ASHDON FUNERAL TRIBUTE

(Given on the 9th December)

walton slipwayWhen first asked to do this, I thought how can I pay a tribute to someone who by ending her own life has inflicted so much hurt on people I love so much and shaken up so many people? Please bear with me, this is hard.

You all have your own memories of what a lovely, affectionate girl she was.

I have known Ashdon since a little baby 14 short years ago, when mum proudly brought her to church to show us. I watched her growing up, eager, fun loving, running top speed everywhere, full of energy. A great sense of humour, cracking jokes in back row here at church. A lovely ‘full on’ bubbly little girl, who loved life, often describing things and people she loved in a phrase she coined: ‘its boom ting, man, boom ting!’.

But there was another side to her – she had a real spiritual sensitivity, loved Jesus, always inviting friends to follow him, and sad when they didn’t, and a great sensitivity towards people, especially the under dog. When I came to retire she realised how much it was hurting me to have to leave our lovely All Nations family and said something to me that made me cry and I wrote it down, it was so special. Several others also remember her ‘wise sayings’.

I never thought that the first time I’d be asked back to the church since leaving would be to lay dear Ashdon to rest in the ground. Anybody but her.

What hurt, what grief, what raw pain there is here today – and it’s not right. She obviously had no idea of what saying goodbye to planet earth like this would do to her Mum, brother Emmanuel, granny, granddad, Mark, her aunties, cousins, and bestest friends.

‘Ashdon, you hurt us, you robbed us of your delightful personality and all your potential, and it’s hard to forgive you for that, but we must try, and we must try to understand the pain you were feeling that drove you to an early grave’.

So I want to give another tribute – to her family, the Muirhead’s and Robinsons. Your world hit the buffers on that Saturday. I’ll never forget that phone call from the hospital just minutes after she was pronounced dead. The pain, like nothing else.

No greater catastrophe can engulf a family. We are not equipped for this. On that day you encountered catastrophic grief, and I felt it down the phone line.

It was shocking, messy. Tormenting you with so much guilt:  Could I have stopped it? Should I have done more? What if I had said this? What if I had done that?

For whatever reason her pain was too great, too heavy for her to bear.  I know that you would have done everything in your power if you had known.

I want to pay tribute to you for the way you came together as a family, what strength you found in each other and the way you have kept your dignity through these exhausting days.

Right now all you can taste are bitter tears. … Because every morning when you wake up and every night when you put your head on the pillow, the reality occurs again, She’s not here and she’s not coming back.

Like her uncle Ronnie, who’s tragic death four years ago we remember at this time of the year

Keep holding onto Jesus because as the old hymn says:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

anchor

WE love you and deeply respect you; you gave Ashdon the best, because you are the best

Third tribute – is to friends who just came and reached out in tangible love, shopping, cooking, caring, washing,  realising this kind of grief is hard work, it’s exhausting, and coming round, just sitting there, being there, and to your wonderful Christian family right round the world who day after day held you up in prayer

What great support you’ve given. Thank you. But don’t stop after today, after the funeral. For the rest of Patricia and Mark’s life, and Dawn and Ashley’s life as long as they live, there will be tears in their eyes. And they won’t ultimately be comforted until God Himself wipes them away from their face. Life will never be the same again, but life will be good again as we love them

I know Ashdon was proud of Usain Bolt the fastest man on the planet, (she told her school teacher she was his sister!), but in 1924 at the Munich Olympic Games, an English man Eric Liddell (of Chariots of Fire fame), was the fastest man in the world and a Christian and he said this, “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans. But God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love.”

God is not helpless among our ruins, as you will eventually find out. But as in New York after 9/ 11, it takes years before rebuilding can start.

rebuilding twin towers

Words at the GRAVESIDE

We are not burying Ashdon; impossible to bury someone who was such a huge personality. No, we don’t bury Christians, we plant Christians in the ground, just like planting a seed, in the belief that it’s not the end of the seed but the start of something new, a sprout will rise up, a new plant, alive, the seed transformed into something totally different, ‘boom ting’  beautiful. But it’s always a bit scary planting a seed, as we wonder, will it shoot, but if want the plant, the new beautiful Ashdon to grow in heaven, got to do it.

seed sprouting

ASHDON is okay, she’s truly okay. She is not asleep; she has not ceased to exist. Her vibrant spirit went straight into the arms of her saviour Jesus Christ when she breathed her last – she was in the presence of God.

And in the perfection of heaven, her broken mind was healed.

So look forward to the day when you’ll finally see for yourself the new glorious Ashdon because the Bible tells us that Nothing can separate the child of God from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love is secure despite the hugest discouragements of life.

Even death itself cannot conquer the child of God. The grave has lost its victory, death has lost its sting. Death separates us from many things—from our loved ones, from our friends, from our conscious life on this earth, from all that we have said and done and accomplished—all of that is taken away from us at death, but death itself cannot win the one battle that matters. It cannot separate Ashdon or us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Ashdon would say to us :

If you could see me now,
I’m walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now,
I’m standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now,
you’d know I’ve seen Him face to face;
if you could only see me now.

Though I’ve had my sorrows,
they never can compare
what Jesus has in store for me,
no language can ever share.
You would not want me
to leave this perfect place,
if you could only see me now.

Its ‘boom ting’, here man,

Because Jesus is the resurrection and the ‘Boom ting’!

i-refuse-to-sink

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3 thoughts on “ASHDON FUNERAL TRIBUTE

  1. Yes, I thought it would be appreciated as so many found it hard to take it all in on the day because of the huge emotions we were all struggling with, and asked me for copies

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