Friday, September 08, 2006

Pastor Pavamani

I was honored to receive this email from the daughter of the man who pastored the church I attended in Calcutta.

Dear April,

I don't think we've met. I'm Kavita, the youngest of Vijayan's four daughters. He was visitng with me in Towson, Maryland when he had the heart attack. I wanted to let you know some details.

He had one heart attack while he was watering the garden in my home. He didnt tell us. We heard of it much later. He suffered with the discomfort all night and then in the morning, my sister's brother-in-law's wife who is a nurse came to do a quick check up. We the took him to the ER where he suffered a second heart attack. The first heart attack blew a hole in the wall separating the two chambers, the second heart attack just made it worse.

He was in the ICU for four days in a St. Joseph Medical Center just 5 minutes down the street from my house. The doctor said that open heart surgery was inevitable but it would be dangerous at the same time because he wasnt sure if my dad would make the recovery he needed.

We were all sure my father would make it. This man faced challenges every day, faced death so many times and came through victorious....we knew he would pull through. What we did not know that God was arranging to take my father home to Him and He did everything so well, perfected every detail.

My mother heard the news, a friend from the US bought her a ticket and within a few hours she was on a plane. She was in the air when the madness hit London with that whole terorrist scare. But like I said, God arranged everything and her flight was the last one to leave Mumbai before they cancelled all flights to Heathrow.
Sh was only a few hours late - another miracle. She came straight to the hospital. My father was overyjoyed, the graph dangerously fluctuating on the monitor screen.

We had three wonderful days together in the room in the ICU. my sister and her husband. My mom. My husband and I. We laughed, prayed and talked. My father had a balloon pump assisting his heart and he had to lay very flat and still but he was just as cheerful, just as lively. News of him spread throughout the hospital and the doctors and nurses just loved him. They said there was something different about him. Some called him a "holy man". But he was just simple, loving Vijayan, concerned about the nurses and their long work hours.

On the day of the surgery we prayed together and sang his favorite songs. He closed his eyes, raised his hands and said 'I have perfect peace. This will be for the glory of God." We all said goodbye. That were the last few words that he spoke.

The surgery was supposed to be 3 and 1/2 hours long. It took almost 9 hours. The doctors later said that his heart was so damaged it was like sewing on cheese. The sutures to repair the patch burst open right as they were ready to close him up. They had to redo the entire procedure.

He was in a stable condition for a day and a half before everything started to go downhill. His blood pressure really fluctuated. His heart was not pumping adequately to support his body. His kidneys started to deteriorate. They started dialysis. This whole time they kept him heavily sedated and on a ventilator so he could not speak or open his eyes but they told us he could still hear. So we encouraged him and loved him and prayed.

They tried one last effort to help his heart heal. It didnt work. They called us in on Saturday morning and told us to get ready to say farewell to our beloved Daddy. I will never forget that ride to the hospital.

We surrounded him all day. People travelled from as far as Colorado that day just to get a chance to see him. I sang his favorite song close to his ear.

Finally at 2:25 AM on Sunday morning, the machines started beeping. One by one, the machines shut down. We clung to him.

The nurses were so kind. They wept with us. I will never forget the kindness and compassion shown to my father and all of us in that hospital. So the question was asked by many here in Calcutta: Why did God take Daddy to one of the best cardiac hospitals if he knew he wasnt going to make it? Why did he have to go all the way to America?

These are our thoughts regarding those questions: My father's whole life was spent in service for others. In many way, I feel his heart was physically broken with the pain and suffering that he took on himself. He always, always showed kindness to those in need, even to those who were undeserving. I feel that God, who loved Daddy far more than any of us, wanted to show him the same kindness and compassion in his last few days on earth. Honestly, the care imparted to him by those nurses and doctors was really, really special. They were so kind even to us, his family. Just the way they spoke was so encouraging and gentle. It would not have been the same in India.

Even though those last few days in the hospital brought many visitors, we stildl had some wonderful, private, family times of togetherness and fellowship. That also would have been difficult here.

There are other many details that prove that God's hand was in all of this. So we have no questions. We accept that God called His faithful servant home. We miss him terribly. The loss at times is unbearable. The man who spoke at his funeral, Dr. Tony Sargent said that 'Vijayan was a man who was twice alive". Its true. Thats why he's left such a deep void.

At the same time, we are witnessing the fruit of his labor. The entire ministry and church has shown amazing unity. My mother will be taking over. SHe spoke at the funeral. It was awe-inspiring. The funeral was so unique - it was more like a celebration of his life. he would have liked it. God got all the glory, just like he said.

I want to thank you from the family for what you wrote in your journal. You captured the heart of my father. He truly did weep for the city of Calcutta. I saw that many many times. It is true that something beautiful that once was, is gone. You are right. Things will not be the same. But I believe that his dream will continue. He instilled something in us that will never die. We will continue what he started.


Desigirl7 said...

I am one of those whose life was touched by Pastor Pavamani or 'Uncle' as I like to call him. Having been raised in India and since then moving here to Washington State I have in my 42 years been exposed to a lot of Christian leaders. However once in a while you meet someone that really does what Jesus asked us to do and is what Jesus would expect us to be. That is what Uncle Vijayan was. A true disciple. He loved others just as Jesus loved him. It was becuase he knew His Master's love for him so well. He and aunty Premila are really two examples of true Christians.
I especially love his daughters' 'Daddy' jokes and isms - the little peculiarities that made him so unique. We are close - atleast I liked to think I too was one of his daughters. I was sorry not to have been able to go and see him in Maryland but I know I shall see him when I get to heaven!

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