Monday, May 7, 2012

Vineeth Memorial 2012

We had a memorial of our son, Vineeth, on May 5th, 2012 at our residence in Pearland. Fr. John Geevarghese led the service. About 75 of our closest family friends attended. After the evening prayer and the special prayer for the departed, Father Geevarghese made a very meaningful talk on resurrection. After that, I made a talk on disability, which can be heard here.

A summary can be read here in English and in Malayalam.

Some pictures of the event may be seen here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Story of our Life and the Lessons we have Learned

Leading the Service
Speech given at the memorial service of Vineeth on May 6, 2011 at St. Mary's Church, Houston TX

          Dear friends and family,
          I want to repeat a story I have already told several times. Some of you might have heard it from me earlier. But I keep on telling this story because it has impressed me deeply, and I learned a great lesson from it. When I was accompanying my son’s body to India, I had to stay in a hotel for a day in Dubai. A few friends in Dubai visited me there. I shared my pain with them in a sentence—I lost my child. Immediately came a reply from someone – He is our child too! It took a few moments for me to realize what he meant by that statement. Once I understood the depth of that statement, it sank deep into my soul, and made a strong impression. By that statement he admitted that my pain was real, but he wanted to affirm that they were there to share the pain with me.

In times of loss and pain, one needs support. No one can keep on going without support from others. They came to the hotel room to let me know that I was not alone, and that they were there to share my pain. You all have been there for us to support us and to share our pain in times of need. It would have been much easier for you to stand away and leave us to suffer. But you were willing to come down to us in our valley of tears to console us and to shed tears with us.

Giving devotional address
Lissy and I knew at the very beginning that our life would be an adventure trip, but we had no idea what all adventures were there in store for us.

God gave us a child, and we received him with gratitude and joy. We watched him growing with wonder and excitement. He was the first among his classmates in his schools, and he was an icon for his friends. As parents we had our dreams of him. He also dreamed of a successful future for him.  But as he entered adolescence, two disabilities, which were dormant in the childhood, slowly began to show up. One was a disability of his eyesight. He began to develop severe astigmatism, and on top of it he had very bad keratoconus on both eyes. We tried a cornea transplant on one eye, but the result was not that satisfactory. The other disability was in his brain. He began to develop very severe episodes of depression. These two inherited disabilities made his adolescent life very painful. In spite of the disabilities and the pain, he managed to live his life as successfully as he could. He graduated from High school with honors, and graduated from college on time. The severity of pain made him contemplate ending this life. After leaving a note, in which he apologized for leaving a lot of grief behind, he took his own life.
John Kunnathu tells
the story of Vineeth

In the note he said that he had been contemplating about this for several years. He couldn’t picture himself as a disabled person and as an outcast from the society.  He tried to deny that he was disabled. He also sought our help to deny the truth about him. But simply by denying, he couldn’t get rid of the reality. Finally when he accepted the reality, he decided to give up. But it was not easy for him to make up his mind. The thought of how his parents and others close to him would find themselves in an ocean of grief pulled him back strongly each time he wanted to take his life. 

We were inching forward through the valley of the shadow of death. Our son’s disability, the pain he was suffering each day, and the fact that we had to hide this from everyone around us—all these together was a heavy burden to us as a family. Not a day passed without us crying over him. More than once did my wife suggest to me that we all need to end our lives as a family.

It seems that our son realized where we were heading as a family. He was also scared of himself. He was scared if his own behavior might go beyond his control. Finally he found the solution by taking his own life. Even after our son welcomed death as a solution, Lissy and I continued in the valley of the shadow of death. Without our son, life did not have the same meaning for us anymore. 

What kept us alive was the support we received from you all, the ones who care for us, the ones who were willing to share our pain. You were willing to forgive our mistakes that came out of our arrogance and ignorance. When you stretched your arms to wipe out our tears, we recognized them to be the arms of God. When you shed tears with us, we knew that those were the tears of God. In you we saw a God who cries with us, a God who suffers in us and through us.

Let me share with you some of the lessons we learned from this experience.

Life is an adventure trip, and we are here to learn through our experiences which consist of pain and pleasures. But God does not make us suffer. God suffers with us and in us. Let us not complain about our sufferings, but let us be thankful for every experience of suffering, for they are opportunities to grow and be stronger.

We don’t know the purpose of our existence, but we know the reason for our continuing to exist in spite of our sufferings. We continue to exist because of the people who care for us. Let us always be supportive to each other. We need to care for each other, and we also need to let them know that we care for them.

Death is scary if we see us as individual beings with our own life in us. Although we appear to have our own life, actually we don’t. God alone has life in himself. We are merely an expression of God’s life. According to our tradition, Adam received his life from God’s breath. Adam did not have life in himself. He was living God’s life. When the breath went back to God, and the earth went back to the earth, he died. Once we realize that we, the mortal beings, are the expressions of the immortal God, we don’t need to be sacred of death.

Thank you again for being with us today. May God bless you all! 

See a few pictures of the event here.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I read your text about Vineeth. It was so touching and painful, yet at the same time brave and beautiful and important to hear.

I never asked before, why he died; I suspected some illness, yet had no idea, what kind. Maybe you had written about it before, but I had missed it, I don’t know.

Year 2003 I lost my closest and dearest friend, Pekka, at the same way. I write you a little about him, not thinking, it would be the same than lose a child, but to tell you some of my thoughts and feelings of this illness. I hope it does not make you feel too bad or sad, but shares some part of your loss and thoughts around this mental sickness.

Pekka was more than a brother to me, and his suicide was really, really a shock for us all. He suffered from the same illness, and it got worse with the years. He had had several attempts during his life, the first at the age of 18, and then a few more later. He was very brave with his sickness. As he got older, the frequency of the difficult depression became more intense. He got hospitalized, and got only slowly better, and then only after 3 months, began to feel again the symptoms of a new depression. He was treated with lithium and electric shocks, and then he found some new medication, that seemed to help. Just before his death, the portion was made bigger.

