Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The value of community

Recently Ron Edmondson wrote about the value of community. We have drawn great strength during my Dad’s illness and death from the support of several communities.

The carers and nurses who looked after Dad for the last few weeks of his life were fantastic. They were loving towards my Dad – though sometimes forceful. But they always treated him as a human, as far as I know they never talked about him in his presence, they talked to him. They treated him with dignity, while undertaking some pretty undignified tasks. Above all of that the carers provided vital companionship for my Mum. This helped Mum to carry on caring for Dad at home, and she was thrilled that two of the carers were able to attend the funeral. I hope that the carers in my organisation provide such a good service.

Our church here in Perth was great. We were overwhelmed with offers of practical support, with messages of encouragement and sympathy. But most of all we were sustained by the prayers of so many people. As we approached the church on the day of Dad’s funeral I was acutely aware of the number of people who were praying for us at that time – it gave me a huge lift, and helped me enormously.

The minister of Dad’s church (and the assistant minister) helped us by encouraging us to talk about Dad, to remember the many positive aspects of his life. My Mum’s priest has provided her with sensitive, supportive pastoral care throughout this difficult time.

Personally I received great support from work. My boss was very understanding about time off whenever I needed it. I was very moved to receive sympathy cards from my staff groups. I hadn’t expected it at all, but it was greatly appreciated.

Of course, friends and family were great, which you would expect.

The value of community? Priceless.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all who supported, and continue to support, us through these times.

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