2 Cor 12v9

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Fight

There has been many times since losing Scooby that I have been angry. Not at a person, not at God, not at myself – just angry at the whole darned situation.

If I’m completely honest, life with Scooby has never been easy. Fun and extremely rewarding, yes, but not easy. We had raised him through his baby years, and through a crazy toddlerhood, with epic tantrums and noise and chaos that only three small boys together could generate in such a huge amount. It was tough, exhausting, fun and definitely not picture-perfect. We had seen him develop into a sweet natured, still highly excitable school boy and thought that the most difficult part was over. We had no idea how much harder it was going to be.

We fought and we fought hard. For a really REALLY long time. We put everything we had into keeping that kid. We turned our lives upside down, we stayed with him every step of the way, we administered every difficult medical action we had to, helped him through more epic tantrums as the medication took him on emotional rollercoasters, and we were prepared to move house, give up our careers and care for him night and day to get him better. We went through so much and we had to witness so many things a parent should never have to see their child go through.

The doctors fought hard. From the first week he was transferred to Manchester, they devoted time, energy and medical resources into diagnosing and treating him. They consulted with other experts around the world, they took his details to conventions to discuss him as a case study, they stayed up late researching and having conference calls with consultants in other countries. They sent us down to Great Ormond Street. They celebrated our victories and shared our tears. They didn’t deserve to have all their efforts end in defeat.

Our family and friends fought hard. They spread the word and gathered people to pray. They did research on our behalf. They looked after our other children and brought so much joy and sunshine to them that during all this, they’ve experienced some of the best times of their lives. They paid for cleaners, for hospital coffee and meals out for us. They called on their friends and total strangers to join in with our story, and set Facebook, Twitter and church prayer slots all over the world alight with the name of Scooby Scholes.

We did everything right. We did everything we could. In the end, all we could do was hold him, and then let go.

There have been times I wanted to scream and stomp my feet and break everything around me as I yell ‘IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!’ at the universe. I don’t understand how it came to this. The doctors don’t understand how it came to this. Our friends and family don’t understand how it came to this.

We did everything we could. There’s not a single thing we could’ve done better or different.

And there comes the perfect peace.

There is NO moment in Scooby’s life that we look back on and say ‘If only....’

'If only we had noticed his symptoms earlier...'
'If only we had been watching him...'
'If only we hadn’t left him for that moment...'
'If only we’d spent more time with him when he was younger...'

We do not carry the agony of ‘If only...’ that so many other people do after they’ve lost a loved one.

We were given the chance to fight long, and fight hard. We fought to bring out the best in him as a toddler and to conquer his self-destructive side. We fought hard to make sure he was happy and secure and loved and knew the God who loves him. We fought to keep him alive, and so did every person around us. From the first symptom to the end, we were given the best doctors, the best family, the best friends around us. We got to be by his side every step of the way. We tried every treatment possible, even to replacing his whole immune system. We did everything we could, letting no chance pass us by. We took every opportunity for his friends and family to visit him and cuddle him, there were no words left unsaid, we had every opportunity to tell him how much he was loved, we were able to ask and grant forgiveness for past faults, we were able to tell him about the beautiful place he was going to, and were able to hold him safely all the way until the end. No regrets.

How completely and utterly blessed we are.

From ashes to beauty, from despair to praise, from anger to overflowing with thankfulness.

Isn’t this just the way our God works?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sprint to the Line

A friend wrote this and put this in my hands a few weeks ago and when I plucked up the nerve to read it, it completely took my breath away. I'm no poetry expert, and I know I'm biased, but in my humble opinion this should be studied in school, Wilfred Owen style, for the way he has managed to mix glory and grief, triumph and tragedy, in such an articulate and accurate way. He has documented our feelings and God's promises better than I ever could.

THIS is the reason we hold all the tighter to our God, and will never quit the race, even if we have to crawl it for a while.

Sprint to the Line

Young brother
grab your gold with an embrace and “well done”
race won, course run
as we struggle on, ragged breath gasp quick with grief
our chests tight and knees weak
in your absence

The story of the crown awaits
eternal laurel alive even as grave wreathes fail and fade

This stopped clock leaves us horror slack as disaster witnesses
a date to divide time for those left behind
This record one we wish not yours, nor another’s
as mute reflection our only response to our overwhelming
and our course stretches all the longer
without you
This medal will weigh our steps with every new hill as a memory never shared, our marathon so long

So take your podium
raised son
Joy boundless guarding you from our grief as your tears are dried, even as ours flow for your snatched moments
precious as counted and found coins for their brevity

We run weak limbed, stumbling to be where you are
to run worthy with ragged knees as you stand
glorious, vigorous and in timeless prime
missed one

We run
with open mouths, our bleeding hearts committed to The One
Who will hold, humble and honour us
too soon, but not soon enough
in victory united by His hand

Anthony Rei, June 2012

Thursday, 5 July 2012


Logically we're doing great. We are being so blessed by people around us, and our four kids here are happy and healthy. We brought bikes home from the cellar in Morecambe that we have only used twice and the boys have been riding them round the back of the house. Rocky is hooked - he rides first thing in the morning, in the rain and the bits in between, and sneaks down after he's got his pyjamas on at night for one more turn.  

 Ace is excited because he's worked out he only needs ten more points (our pocket money substitute) to get the Lego set he wants, and is offering to do jobs all over the place so he can earn them. He even offered to make a big mess so he could get points for tidying it up.  

 Baby had fun today using rocks to draw pictures, but as they were on the side of my uncle's Landrover, none of the adults thought this was fun, and she spent the rest of the day inside. 

 Turtle heard me singing about a Cornerstone from a new album and asked me what it meant and I explained it was the rock which was placed first in a building. Everything else is then placed  on and around it and finds its place according to the measurements the cornerstone has set. It is the foundation.

 I fudged through the day, put the delivered shopping away, held back the tears while I engaged in conversation with people, made cups of tea without boiling the water first, emailed the library to ask them to cancel Scooby's membership, sobbed for ten minutes afterwards at the thought of never choosing and reading books with him again, was grateful for a husband who can cook so we didn't have to eat burnt food like I made the night before, went to bed at the same time as the kids, and woke up later so that Richard and I could bawl and sob before trying to go back to sleep.

 At 1am I went for a walk outside, down to the brook bridge which is just a few yards from the beautiful place in the country we're staying at right now. It was pitch black and I didn't see another person while I did it. I could only see the road and the trees and bushes around it. Everything was wet, like it had just rained, but I wasn't getting wet. Then I walked directly under the trees and heard the sound of hundreds of drips in the leaves. As I came out from under the trees I expected that it had started raining, but I still wasn't getting wet. 

 Only when I got the brook bridge did I understand. I shone the light from my phone to try and see how deep the water was and in front of the light there were thousands of tiny swirling water particles. Mist. 

 I looked up and realised that the reason it was pitch black is that was not a single light in the sky. There was the outline of the trees and then great big nothing behind. If I was an ancient mariner or a desert wanderer from long ago, there would be absolutely nothing up there to give me a hint of where I was, or where I should go. There were no markers, no guidance, no clue where to go next. Nothing. Just big hazy black damp darkness that stretched on and on.

 But I wasn't a lost traveller - for me there was something more. Not sand or waves beneath my feet. There was solid ground. And the knowledge of the way home. And if I turned and walked on it, in the direction I knew, it would get me home. 

 And it did.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012