Mr C had ten days in the new orphanage where the staff on the sick ward had quickly warmed to him. He was on the sick ward because he was tube fed and regularly needed suction. He was known to have an animated and happy personality and was quite easy to care for while he was on his large U-shaped cushion. Staff told me how easy it was to raise a smile with him. I visited him twice and, on one occasion, we called his Dad, which was always a true delight to him. He vocalised loads and laughed as he heard his Dad speak. He was doing ok apart from being chesty, which I had put down to him being laid down so much while I was away and no one expressed concerns about that.
Then on the Saturday mid-afternoon, I got a call from his Dad asking if I was working and I explained I was not. He informed me that he had had a call from the boys’ home saying that Mr C had passed away. At this news I instantly got on my bike and peddled over. They told me it was true and that they were shocked, because there were other children that they were much more worried about.
The carer said that he was happy and laughing at shower time, carried back to the bed, given suction and tube fed without any complication. When they came next to feed him in the early afternoon, they thought he was sleeping, but noticed he was pale. It was then that they realised he was gone. It was clear when I saw him that it didn’t seem to have been a seizure or major coughing fit that was the cause, because his body was in such a relaxed position. Throughout his life, Mr C had struggled with both of those issues and it would cause him to arch his neck and fling his arms out. This day he genuinely looked like he had gone to sleep and not awoken.
His body was taken for autopsy and Pneumonia was deemed the cause. It reminded me of the early days with him when he would be at the hospital for x-rays and admission on such a regular basis that they gave him a nickname and knew his dad well. I had not realised how little he went to hospital over the years for that more recently. I guess because the suction kept it at bay and he was more active and upright and stronger to cough it up. Sadly, in my time away in the UK, he was less active and although efforts to suction him continued, the movement was one of the factors that must have helped.
Mr C really was such a content young man and so willing to be happy in all circumstances. I was blessed to know him and have that bond with him. On my arrival back to Thailand, I visited him on the sick ward. He was sleeping and as he stirred and his eyes fixed on me, he wiggled and laughed a hearty laugh, showing that he remembered me.
Passing on this sad news to all who had loved him was hard and many were shocked all over the world, but knowing his peaceful state helped us all.
Through the years his Dad had visited as often as he could, first as a taxi driver, then motorbike driver, but then he was too ill himself to visit as much. A year or so ago, 1Step2Step and Bann Feung Fah managed to organise to take Mr C to where Dad was staying as Dad was unable to come to see Mr C and clearly both were missing each other. It was a lovely trip and Mr C clearly enjoyed it. Both my Mum and I could see how much it was worth the effort. Last time Dad had seen Mr C was in January on the children’s day and they had had a wonderful time together. The news of his passing hit his Dad hard.
The funeral was planned and 1Step2Step covered all the costs, so Dad could see that his son was loved and valued. It was a hard day. The two expat volunteer ladies (German and Slovakian), my Canadian friend (who had checked on him while I was away) attended the funeral with quite a lot of staff from Bann FF and a number from the boys home too, as well as his Dad, who came for the day. He travelled home shortly after the cremation was done with the framed photo of Mr C held close. We paid his travel costs to relieve his concerns about the journey.
We ask your prayers for him as he adjusts to life without a chance to hear his son on the phone. He feared that day would come and I pray that he will be able to look after himself and find peace.
Pictures from the funeral…