We, his friends and family, had no idea that the new dosing might, before the cure, make him energetic enough to do, what he always had in mind these days. To me he always said that these thoughts just came to his mind, and he could not ever prevent them. There were impulses; strong and tempting images. He told me, that he has them all the time, but somehow manages to control them "normally". But then the fragile balance was made to break, with the new dose of the medication. He got very agitated, yet the depression was still on, and so were these endless, obsessive self-destruction thoughts. One day he then, to his own silent and well-organized, tidy way, managed to kill himself. (One part of his agony was, that he had to, while he still was sick, take care of all the plans for future, and all the burocracy to get help, as he did not want any help in these trivial works of fulfilling plancets...he should have started again his teaching job the very next day, even I told him, that he could apply more days off, and offered to apply it for him...)

I knew that he was not afraid of the death, but kept it as a friend and a relief, and wished to go to heaven. He was so tired, and did not want to continue his sufferings, and he felt like a burden to others, even he never was. We all loved him so much. We tried all we could to stay close to him and share his pains, but in the end, I guess, he felt that he was either still alone in the end, either that he was too close to all the friends, so that his pains made our lives painful, too. There is no answer, and maybe the both are true.

I might be wrong, but I understand him, yet I always asked and prayed him not to do it, to think of the pain he would leave for his mother and father, and I tried to make him hope for the new treatments etc. I tried my best, as did all; even we may have done errors, too.
He knew that he was loved and accepted, as he was. (He was a gay, too). He knew, too, that at least I would understand, why he did, what he did, and would not blame him fro that. I wonder sometimes, if I should have been harder in my opinions...but his mind was so close to my own, I felt almost all he felt...I knew how he sometimes really wanted to get away. We shared everything, yet, of course, it now seems, that I still could not share all the existing with him.

He just was too good and sensitive for this world. He felt everything so strongly, and took the pain of others, even people he hardly knew, to his own. It became all too heavy for him.

I also have another friend, so brilliant and genius, as these hypersensitive and extremely productive personalities often are. He is struggling with his bi-polarity and medications, and has, so far, managed some how. He even made his PFD this spring. But he is in constant danger. We can only hope and pray and try to keep in touch with him, even in his deepest moments, he almost looses the touch with everything and everybody. This is the nature of this terrible illness.

This guilty for what I could have done, should have said etc., is always there, and yet I accept this what happened with Pekka, as God´s will, anyhow. It was not Pekka´s own will, in the end, but the sickness lured him to think that way. I do not deny my guilty, as I was so close to him. In this we all are fragmented and week. In this world we do not always manage to stay as one...apparently. Nevertheless, we are united and of same being in Christ, even in this fragmentation.

I know, Pekka would never blame anyone of us.

What hurt me, was, that many did think, it was his homosexuality that made him kill himself. It is not so, but the attitude of the outside world is a burden to all different people, not their own differences. Also I just do not consider truly Christian those opinions that judge the people, who have made a suicide. There, unfortunately, are still those people, even in modern days...they are either ignorant and naïve, or sometimes, for some reasons, harsh and cruel people.

I am so grateful to my father in Christ, who with out hesitation organizes, (against the regular rules, as Pekka was not a member of our Church, and yet there are certain absurd rules for suiciders in the canons) panihidas for Pekka, and he always encourages us to pray for Pekka, and others, and shares my belief, that Pekka is in heaven, because of his own love for God ,and because of God’s endless Love towards him. Pekka is also with me, all the time. I truly feel that he never went away. I still talk sometimes with him, but not so much, as I did for some years ago.

There is no death, we do know it.

Today is the day, when our Lord Jesus Christ rose to Heaven. The heaven is our hearts, where all and everything is vivid; all is living, as we breathe the Holy Spirit. There are no limits, no isolation, yet the pain we feel, does not go away, but transcends to the wounds of our blessed Christ.

It is so good you shared with us your thoughts. We need to talk about this. We need not to hide anything of our fellow people’s pains and sicknesses to the secrecy, or feel ashamed or helpless, but let’s fight for the openness, and against the prejudges and the darkness of so called "normal" people’s minds around the mental is not the sick, but us "healthy", that cannot cope with the sicknesses like bi-polarity; our world does not yet have a place peaceful and safe enough for them. We must look at our modern lifestyles, and be critical about it, to provide more sustainable living situations for all of us. Your letter, John, is a strong contribution to this fight, and a sign of great personal maturity and love.

