There I was I came home from work fully expecting to go to one of the Maundy Thursday services but it was not to be. My wife said her sister had called to say they had taken our nephew Darren into hospital at lunchtime which was not really a surprise as we knew he had not been well for a couple of days with what appeared to be a really bad stomach upset.
Darren would have been 40 years old this year but due to a number of disabilities had the mental age of a 6 year old, and the past couple of years had seemed to me to be not as well as he had been.
While we were preparing our tea we got a call from one of the carers for Darren who suggested we might want to go to the hospital and give Sylvia (Darren's Mom) some support as it appeared Darren's kidneys were failing.
We set off for the hospital and I dropped my wife and son off at the main entrance while I went off to park. Just as I had parked the car my mobile went and it was my son ringing to tell me we had arrived five minutes too late as Darren had died shortly before we arrived there.
I could not believe it - we had seen a number of scares in the past, Darren had been in coma's a number of times over the years and I think I had thought this was just another one, unfortunately I was wrong.
When the nursing staff had done what needed to be done we went in to say our goodbyes to Darren and I have to say he looked extremely peaceful. The nurses said he would not have felt any pain and he opened his eyes just before he died which is something they say often happens and it is thought it is the person saying goodbye to their loved ones. I don't know how true that is but it is a comforting thought especially for Sylvia and it is certainly something we shall encourage her to take on board.
I would like to ask you readers to pray for Darrens mom Sylvia who has devoted the last 40 years of her life to caring for Darren. When he was young and the various problems were diagnosed she was told he might live until late teens or early twenties and I believe it is testament to Sylvia that he has lived to be double the age predicted all those years ago. Sylvia will like most mothers who lose a child find it very difficult and we are trying to be very positive and accentuate the bonus days he has had because in a sense every day over the last 20 years has been a bonus, given the original predictions.