20 September 2008

Prayer request for the dead

I just received word that a cousin of mine has died. Please pray for him.

His was a difficult life for most of his sixty plus years. At a young age, for fun he and a few friends interrupted a young couple who were "necking," as we used to say, in a parked car. The man jumped out of the car and chased the boys. He caught my cousin, and in a rage beat my cousin's head against a tree repeatedly. My cousin was brain damaged forever after.

He was a troubled man, prone to wild mood swings. At times he could be happy and affable, and then with almost no segue he could turn to the depths of depression, and then back again. He also found out that most people did things for him out of pity, and he soon learned in his fumbling way to try and draw on feelings of sympathy and use that to his advantage. He could be a difficult man to love.

Like most of the mentally challenged, he was unable to find long term work, or any work really that paid above the most minimum of wages. Some bosses, I am told, took advantage of his conditions and withheld his pay in whole or in part. He relied heavily on his family, but with his mood swings and tantrums, he often bit the hand that fed him. To their credit, they never completely abandoned him, though there were times they wanted to.

My mother tried to help him as best she could by staying in contact and writing to him, always encouraging him, reminding him to put his faith in God. His letters to her often carried a deep sense of sadness. "Sometimes I think I've been forgotten," he wrote in one. "Sometimes I just want to die," he wrote in another. In other letters he would send prayer cards to thank her for her letters and prayers, and tell her happy stories of his friends at the home where he lived for a time.

He has been sick for a long time now. His health bad, one system shut down after another. He has gone in and out of comas. In the end, his body just could not endure any more.

Save for his final illness, throughout all his trials, he always went to Church and remembered his prayers. Please remember him in yours.

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