Warm hug to both of you,
From your Finnish friend,
Tiina Malinen
My dear John,
It wasn't easy for me to read through the pages you had mailed to me, particularly the letters of Vineeth. We used to say that Depression is contageous. Besides, I am also a father of three children, some of whom cause serious concerns some time or the other.
It is sad that we still don't have an easy way to treat depression. Some depressions are not considered that serious and goes away with or without treatments whereas certain types are lethal. Most of them respond to medication. But some are very hard and suicidal. Unpredictable too. They all go through severe suffering. Some attempt suicide impulsively, but get out of the crisis most of the time. But the type that Vineeth seems to have had is more lethal. They plan and execute their suicidal attempts very carefully, and it is pretty hard to prevent it. Next to impossible, I would say. Many of them look happy a day or two before they actually do it. And they even say or write that they are OK, and that all their problems have been resolved. This is the most lethal time. It is an indication that they have decided to do the final act.
In the hospital where I served as Director of Psychiatry we used to admit them right away, and physically check them every fifteen minutes until their depressive mood lifts. Their inner suffering is intense and they believe that their suffering will never end. So put an end to this agonizing pain! It is hard to prevent this, especially when it is chronic and well-planned. In the US we can't keep them hospitalized for years for medico-legal and financial reasons.
It was a little better (I think) when I worked in the Mental Hospital in Trivandrum. I must say that the State Hospital (Perurkada or "Oolampara") was very crude and one woudn't want to see one's relatives live there. But the Ramakrishna Hospital in Trivandrum where I used to consult in the 1960s the inpatient units were not so bad. I have been involved in the treatment of many celebritis that you must have heard of. For the Suicidal type of Major Depression my colleague Dr. Jacob (the only Psychiatrist in Southern Kerala at that time,and me the only psychologist at that time) used to administer Electroshock Therapy. It was gruesome to watch, but patients responded well. I have never seen any famiy member watch it. It is seldom used in America, and the the psychiatrist who administers it has to have special training and licence to do it. I would still recommend it as a life-saving last resort. However, as I have mentioned before, carefully, deliberately, planned suicidal attempts done by people like Vineeth are very hard to predict or prevent.
I do feel that mental diseases are like any other physical illness. Unfortunately, our society puts a stigma attached to it. I remember when I practiced in Trivandrum many well-known people came to see me at night. Some nationally known political leaders would apologetically request me to see their folks at their homes. I believe things have changed for the better now even in Kerala. It may look like there is no social stigma about mental illnesses in America. But there is. I am not sure if Vineeth would have got a good health insurance or life insurance if he has a major psychiatric record. Employers take this into consideration. These things should change. No wonder people don't want this in their medical records. Usully I give a benign diagnosis for the patient for insurance purposes. The court can subpeonae the patient's records, and I had to send some. Insurance companies ask for the records too. Ever since those experiences I would write nothing that would harm the patient in his record, and no very personal issues either.
Sorry it took me two days to write this. Franky, I felt depressed and didn't know what to write. I believe Vineeth paid a big price mostly because of social constraints. You did not have much of a choice. You had to honor his wish to keep it confidential. But then who would ever think that this tragedy would happen?
May God give him peace. My faith assures me that Vineeth is at peace and is with our Lord.
Love and prayers,
Dr. Joseph Thomas, Chicago
Dear John Kunnathu,
I was very moved by reading your account of Vineeth. I feel previlaged in knowing that you have chosen to share such intimate matter with me as a special friend. I must compliment you for not taking the secretive approach.
I have been giving some thought to the matters you had described in some detail in your blog, regarding your very dear Vineeth. I felt that you wanted my reaction to this story and these are my humble views. This may appear to be too harsh or too clinical; it may not be what you wanted to hear.

1. The suffering of the suicide victim.
It is often the gut-wrenching anguish experienced by the victim over a long period of time and often with no end in sight, that makes them decide to take this final step. I believe often, others around them are unable to comprehend the degree of despair they are experiencing. Often it is not possible for others to dive deep enough into the complex situation, to estimate the agony of emotional and psychological pain they are undergoing.
Such unbearable suffering can be physical, such as terminal illness with no end of pain or loss of dignity, in sight. On the other hand mental depression is often an insidious 'bastard' which creeps up on the sufferer, without the victim realizing its nature, until it's got them in its grip. When such individuals, of no fault of their own, become mentally unwell to the point of wanting to die, they are sadly -quite literally- not in their right mind.
Is it possible to commit this final act by a person in a rational frame of mind? Or could it be that the perpetrator could be temporarily insane at the time of the act? There are some who claim that attempts at self harm and/or suicide are by their nature not rational. To level accusations or selfishness and cowardice against those who succeed in taking on their own lives, is simply unhelpful.

2. The suffering and anguish of the loved ones left behind to grieve.
When you cannot save the person you love the most from themselves, the sense of futility and guilt can be so great that those having to cope with the burden frequently end up depressed themselves. The toll on those dealing with mental illness is immense and that for every person who commits suicide, others are left damaged.

3. The ethical issues.
Does any one have the right to take his own life? Is it a birth right of an individual to choose the time of departure from this world? Some people harshly maintain that suicide is often, but not always an act of anger and revenge and ultimately an act of selfishness. But is it any more selfish than the desire of others to compel the would be victim to live, when they choose not to. Dying with dignity is not imposing ones will on another. It could be said that decision to end ones life is making a choice for one person only, that of the individual who is suffering. The issue here is, choice to decide when suffering is enough and not having others insist that suffering continue, because their death makes others uncomfortable. The question is, should one have the choice to end life if an incurable disease cause unbearable pain and loss of dignity which cannot be controlled.

4. The moral issues.
It is flippantly said that suicide is another form of murder and murder is forbidden in the Ten Commandments. In our Orthodox prayers we ask for a merciful release and to be spared from sudden death. Both are profound statements in my opinion. The Last Rites set for the dying, in Orthodox tradition is a good one in normal situations. But death happens not always in 'Normal' situation. People who die suddenly in motor car accidents and other forms of accidents or medical illness, by this standard will be denied of this sacrament. Are they all condemned souls? God is far too merciful to judge in this way.
There are passages in St Paul's letters that he suffered chronic severe pain in his body and asked his Lord for a cure, but the Lord said "No, my Grace is enough". What are we to make of this? These are issues for which we do not have an easy answer.

Death is often the end solution to severe and unrelenting pain and suffering. The historical Jesus experienced such anguish and physical pain which even He found difficult to bear and cried out before he died, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" .

