I pray our dear friend, not just for your will-power alone, but that you will seek the help of others. I pray that you will succeed like my brother did the fist time he sought and accepted practical help for this illness, and that you will never slip back to this tendency to drink…and include the poem I wrote for my brother so you can the more experience family hurt that results, as spur to yout own efforts.
As your fragile remains awaited burial, our David,
The bones of a Doctor of the Church graced my parish.
During her solemn Mass, I implored Saint Therese in tears,
At Communion to escort you straight to heaven with her prayers.
You are the first of us to die, beloved brother,
Aside from three tiny infants lost in uteri.
Even now as we esteem your heavenly peace,
The stark shock of your accident lingers on.
Fragments of diary, burned edges still pungent
With the fire that devoured your dear body,
Record the activities of your last week on earth,
And the future appointments you now shall never keep.
Shattered eucalypts died upon that ravaged site
Where abruptly your soul left pain for heaven’s joy.
Yet even now with the rain of these last weeks,
The earth renews in fresh and green regrowth.
Devastated to learn of your sudden awful death
We celebrate the perennial courage of your life,
Your unquenchable love and ever-renewed forgiveness
Despite loss of what you held most dear—your boys.
For years, you held controlled that strange component of your brain
Which meant you could not touch the smallest drop of alcohol.
Then with your children torn from you, your fatherhood denied–
Loneliness, frustration and grief cracked your many years’ resolve.
We saw you rise and try again each time overcome
By the cruel obstacle concealed within your frame.
You struggled with a will that would not capitulate,
Although your broken dream could never be restored.
Even as with hope, you continued your years-long struggle
In the sanctuary of our remarkable father’s home and love,
You were already grown still thinner and more ill
With the ache of suspected illness in your lung.
Nevertheless, you threw yourself into finding work again
And to labouring in our sister and our father’s gardens
While rejoicing in your deep return to God and faith,
And reconciliation with the Church you loved.
If “charity covers a multitude of sins,” as Scripture says,
Then by God’s mercy, your life indeed covers many wrongs–
For innumerable acts of caring threaded all your duties,
Weaving kindness and friendliness through all your life.
I keep your photo near me, David, as from a happier time
Your peaceful, warm smile shines gently out–
Pleasant blue eyes gaze from your dear tanned face–
To make my heart smile, sometimes even through my tears.
Beloved brother, bless you for your trust in family love,
For turning to us again and again, in your enduring need.
Bless you for cherishing us and desiring only good
For each whom you love and even those who crushed your heart.
You seem so near, David, there with God in heaven.
I feel your caring and your prayer, with shared resolve
To nourish and protect your boys and all our kin.
You will intercede until all of us join with you in God.