We do apologise that we have been silent on the blog for a couple of months. We have taken this time away from the Tanzania blog as we walked a different journey through my (Tim’s) Dad’s illness and subsequent death on 2 April 2016 in the UK.
He had been diagnosed in January 2015 with a brain tumour and underwent surgery to remove the tumour in March. He made an excellent recovery and returned to a full life including resuming his work and other activities. However, the surgeon did say the tumour would come back and this was confirmed with new lesions in the brain being shown up on his scan this January.So, we landed in the UK on 19 March and were able to spend time with Dad each day, along with other family members, first in the hospital and then later in the hospice. Those 2 weeks I will treasure.
Each of those days with Dad was a gift in which we sought to enjoy him and encourage him. I was impressed by how our girls, Amisadai and Louisa, quickly adjusted from expecting to receive from Grandad (he had always given them so much) to what they could give to him, even as his faculties were shutting down. It was obvious that his time with them and his other grandchildren was a highlight of his final days and brought him and them real joy.So in fact we consider our time there was rich and precious. Even with the tears and sadness, we are filled with gratitude and joy. So many friends reached out to us with generosity and kindness and we were blessed with special time with family. And Mum went out of her way after Dad’s funeral to make that last week in England as happy and fun as possible for Amisadai and Louisa with days out, delicious treats and many hot chocolates in Costa Coffee!
Over the past month, I have been reflecting on what a gift my Dad has been to me. To me he was a splendid Dad. I couldn’t have asked for any more. I’ve enjoyed reading and finding comfort in the cards and messages so many people have sent. And I can even say I enjoyed his funeral, learning many things about him. In this time of loss, I am aware there is much to gain. As I remember who he was, already there are things in my life I wish to adjust. These are some of his qualities I appreciate:
First, his cheerfulness. All the way through, right up to the end, he maintained this posture of cheerfulness. As a Christian there is no point talking about God giving you joy if it’s not evident in your life. Joy is what gives you strength to keep going and the foundation of joy is gratitude.Second, was his love for all people. This was especially so for both those who had experienced extremely hard times and those from other countries. He reached out to help them and they in turn blessed him greatly. He was kind and generous –with his words, his time and his money.
Third, awareness of his weaknesses. He was a humble man who often referred to the points in his life which needed work and he did just that… he worked at those points. His character got better with time and reached its fullness in the last few years of his life.Fourth, was his desire to seek/grant forgiveness and find reconciliation. Being reconciled mattered more to Dad than feeling he was right. And having the courage to seek reconciliation meant being willing to discover that he, as well as the other, may have been part of the problem. In a broken world this is a much-needed quality.
Fifth, his willingness to reconsider his views and beliefs and see them reworked and expressed differently. He understood that we all see through a glass darkly. In a rapidly changing world this is essential to being effective.Sixth, he gave himself to what was life-giving and fruitful and leaving other things. He believed he had a contribution to make to the lives of others. He long continued working part time because he valued the company which did business the right way with good objectives.
And seventh, servant leadership. In his leadership in both church and business, power for him was to be used for the benefit of others, to see them developed and take their place.To me, all these qualities were some of the gifts that Dad gave… his legacy.
As my Mum and I left the hospice for the last time, she said, “You know what Dad would say? Get on with your life!” In this period of coming to terms with his death, by God’s grace I hope to do this, adding these qualities of his, and so living more fruitfully back here in Tanzania.