Willy John Daniel, Melbourne, Australia.
I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was one of Vineeth's friends in college. I think that he may have introduced me to you all as Nestor. Anyway, I gave Vineeth rides home to Jersey Village a few times from UTD over the holiday breaks (I lived in Sugar Land), and we became rather good friends during our time in college.We became friends freshman year (2003) when a shared acquaintance introduced me to Vineeth, and from the outset of our friendship, I always marveled how witty, well-read and clever Vineeth was. Being an intellectual myself, the conversations Vineeth and I had (dozens if not hundreds) were always refreshing and thought-provoking. Over those formative years, I considered Vineeth to be one of my best friends.
I had graduated early from UTD (December 2006) and accepted a consulting job, but always tried to stay in contact with Vineeth. When my work would bring me back to Dallas, we always made an effort to hang out with one another.
Last spring, I was in Houston working on a project, and left my laptop open. Vineeth had sent me an innocuous message ("what's up?", or maybe it was "how's it going?), and I was away from the computer, unable to respond. We hadn't spoken for sometime, and the first thought in my mind was to give him a call, or send him an e-mail or message so that we could catch up over lunch or maybe see a movie. He had told me that he was currently interning back in Houston, and I was excited to hear about all the changes in his life and I wanted to share with him all the things I had experienced traveling across the country.
A day or so had passed, and the thought lingered in my mind to give Vineeth a call. I was so busy on that project. The day after, Gabe had told me of the news. I was so shocked. Devastated, really. I wish I could have visited with him, had another one of our deep conversations on movies or politics or economic policy, and taken him out to a meal. When in Dallas, I remember Vineeth had grown fond of the Ahi Tuna roll at the Cheesecake Factory.
Vineeth and I had shared so many lasting memories together, and it was beyond comprehensible that he wouldn't be there anymore to share new experiences with. I could only imagine how you, as his parents felt, which is why I couldn't muster the courage to introduce myself to you and share condolences at his funeral last year.It has been a year, and I still think of Vineeth so frequently. I wonder what kind of person he would grow up to be; he was so talented. Whether an actor or a businessman or a entrepreneur, I always saw that he had the motivation and talent to pursue whatever he wanted, but just lacked the confidence. I believed in him. I know his friends and family did too. We all miss Vineeth so much
-Jay Pulanco
Dear John Uncle,
Where did a year go? Even today I can remember Vineet's doleful smile when you visited us in Delhi. But then he had this amazing ability to replace it with a warm one in a jiffy...I remember Vineet just as you described him-- always the silent one, inquisitiveness but never blunt or rude, always wanting to advance his understanding, and always respectful..
I remember this incident when we (Vineet, Rashid, Mini and I) had gone for a movie, it was well past midnight when the movie got over, and Vineet and I decided to walk back from the movie hall. It was quite a walk, some odd 30-45 mins. It was well past midnight, the weather was good, so we decided to take a walk, engaging in jovial banter. It was Vineet who realized after a while that we were being stalked. We tried to shake him off, but no avail, and he was gaining on us. So we both decided to turn sleuths, put our thinking caps on, and came to the conclusion that we should take to the bylanes. (that I knew extremely well--every nook and corner of RK Puram) and go around the place to try and throw him off our trail. After some 10-15 mins of meandering through the bylanes we finally managed to shake him off and get home safely. We both shook hands and congratulated each other, and in an odd sort of a way were thrilled by this mini adventure. I think that was perhaps the only time during that trip when I saw Vineet give a full-blown whole-hearted smile. I remember remarking-- dude u r quite handsome! I ain't taking you anywhere near any of my girls! And he smirked. Both of us had a good laugh.
I have his pic on my cupboard door, and every time I see it, I remember this incident and it brings a smile on my face. You know uncle, I won’t pretend that I knew Vineet very well, but from the few days acquaintance that I made of him in Delhi, I came to know of him as a wonderful person with a brilliant albiet slightly sarcastic sense of humour, but it was always good naturedly; he could crack hilarious stuff with a straight face. I look at that photo and say to myself. I know dude you are at a better place. I hope you have found what you always wanted--peace.With the hope that you and aunty are keeping good health. Regards
Danny, New Delhi
Dear John
I opened the mail very late, but I could not stop reading about Vineeth. I read the whole thing. I see lots of lovely memories. In order for him to do something like that to you both, he had really suffered a lot silently. Poor thing! You would have felt better if he was alive, but he would have really suffered a lot more. For him the place where he is now is better than here. At least he is not suffering like he did before other than thinking about you both.
I know two men who suffered the same. One Malayalee girl from here married a guy from Kerala a few years ago. She kept his disease a secret for a year. Finally he left to India for good. His father thought that after marriage he would have got better, but he never wanted to live or to be with her. He is still alive. Another man around 35 had the same problem. He was very intelligent. He never shared his problem with anybody. He was admitted in the hospital a few times. Only after his death we came to know about his problem. His wife suffered for 14 years. He wanted her to leave him alone completely. At one point he made her go and live with her sisters. Out of pity she came back and lived with him again. When she came from work one day, he was under the blanket dead. After five years she remarried and now lives happily. Before she never had a happy face and she never made friends. John, I hope you will feel better.
Cicily Sunny
Dear John:
Thank you for giving me the privilege of reading your moving account of your son's struggles with a disease process which as you say is still misunderstood by both the laity and professionals in the developing world. Your essay is also a nice tribute to the human and caring side of your son by recounting his compassion for those who may suffer from his act even at the tail end of his life. You may want to write a more detailed monograph of your son's life with a full rendering of his life which culminated in the unfortunate end and the struggles both he and those who knew him intimately had to deal with. Again, thanks for letting me read it. With best regards and prayers that you and your wife will find solace in doing works that relieve the suffering of the mentally ill. If you have not seen the recently released movie, "The Soloist", I highly recommend it. It will remind you of "A Beautiful Mind" (Movie).
C. Alex Alexander, M.D.

Dear John Kunnathu Sir,
Thank you for keeping in touch. I read your blog. Together with several other consolations that you received I found mine too. I was surprised. Thank You. It shows that you took all the consolation as a treasure. Treasures always make us rich. In this World, this is how Christ likes us to be. That was why Church was made. I am happy and consoled to know that there are more brethren of ours to console us during the hours of our grief. I used to think that each individual is alone in this world. But your blog has made me change that perception. As the saying of the great writer Alexander Dumas goes "All for one and one for all". This has been proved again in the form of the consolations that you received and also through the Blog that you maintain. I thank Jesus for uniting us through His Mystical Body without which we won't know each other. Let us remain one in His Body. May the Holy Trinity grant us the everlasting peace amidst all trials and losses. Also, we hope to meet on that beautiful shore together with your son Vineeth John. Let God Bless Us.
Cheriyan Thomas

Dear John Sir& Lissy Chechi,
It’s very nice to hear from you after a long time. I know how difficult it would have been for you and Lissy chechi to come to terms with the loss of your most precious gift. We can just imagine how extremely difficult it had been for you both to live each moment of your life without Vineet.

They say that time heals all wounds. Your cut was the deepest and it might take many years to get through all this. However, your unfettered faith in God and your wisdom to look at the positive side of all this and the sincere prayers of all the wonderful people that surrounds you, I believe, will get you through all this with more strength. Your compilation of Vineeth's works is really magnificent. It surely keeps the memories of Vineet alive. Your Sharing about Vineet's untold side of the story does teach us all many things.

