.  William was a demanding young man.  He was convinced that he was getting better.  Then he lapsed into depression.  Then demanding again.  The food wasn't right.  The bed was too hard.  The pain was too much.  He couldn't sleep.  He wanted sedation.  He did not want sedation.  Our nurses - including two American angels who God probably sent for this express purpose - took it all in and cared on.  Not carried on - they cared on.

No one likes to die.  No one.  William talked with one of our volunteers 2 nights ago.  He was afraid.  The volunteer reminded him of Jesus' love for him.  William prayed.  We had not seen him pray on his own before.  It made a huge difference.  The last 48 hours were no easy road - but they were better than many of the previous had been.

We believe that William is in the very presence of God as these words are being typed.  His body lies only 3 meters away from me as I type this.  The other side of the wall from my office.  This afternoon it will be interred into the ground - to await the resurrection - that mysterious and true hope that a follower of Jesus Christ has.  But we know that Jesus - dying on the cross told his fellow executee 'truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise'.  William has joined His sweet Lord.  Amen and amen.

And so we have a roll of gratitude.  The world is going on as usual.  People are rushing to their offices.  A cricket match is being played in Kolkotta.  New films are being released today in the cinemas.  No newspaper will report William's passing, no TV channel will send their bright young things to poke mics and ask for sound-bites.

But we know who loved William.  Our doctors and nurses.  The long hours of care that were given.  The selfless service that took place in these walls.  And outside.  Yesterday evening William was wheeled in a wheel chair downstairs.  It was the last time I saw him on this side of eternity.  Thank you Sheba, Marise, Agnes, Amy, Alissa, Dipali and Sunita.  Thank you other JSK team members for what you did for William in various ways.  Your love and care and errands and prayers. 

Thank you Pastor Vinney, brother Nathan and others from the Church who cared and loved William.  Thank you brothers of William who came and cared all those nights.  Thank you for all that you did and invested in this young man's life. 

Now is a time for tears.  But it is also a time for gratitude.  The time for loving is past.  For those who loved while William was alive - our gratitude goes up to God for you.

Farewell sweet prince.

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