When Pat married Stuart, she thought he was a man in a million. She didn't know he was a man in twenty million! In 1991 Stuart was diagnosed with a glucagonoma, an extremely rare tumour of the pancreas. Doctors said we might reach our 2nd wedding anniversary. In 2002 we celebrated our 13th.
For this we thanked God, who was our Rock, and showed His loving care every inch of the way. Cancer has its teeth pulled when God comes near through the words in the Bible:
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me" Psalm 23 verse 4.
We also owed a lot to our praying friends at Hunslet Baptist Church and elsewhere, and of course to the doctors, who continued to offer treatment to keep it under control. (There were times however when the consultant scratched his head and said "I don't know what's going on, but it's brilliant!")
Without this diagnosis, we perhaps would not have treasured our relationship so deeply: we could not take a future together for granted. Stuart enjoyed the challenge of his telescope and CCD camera (his Stars site has been left as he wrote it), and Pat developed her creative side as a diversion from caring, when this was needed. We learned to trust God from minute to minute, in the smallest details, and were often so aware of the reality of heaven.
Both working part-time, we were able to explore the www (wide & wonderful world) of computers. So what seemed like a closing down in fact opened many new windows (joke!) which are shared with you on this website. Enjoy it.
The Lord took Stuart home on 5th February 2003, quietly and with all his family round him. He was 53. Although often tired, he suffered little actual pain over the years, and his last evening, four days before he died, was spent enthusiastically presenting his financial report to the church and talking about his vision for the future (though he was well aware he would not be there to see it.)
His reaction when diagnosed with cancer was very simple:
"Cancer - why not me? As long as God's got a job for me to do, I'll be here."
He was allowed to start and finish many jobs, not least bringing up two wonderful children and enriching all our lives with his enthusiasm and humour.
His favourite verse, so true as physical energy declined, was Isaiah 40 : 31:
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar with wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not be faint.
God kept him healthy in mind and spirit to the very end, and
we thank Him for that.
At his funeral, on Stuart's firm insistance, we raised the roof singing 'Shine, Jesus, shine'
He always said he would be sorry to miss it.
We have added an audio clip (774kb, 90 seconds) of Stuart talking about heaven during a 'Songs of Praise' service at Hunslet Baptist, not long before he died.
For eleven years, only his loving Heavenly Father knew his expectation of life.
May we all be as ready as Stuart was.