Many times we forget to cherish the blessings we have got and take things for granted. We forget to think that all the wonderful things that we enjoy are a gift of God. He gives it to everyone as he pleases and he takes away when he wishes.

I am really happy to know that you are keeping upbeat through your writings. Your writings and thoughts have been really inspirational. Suni tells me that there is not one day when she does not pray for Lissy chechi and you. Reading through your blog I can see how much you both are cherished and loved by so many people near and far.

I know we have not been keeping in touch more often and I am sorry for that. We have dropped by your home couple of times after the church but you both were not there. We will always keep you and Lissy chechi in our prayers.
With love and regards
Sam & Suni

Hi John,
I was reading on your blog and I couldn't help but notice about your son. I wanted to extend my most sincere sympathy for your profoundly tragic loss and to tell you that I will keep you all in my daily prayers. No words can adequately comfort you, but I do hope that God's love will provide the comfort you need. Your son's intense pain has been alleviated at last. I know you sought a different resolution, as we all would have done. My daughter is bipolar as well, but it seems to be well treated by medication for the time being. I live with the fear that has unfortunately been realized for your family. I know all too well what can go wrong, but pray that we escape the fate that befell your precious son. You seem to be walking in Grace, even though your heart has known such an horrific tragedy. Bless you, John. I have no doubt that you were a wonderful father, and that as a parent you did everything humanly possible to provide the security, support and care your son needed. I'm so very sorry to hear that it ended this way for him. This link I play in honor of your son.

Blessings to you, dear man.
Jackie Sue Barnes

My daughter, who was schizophrenic, jumped off the balcony of a 15th floor apartment building. She was egged on, even driven to do it, by two other people in her building, who wanted to rob her of the contents of her apartment. They told her "Jesus wants you to come to him. He wants you to kill yourself so you can come to him in heaven." After her death I went to her apartment and found it amost empty, with the TV, stereo, paintings on the wall, etc. all missing. I'm a professional investigator. For a year after her death, I worked to gather evidence to charge these people. I never got enough for the police to act, but did get enough to publish a newspaper article that caused two police officers and a coroner to resign from their jobs for failing to investigate a suspicious death.It didn't bring her back, nor ease the pain, but at least for that year I felt I was doing something for her, something in her honor. Eventually, I found some equilibrium again, and though I'll always mourn her I can function again.
The lesson I drew from it was that if you do some constructive thing, in your child's memory, no matter what the thing is, it helps you heal to the point where you can function again. If what drove your child to death was a disease, you can educate people about it. If it was a social situation, you can fight to change it. The important thing is to do something, which you see as a kind of memorial in your loved one's honor. No amount of graveside prayers or long talks with friends can replace this form of healing. My daughter died several years ago, but still I find myself sometimes breaking into tears when I think of her. Then I remember the year of fighting for justice for her, and feel better. I say a prayer then: "Ruthie, I tried." I hope something like this can help you.
Vietato Fumare

Thursday, May 14, 2009

He is our Child Too!

