Monday, 12 April 2010

An Inspiring Young Man

I was overwhelmed by yesterday’s response to the blog. I thank you all for you kind words and such open honesty. I feel humbled to have such caring friends. Now let me put things into a wider context. I have had a privileged life in having contact with people at very intimate time in their lives. There in the happy moments of marriage and birth and there with people as they have shirked off their mortal coils. I have been privileged that they wanted me with them in those times. This effects a person at a level that makes you need to return this to others.

Let me tell you of a young man I will never ever forget. He was fourteen when I first met him the pride and joy of his parents who had thought they would never have a son because of their age. He was a lovely young lad. At fifteen he was diagnosed as having leukaemia. I remember him saying to me with help I am going to fight this. His parents did not drive so I often took them and him to hospital appointments, so I got to know him and them well. He was not given much time, but amazingly it seemed to go into recession and he had things he wanted to do. He wanted to ride a racing bike, and he did. He wanted to sit by a river and fish with his father. We took my caravan to a site where he could do that and he had two weeks of sitting fishing with his dad.

On his return home we fitted a CB radio in his bedroom and he spoke to me when I was out on my visits. I visited him first thing each morning last thing each night. I had my thought for the day for him; he had his joke of the day for me. I never left feeling other than uplifted.

One day a I was told the next door neighbour had made comment about the amount of time I was giving the family and had not managed to pop in and see them. This showed how much they were keeping the seriousness of his condition to themselves.

Just a few days before his sixteenth birthday he died peacefully in his sleep. I became the proud owner of a fishing rod.

I hope those of you who are reading this are not now feeling low or sad because he would never have wanted that. I think of him often and I always think of him as an example of spirit and courage in adversity. His life was short but it was meaningful and even now forty years on he is an inspiration. When you are lucky enough to have friends like this it is easy to care for others.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the artwork used:-Floral Abstract


  1. What a sad but very caring story - love the painting- feeling the love

  2. Oy. Sad I do feel Ralph. I had a night full of bad dreams that involved losing my grandchildren. Oh...the tears come. It is so devastating to lose such a loved one, a child. I cannot imagine and hope and pray that God will keep my own safe and healthy. I don't even ask for happiness for them...just health and safety. They are in His hands.

  3. I am aware this story has a sadness but it is the courage of this young man and how he was so caring of others that is such an inspiration to me.

  4. What a wonderful story of courage and strength in the face of adversity....both from the young lad and those of you who helped him.

    Part of an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote says "Many people die with their music still in them.....". I am certain your visits and CB communication with this young man helped keep the ill-omened demons of this disease at bay at least the depression part which may have made his short life miserable.

    Your efforts and of others who loved him helped him hear at least part of "his music".

  5. This story reminds me why people become pastors or ministers. I have often thought about what a privilege it must be to help people in transition--and certainly they (the dying people) help the helpers!

    Where would our world be without people like you...people who will turn their attention to others in need? Last night I watched "the Diary of Ann Frank". Of course, I read it when I was a young girl (it was "required" reading in 8th grade). The movie had so much hardship in it..and I knew the story, so I was very close to switching channels..then I had an odd thought--how soft of me to want to turn away from the reality of what happened in her short life. Yes, it was horribly grim..but that is the whole point of Ann Frank's story..she was sunny most of the time, even while realizing how awful people can be. She concentrated of the good instead of the bad. I watched it all the way through and I was rewarded for staying with it. That's what you do here with your blog too--you always inspire. I like you! And also...I admire this floral painting. Keep the paintings and inspirations coming!

    p.s. glad the young man had you and glad you had him.

  6. Having recently been diagnosed with CLL (chronic lymphocitic lukemia) and now being tested for other health issues, I can only hope I have HALF this young man's courage and strength! Thank you for such an inspiring story. It will not be forgotten!

  7. Dear Ralph, It must have been an enormous privilege and gift to be of such service to this young man. I always feel so humbled when I hear stories of people like this young man. I couldn't imagine working in the area of nursing terminally ill young people. Life seems so harsh and cruel sometimes but fortunately he was blessed to have an angel sent to him in the form of you. He is certainly an inspiration. xx