In Memoriam

It's incredibly refreshing to be home.

The last two weeks have been a stressful, head-achey, heartbreaking blur. Just to recoup I spent the entire day in my sweats without showering or combing my hair and sipped coffee on the couch while doing my regular routine things like meal planning, grocery list making, budget balancing and drinking in the simplicity of hanging out with my sweet girls. It felt so good.

While I do plan on writing about the last couple weeks, my brother-in-law Shawn wrote an amazing tribute to his Dad (my father-in-law) and I wanted to share.

Barry you were so incredibly loved.


My dad died unexpectedly last Thursday (April 9, 2009) in a hospital in New Westminster. He was 57 years old. He died without pain. Basically, his heart just stopped. Barry James Birss had a hard life, and it did a lot of damage to his body. Though he has been very diligent to live healthy and active for the last eight years especially, some damage cannot be undone.

My dad was a relationshipsmith. That was his trade, and he was damn good at it. He loved deeply. He loved honestly. He was a man who wanted to know you as you were, and would take the time to get there if he had to. He spent a great deal of his life having all his weaknesses revealed. All of that pain and hurt was fashioned into a golden instrument of healing in the lives of all around him. You didn't need to pretend around Barry. He'd lived it all.

I have rarely seen a life of pain like I saw in my dad. It was said in this world that he would never return to us free. But he didn't remain there. Having been rescued and restored from the deep pits of mental illness and despair, he chose to return to the places of his greatest pain, and shine hope like a lighthouse to those suffering in the storms he had endured. He left his prison, and returned to it as a free man to show others the way out.

Every night as a child I prayed to my Heavenly Father that my dad would be healed. I didn't know it would take twenty years, but my prayers were answered. The last time I saw my dad, with his strong and gentle voice and his clear eyes, he thanked me for those prayers.

My dad was not a great man. He was not a man of vast accomplishment by the standards of this world. He was a simple man. A man who lived and loved and laughed . . . with outsiders, with people locked behind thick walls, with friends who'd lost everything. He kept a friend for fifty years, though his friend has no phone or address. He let his broken self be seen by the broken, and through his cracks spilled the healing life of a loving God.

He was a lover and a fighter, in the right measure of both.


Thankyou Steve. Thankyou Kate. Thankyou Uncle Rob and Aunt Dorie and Grandma and Sharon. Thankyou Stan. Thankyou Ken. Thankyou everyone at Burnaby Mental Wealth. Thankyou all who loved and were loved by Barry. You are his legacy.


2 Corinthians 4

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Carla said...

Beautifully said.

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