Dear family and friends,
Lissy and I thank you for being with us, supporting us, and sharing our pain. On my trip to India accompanying my son’s body, some friends came to visit me in Dubai, and I shared my pain with them in a short sentence: I lost my child. One of them responded right away: He is our child too. I couldn’t understand what he meant for a moment. But his response made me think deeply and it has made a lasting impression on my mind. I have repeated this story several times since then. What he was telling me was that the pain was not just mine; those who are near and dear to us share my pain. I was not alone in this; many others are with me.
In fact, we keep on living because of the community around us. We don’t know with what purpose God has created us. But we keep on living because if we end our life, we will leave a lot of grief behind us. In the note Vineeth left us, he apologized for what he was about to do. He wrote, “I am sorry, I am very sorry. I know I will leave a lot of grief behind me.” He also said that he had been contemplating doing this for years. Each time probably what pulled him back was the thought of the enormous grief he would leave behind. The night before it happened he had a brief telephone conversation with his little cousin in India –Anumol. She was someone he had known since his childhood, and he loved her as his own younger sister. At the end of the farewell note, after writing everything he wanted to write and after putting his signature, he wrote a sentence as post script – My conversation with Anumol yesterday was heartbreaking. He was thinking of the enormous amount of grief he would leave in the mind of his young sister. It was heartbreaking to him because he could feel the powerful pull in his heart to both sides—to live or to die.
The force that keeps us going is the bond of love of the people around us. But there are times in everyone’s life when we feel that no one wants us, and we are a burden to the earth. We might even feel that even God has forsaken us. Remember the heartbreaking cry of Jesus from the cross, “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?” Influenced by the secularist and materialist culture he was immersed in, Vineeth doubted God’s existence temporarily, but he was slowly evolving into a stronger and well-grounded faith. He managed to live his life with his handicaps at least for a few years because of his faith. At the pinnacle of his pain, he probably cried in the same way, “God why have you forsaken me?”
One day when I was having a conversation with Vineeth about the basic necessities of human existence, he commented that contrary to the popular idea, the basic necessity of our life is a will to live. If we don’t have a will to live, we won’t live even if we have everything else. We all have a drive within us to live; that is why we live. None of us live an easy or painless life, but still we keep on living because of that drive. What if the pain we suffer is beyond our power to handle? Listening to him, I admitted that his pain and suffering were real, and I assured him that we, his parents, were with him in his pain and suffering. I talked to him about Stephen Hawking, the well-known British Physicist who keeps on living even though he can’t move any part of his body. I also reminded him of Helen Keller who lived a fruitful life although she was blind, deaf, and dumb. Although I tried to encourage him with such examples, I knew that unlike those people, Vineeth’s disability was in his brain itself. There were moments he could think clearly and feel happy. But most of the time, he was depressed.
Vineeth knew without doubt that we, his parents, loved him. He also knew that he was loved by his cousins and friends. He was very much aware that he would leave a lot of grief behind him. In spite of knowing this, he chose to end his life. Why? He was also very much aware of the stigma associated with mental illness in our community and in our world. I think that someone with a mental illness is seen as a leper was seen in Jesus’ time. Lepers were outcasts in Jesus’ world. It was a sickness without a cure, and it was believed that it was the result of a curse from God. Their mental agony was much more than their physical agony. Someone with a mental illness is treated almost in the same way in our community. He/she is an outcast. People consciously avoid their company. In the olden days such people were tied with ropes; today they are tied with chemicals. Other than that mental illnesses do not have any cure. Our medical science is still not sufficiently knowledgeable of the workings of human brain to cure its illnesses.
It seems that Vineeth had a suspicion that he was bipolar even when he was in High School, but he didn’t want anyone to know this about him, even his own parents. The greatest catastrophe happened to him when he had a manic episode when he was in college. He had to be admitted in a mental health care facility for two weeks. When I got him discharged from there, sitting in the car with me, he told me, “Dad, please do me a favor. Please don’t tell anybody that I have this bipolar disorder.” I agreed and I kept my word till the very end. Even when I took him to the psychiatrists, he preferred to see them by himself. Vineeth could never come to terms with his illness. He lived in denial. He could never accept that he had an illness he needed to take care of. Finally when he accepted that he had an illness, he came to the conclusion that life was not worth living with such an illness.
Last week, a coworker and a friend of mine shared with me her pain. She has a daughter of 18 years old. Being very intelligent, she is already in college, and she had expressed her intention to become a lawyer. Now she says she wants to go to California and be an actor. She even takes some acting classes in college. My coworker had already confided with me that her daughter was bipolar, and she has been taking lithium since she had a manic episode. Hearing what this woman said, memories rushed into my mind, and I couldn’t help a break-out of emotions. Vineeth also had unrealistic dreams of going to California and becoming an actor. I advised my coworker as follows: Tell your daughter that you like her to become an actor, and that you want to help and support her to be one. It is important that she moves on with her life even if what she has is an unrealistic dream. Our son had told us one point that becoming an actor was his only goal in life, and he was living only to see this goal realized. Although we realized that it was an unrealistic goal, we only encouraged him to become an actor because we wanted him to pull on with his life. He visualized himself as a movie director and an actor. He even wrote down an imaginary press conference between himself as a successful movie director and the Time Magazine. My coworker’s daughter has an advantage over Vineeth. Her community does not attach such a big stigma to her illness as my own community does. Therefore, she has already accepted that she has an illness she needs to take care of, and she regularly participates in support group meetings.
A mental illness is an illness just like any other illness. It is an illness of the brain. Bipolar disorder is a biological disorder that occurs in a specific area of the brain and is due to the dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers. It is an illness like diabetes, or high blood pressure, or high cholesterol that needs to be taken care of. At least one out of every hundred people is said to have this illness. It is up to the medical science to find a cure for this illness, but there is something else we all can do. We need to be aware that a mental illness is an illness of the brain just like any other illness, and we need to help spread this awareness. There are millions of Vineeths suffering in our world with this illness of the brain. Let us not make it any harder for them by treating them like outcasts.
Again, Thank you, and May God bless you!
Lissy & John Kunnathu

