I’ve been known to get quite “emotional” about things, it’s in my DNA, something I accept, the older I get. It’s what defines me…
Aside from this, I carry my heart on my sleeve and feel the pain or joy of others. I think this must be why it’s so hard being Skyewaters sometimes. Hydro warriors all over the world are fighting a battle unknown to most people.
My body physically reacts with anxiety when one of our Hydro family members faces another brain operation. More so, my soul hurts at the loss of one of our own…young, old and in-between.
Hydrocephalus is a lonely condition, it can isolate you from not only the rest of the world but, also those closest to you. This is probably one of the reasons why I refer to others with this condition as family. They understand your pain, the medical terminology and all that comes with it – the triumphs, the joys, the fear, the sadness, more importantly, the reality of it all.
We have lost so many (and continue to do so), to this incurable condition and yet, those of us left behind, we continue to fight.
Last night, we lost Joshua Gourlay, one of the bravest people I know. How he managed to endure over 100 brain surgeries, is beyond my own understanding…
When the doctors sent him home last week because there was nothing more they could do for him, I felt deflated. And yet, the last few days I struggled with the situation more and more. I even started thinking, “Surely this must be something God can fix…“. The infection he developed in his brain, had returned after a course of antibiotics. It had spread to his Gallbladder where his latest shunt was led to. (He had too much scar tissue in his abdomen, with not many options left open to his surgeon). Despite the operation being successful, nothing could have predicted the infection causing the havoc it did.
I sometimes wonder, when we pray for someone to get better, for relief from the pain or discomfort they are in, what are we actually praying for? I know I just wanted Josh better and not to have to endure further brain surgery. For the effects, his lifelong Hydro journey has had on his family, to stop. I prayed that Hydrocephalus would give him a break and, leave him be…
There are so many of us who don’t require as many surgeries as Josh had and yet, we are “fine”. Why couldn’t he just be like some of us..? Like me..? (I’ve only ever had 5 surgeries, nothing in comparison)
I would have swopped places with him in a heartbeat or endured half the surgeries he had, if it would make a difference. (I know the answer to that).
My heart is heavy today because I feel for his family, his mother Nicky who walked this journey with him. Who knew when he needed help even when he didn’t, that’s not an easy task. I have the utmost respect for her. And, his family who watched him endure all this, over his lifetime.
But…I have to believe that Josh is now free from all of the earthly challenges inflicted on him. I don’t for one minute believe his life has been in vain. To have met him has been such a blessing. Sharing a laugh, getting to know him and being privy to his wicked sense of humour… Not to mention his fiery spirit when he wanted to get his point across!
So, if I’m acting on emotion writing this post, then so be it. My emotions are mixed right now:
- Sadness at the loss of life.
- Anger that this invisible condition doesn’t have better, long-lasting treatment options.
- Concern for myself and anyone else living with this condition.
- Relief at the knowledge that he won’t have to endure any more pain and discomfort.
- Thankful because I had the chance to meet my Hydro brother face-to-face.
- Gratitude for the lessons he left behind and the way he touched my life.
Before I left his bedside last week, he said “I want to see you again…”, I told him he would, even though it didn’t feel like it to me.
Nonetheless, I meant it.
I may not physically see him in this life again but, I know I will when my eyes close on this world. Who knows, we may even get to have that fish and chips while overlooking the ocean, something we never had a chance to do…
This thought comforts me…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7)”.