On Monday of this week, I had the sad opportunity to attend the funeral of a fifty-two-year-old young man who was a long-time member of my church. Andrew was the epitome of good nature, good deeds, and good looks. He was also the recipient of ominous cardiovascular genetics. His father and brother both died of this deadly disease at a very early age. Although his mother also had the gene, she did live a longer life, and Andrew became her solitary caregiver after she suffered a stroke in her early seventies.
This young man took care of his mother in the same way she cared for him as a child. He was always by her side, taking her to movies, out to dinner, to church functions, and to church every Sunday. When Andrew smiled, it lit up a room; when he laughed, it could be heard clear across Scarborough, and if Andrew cried, nobody heard it.
And his good works didn’t stop with his mother. On one occasion, I met Andrew when he was shopping at a Superstore where I had just purchased a patio set of table, four chairs and an umbrella. Seeing me trying to cram this whole set into my little Kia Magentis, totally without success, Andrew promptly pulled his van up behind me and loaded my patio furniture into it. “Where to, Patricia?” he asked with his famous brilliant smile. He followed me to my house, unloaded my set, and offered to put it all together for me. But I declined that extra service and sent him on his way, with a huge hug of thanks, to get his mother’s groceries. Not long after that, Andrew’s mother suffered a major stroke which ended her life, and saw him handle the final act of seeing to his mom’s last wishes.
That’s how Andrew walked the sidewalk of life. Everything he did was from the goodness of his heart; one that never functioned physically the way it was meant to.
After his mother’s death, Andrew began admitting to having problems with his heart. In spite of that, he picked up the pieces of life without his mom, and carried on living with a new sense of freedom, when he wasn’t in hospital for one procedure or another.
And then Andrew was gone. A massive heart attack took him in his sleep. I’m told he knew his days were numbered, but not for one moment do I believe that he gave in to self pity. I’m told that on his final day on earth, he mentioned to a neighbour that he wasn’t feeling well but went about filling the bird bath and feeder so that his feathered friends were looked after. That’s the kind of guy he was.
As the clergyman who did his funeral service told us, this good natured young man got off the sidewalk of life and onto the stairway to Heaven. And he only did so after a final act of kindness.
Can you imagine how many angels were waiting for Andrew at the top of that stairway?