More Consoling Messages

So nice that you wrote such a wonderful letter to us, we take what God gives us, our whole people were supporting you at that crucial time, we have no answer why God gave you such a testing, we pray to give you peace, we love you both.
God bless us, love, prayers,
EY.Elcy Yohannan Sankarathil
I was trying to write you gain, as I don't see any of your posting. Now, I got your mail and thank you!What a sorrowful period or difficult journey, that you and Lissy have gone thru and still going thru! All human beings will understand your helpless situation that nothing will replace your son, Vineeth, in this world. But what is our option? Ask the Almighty to heal our wounds! I suggest to read the book of Job and one interpretation of it by Dr. Kushner. If you have read it, please read it again. If not, please get one immediately. The name of the book is: "When bad things are happening to good people". My knowledge doesn't go anything beyond that. I know I have to surrender each moment like the Job had finally said: "I am nothing -- how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hands over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say." (Job 40-4-5). May the good God bless you both the wisdom to live further, a quality life!
Got your mail. You do not have to be sorry, rather I should be sorry that I could not come for the funeral. I am so glad that you saw the positive side of the loss and be glad of it. Normally people do not find that part of the matter, rather complain, accuse and even leave faith in God. You have done the right thing so wonderfully. May God continue to be with you and strengthen you to do his work in this world. I am currently in Nagpur Seminary for a month long teaching assignment. I will be back in Kerala by 1st of August. God willing I will be in Austin during the second week of November to participate in the St. Gregorios Perunnal at Austin TX Church. Hope to see you there.
With prayers and love,
Meletius Thirumeni
Thank you for your gracious note. Though I have never had children and thus was spared from the agony of experiencing a potential loss, I have suffered the loss of my first wife after 21 years of marriage, snatched away by malignancy. It took me a long time to recover and put my life back together and in the process taught me the mitigating value of faith and hope. It was only time and daily physical exercise of a very rigorous nature (swimming a mile a day at lunch time, running nearly 5 miles at least 5 or 6 days a week and playing tennis thrice a week) restored my sleep rhythm. And, then I met my present wife and we have been happily married now for 26 years. She is a clinical psychologist, which helps no doubt!!I am sure that you and your wife will get through these trying times with God's help and prayers of your family and friends. Do keep in touch and if you ever come this way to Maryland, please feel free to break your journey and stay with us. We live near the water and the community has good walking trails.With my prayers for your continuing solace and recovery from a tragedy that no one except those who have suffered through similar angst can understand.
May God bless you both.Regards,
PS: I remember reading an old book, "Death, be not proud" by John Gunther (?) you probably can get from your local library. It is Gunther's memoirs on the loss of his 17 year old son. It is a classic.
You are absolutely correct and I knew that with your faith, you will come through. You will not be among those who ask "Where is God when we suffer?" You have the answer correctly-- he is right besides us as He was on the cross between the thieves. Only the thief on the right recognized God.I often think that the meaning of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 vs 4 is meant for those like you. Being channels of consolations, pouring out the consolation that we received from God. Without suffering, there is no consolation.There was a time in my life when all that I thought was stable and all that I had been proud of collapsed around me. My parents ran away from home-from my brother, their only son, who would come home drunk and violently bash his wife and my parents would be threatened. My father had retired as chief engineer. They left when he was away and moved into a flat. That experience took away many of my prejudices and made me more compassionate. I could help a few people, including wives of alcoholics because of this experience.A friend of mine lost his daughter to cancer and his wife has become a recluse. (6 years have passed but she still avoids social contact and does not go to church. He said he also feels reluctant to open the Bible. He feels betrayed by God. There is another colleague who is in a similar condition, having lost both children. You John & Lizy, can speak to such people and they will listen. I feel a hypocrite when I try to speak to them as their pain is unique to them.I too cried for Vineet because I could understand his sorrow.
Susan Eapen, Bangalore
All three of you, your friends and other family will continue to remain in my prayers. I hear such courage in your words; such inspiration. I will pray that the pain deadens for you quickly. Remember that I, as your friend, am here to share in your sorrow and to provide comfort as you desire it.God bless you.
Our family prays to God to give you and Lizzy to get courage and determination through the mighty hands of God. Mon will be in our memory and now he will live in our memory in this world while his soul rest in the lap of our Fathers in Heaven.Mon should live and to be remembered through our writings too. So I earnestly request to consider a memorial page in fond memory of Mon in the Light of Life in this August Issue. As I am going on vacation to India in September I prefer to work out it this coming issue. If I can get some Photographs and photos at different stages and atmosphere, a complete biographical sketch in the light of how God guided and configured and planned the life of Mon in our human perspective even though the Will of God about each man is unperceivable through human eyes. Once I get all these I will prepare and send it for your and Lizzy's edification. Please let me know your thought about this.
With Love and Regards
Rajan Mathew
Happy to hear from you. Your ability to bounce back and continue with life after such a tragedy is definitely worth emulating.There is also some news from my end. I am relocating to Melbourne Australia after living in New Zealand for more than 10 years. I will start working there on August 25th, but my family will be joining only later towards the end of the year. This will enable my daughter to complete her term in her current school and give us enough time to wind up things in NZ. We will always remember you both in our prayers. Please let us know your phone number in US.
Thanks & Regards
Cherry Cherian
Thank you for your word of response. I think it is the first time I am being replied for a word of condolence. Parting is always a sorrowful experience. Those who experienced in life only will be able to understand the depth of it. Incidentally, I was forced to experience a situation about 10 years ago (when I was barely 9 years of age) the passing of my beloved mother. Though time erases the feeling it will always be a fresh sore throughout the life time. Only the heavenly intervention turns it into a situation of hope and our faith. The memories and the hope of reunion at that beautiful shore consoles the inconsolable situations. Remembering you in our prayers.
Cherian Thomas, Mysore
Glad to hear from you and much more consoling to see that you have taken this in a positive perspective. This strength and the will not to be dragged down by this is surely a sign of the merciful Lord. You and Lissy aunty are still in our prayers daily. The hand of the Lord is only seen when we look back at this phase of life later, provided we stay in His presence even in those later days.Just like Vineeth is a part of all of us, so are you and Lissy aunty. The whole community saw their son departing to his heavenly abode, but at the same time you and Lissy aunty have so many more sons to take care of. We are all proud to have elders like you. Kindly consider one among your family. I am sure you'll be able to see Vineeth in many of us.Thank you once again for the wonderful mail you sent. Love to Lissy aunty too. Kindly uphold us in your prayers too.
Love & prayers,
___________________________________________________________I heard from Philip Mathew that you are back from India. Now I see that you are finding consolation and peace at heart by the grace of God. Keep on holding on Him and continue His work which you were doing. Cherish the memory of your son every day. It is a mystery that for some God give children to be cherished for long time and for few a very short time.I want to keep you and Lizy in my prayers.
With regards,
Mammen Achen.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Viji and I have been profoundly impacted by the turn of events in the last 2 months. I don't even know how to express the the feelings we go through every time we see you and all our surroundings because everything brings back memories of our beloved Vineeth.I have constantly checked with Rajan (in our office) throughout this tumultuous time. Please forgive me for not approaching you more often. Lot of times I see you and Lissy and I want to say so much that I become speechless. Please forgive me.I have mentioned to your niece that I lost my 12 year old brother when I was ten years old and the impact it has on me. To a certain degree, I know how painful it is. At the same time, as you mentioned, we all leave everything to God and let him set the course.Some times when an event happens and does not make sense, we have to look to God to make sense of it.Your family is always in our prayers. Please let us know if there is anything you need at all.
Ravi & Viji
John, your mail, especially the part where God shares our pain, touched me . It can only be so. I think we are placed in such a situation where there is suffering and evil, and times of sorrows are the occasion to feel our love for each other. I felt like opening my email and so comforting to find yours. Give my love to Lizzy. Just a few days ago I attended the funeral of a cousin of mine, in his 40s, probably. He suffered from kidney failure and I remembered the part of the Bible where Christ is prophesied to suffer like a mute lamb taken to be slaughtered. How much of natural and man made occasions of suffering. I think that when we go out of ourselves and share the pain of others we can strengthen others and be comforted and be strengthened.You must now feel your son is with you and get into the normal activities. See that Lizy has some companion. My wife is concerned about you and her regards.
Nazareth .
Thanks for the mail. We understand that no words can express what you have gone through in your life. May The Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob give you His peace! God has a definite purpose and plan for our life on this earth. God wishes that everything we do originates from our love for God, and will be with the only objective of glorifying His Almighty Name. May the Holy Spirit of God guide you and keep you. We pray that He transforms the written Word of God to The Living Word of God in your life. We continue to uphold you in our prayers.
With Love and Prayers
Anish, Roshni and Ruth
Thank you very much for your e-mail. You don’t have to thank us for being there when you needed us the most. It is our Christian duty to share your sorrow and pain and pray for you every day. In times of tribulations, we feel very helpless and have no words to comfort you. But we are asking God to give you the courage and strength to go on as long as He wishes us to be in this world. As humans, it is beyond our understanding why you are going through such unbearable pain. May be we will get the answer when we are finally with Him. God expects us to find time to console you and comfort you in our own way so that you will find strength and confidence to go on in life. I am sorry that we are not able to call you or be with you as much as we want to. My request is that you forgive us in our short coming.I came to know that Lissy has gone back to work on Monday. It is my sincere hope that she was able to face everyone courageously and her friends at work were helpful and encouraging. Slowly, we have to take small steps into life and fill the void in our heart by helping other people. I am happy that you are blessed with a lot of friends who are praying earnestly for you. With every one’s help and prayers, let us face life with hope and confidence. Also have confidence that Vineeth is in a better place with no worry and cares of life. In the midst of this misery we still have to thank God for placing Vineeth in your care so that you now have such precious memories that you can cherish in your life. Whenever you feel sad, please try to remember the best times you had with your beloved son and that way you celebrate his life and not his loss.I will try to come and stay with you sometimes, if that is ok. Please remember that we love you very much and you are constantly in our prayers.Hope to talk or see you soon.
With lots of love and prayers,
Amminikutty Chechy and Jeevan Chettan
I just now saw your mail. We had gone to a place called Salala to attend an international ophthalmology conf. We returned yesterday and went to hosp today. Naveen's school also reopened today he has good marks in Maths and Science. Waiting for other papers. Thanks for writing such a thought-provoking mail. Most of the time we pray for Vineet, and remember him in our thoughts. I especially recollect that short Delhi trip. I still remember when he was small and studying at St Jude. Family members compared him with Vineet in Tvm and I think people were envious of him because he studied well. It is some sort of fate and God's will because he was such a bright student. Medical problems are a real depressing thing but both of you did your best and the best Rx available was imparted to him. It is spark of a second thought and was fateful. We all believe in a superior life after and we really wish he is safe and happy and we will meet him with the heavenly father we always remember all 3 of u in prayers. Let God almighty give all the support and mental strength to get over this crisis
With lot of love and prayers
Aji, Renu, Naveen
Good to know you and Lissy are back. Unbearable the pain might have been for the last few weeks and even years, you have to look forward and move forward. Hope time and faith will help you and Lissy heal. Look forward to meeting you whenever we visit Houston next time.
Bobe Kuriakose
I know how hard it is to feel the loss of Vineeth and yet write with such beauty and poignancy. Please let me know regarding the Miami plans.
Much regards,
Vineeth John, Miami
We still keep you in our prayers. May the spirit of the Lord give both of you strength to go forward.
With Love and prayer,
Oommen George and FamilyG. Puthenkurishe
We all have to suffer pain some times in our life. I don't have any words to comfort you John. If you find the need to get away momentarily from the visible reminders, we would love to have you visit us here as long as necessary. We know that only God can comfort your heart in times like these. You are in our prayers.Thanks..........
Ajayan & family.
Thanks for your last mail. I am sorry for not replying soon. I had been to Kerala with my wife as and when I heard of the death of my cousin. He was the eldest in our family among all the cousins. So went from here on 14th and came back on 28th night. On 15th, we lost our sister-in-law. (Wife's youngest brother's wife) They were in Doha (Qatar) and she was under treatment for some sort of allergy in the lungs. In between she had chicken pox and she also entered her heavenly abode quickly on 15th. Her mortal remains were brought home on 18th and was buried on 19th.We are planning to return to Kerala for good by the beginning of Nov 2008. Hope this will find you both in good health and sound spirits. Let us see each other in our daily prayers.May God bless us all. Let us pray continuously for all our beloved departed too.
With lots of love and prayers
Your everloving,
Jose Kurian and family.
When I was at Kottayam, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Moni (General Secretary of SGOS) and Fr. Dr. K.M. George (Principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary) They both have asked me convey their regards and prayers also.
Very glad to hear from you. I was travelling last weekend and hence could not reply.You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you the strength and courage to always keep this positive attitude to life.
Best regards,
After going through this ordeal, John, your faith in our Lord is shining. I gone through the lines and pictures of Veneeth, it is hard to speculate on Lord’s intentions on our life. He is safe in the hands of Jesus and as a firm believer; we have nothing to worry about.I tried to write few words of consolation you during the times of trials; I deleted it many times as a coward. I took it very deeply as any human being. But looking at you, the honest and unblemished faith in our Lord and savior, I am proud of you.
With lots of love and regards,
Korason Varghese

