Rebekah Jayne Grant

16 April 1998 - 26 April 2002

Rebekah at Hotel Pauletes January 2002

Rebekah entered the world about this time 4 years ago. She was a rather unexpected addition to our family, since we had decided that after a hard first year with Matthew, and such a traumatic time in getting Kelsey here, we were not going to have any more children. God certainly had other ideas, because against all odds, Rebekah Jayne Grant was born on April 16 1998.

Rebekah at Hotel Pauletes January 2002Right from the first few weeks we felt that something wasn't quite right with Rebekah, and as time went on, it became clear that Rebekah was severely affected by a rare and cruel disorder. After Rebekah, two other children were born with peroxisomal disorders in New Zealand, who both died last year. We would like to honor the memory of both Ethan and William as well.

As the doctors explained the depth and seriousness of Rebekah's disorder, we started to grieve for her right back then. It has been a process to keep her alive, and to help her cope with, and overcome problems as they cropped up. We both feel that we did all we could for Beks, and do not regret anything, as it was a huge learning curve.

Her life was full of broken bones, bleeding episodes, dislocated knee caps and hips, amongst other things. The house was always busy with people coming in and out to care for Rebekah in one way or another. We met so many special people in the different dramas that Beks went through - people we would never have met if it were not for her. We are so grateful for all the care and help that we received for Beks in her short but busy life. Social bunny that she was. It always surprised us that God provided amasingly for Beks - right down to her little cot that she spent a lot of time in, which was given to us by a kind Doctor at the hospital. The house that we live in at the moment was so suitable to her needs - big enough that she could live in the lounge and be part of all that was going on. We had free firewood so we could keep her warm all through the winters - but the most special gift was her carers. We would like to thank Annette, Tina, Beverley and Barbara who made her life so comfortable and loved her so much.

And to her most special carer - her God mother Paulette, who loved her like a second mum and looked after Beks overnight when we were tired and worn out. Thank you Paulette and Neal for being such special friends to us.

We believe Beks would have liked to thank another special lady - Leanne, her physio, who went above what she was called to do, and visited her twice a week to keep her supple. I think Beks got to like you in the end Leanne! In the early days I am sure the neighbours thought we were murdering her. Beks always liked physical touch - just not the ham string variety! And to everyone else, thank you for helping our little girl so much.

Rebekah's cute smile November 2000Her smile and laughter told us all that Rebekah loved her life, and even though she couldn't see us, I am sure she felt how much we all loved her. All of her problems didn't cause her to become less interested in the people around her, and she was still able to melt people's hearts with her giggles right up until near the end of her life.

She taught us that God uses people like her to teach us compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, joy, and long suffering. Without people like Rebekah in the world, we would become self-centred, proud, and lacking compassion. She taught us an appreciation for life itself, and that people are the most important of all. In your last few moments of life its not how many houses you own, or how much money you have that's important - it's people, those who you love, and who love you. At the end of her life, Rebekah was surrounded with just that. Her hospital room was full of people who loved her, and whom she loved in return.

Now we can look back over her life and marvel at how much of a blessing she has been to us. What we have learnt about life and love, few people get to experience. We are so grateful to have been given such a special child like her. To not have her with us now is hard because we all miss her so much.

We will never forget the special moments we had with her, and especially the last night of her life. Her hospital room was full of laughter and sadness both - and probably still smells of souvalakis and McDonalds. To her Nanna and all our friends who were there that night to support us when she was dying - thank you for making her death a little easier.

Our lounge seems very empty now without her, and it will take a long time for the pain to pass, but we know that she is now more fully alive than she has even been. When she took her last breath, she awoke to find that she was home, and taking hold of a hand, finding it was God's hand. Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial air, of passing from a storm and tempest, to an unbroken calm in the presence of the Lord.

Rebekah has run her race, and now has the crown of eternal life. She is where she always has been - in the arms of Jesus.

Rebekah sharing a giggle with Nana, summer 2001

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

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