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Condolence Messages

I just heard the news. I am so sorry, so so sorry! I just can't seem to write anything. It is so unbelievable. It seems so unreal, so hard to accept. I keep seeing his face, smiling and saying that he hates Indian food. I am so sorry uncle.......May God give you the strength to be with each other through this trying time. Take care
Mini & Rashid, New Delhi

I have received the sad news this morning as I opened my e-mail. I am very much saddened and sorrowful to hear about the sudden demise of Vineeth. My heartfelt condolence and prayers are with you and Lizzy and may the Good Lord Comfort you at this difficult time. I am planning to attend the memorial service as soon as I get the details. My Prayers are with your family,
Alex Alexander, Dallas

I do not know what to tell you. No amount of condolence and no words of comfort will ease your agony. Being in Kerala, how is Lissy going to handle this? One thing I know is that only our good Lord can give you some answers and peace. Our prayers are there to give the strength you need to go through the most difficult situation parents have to go through. John, I do not have the courage to call you and speak to you. And remember, as always been, I am only a phone call away. You surely can count on me. "God giveth and God taketh".
Paulose and Molly, Dallas

We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Vineeth. I know how difficult this must be for you. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Vineeth was such a kind and gentle person. He was friendly and nice to everyone. Although no words can console you at this terrible time, we hope you can find peace and comfort in God. May God bless you and your family during this time and always!
Sam & Suni, Houston

We wanted to let you and Lissy know that our thoughts and prayers are with you both during this time of inexpressible sorrow. We vividly recall Vineeth’s gentle and good soul illumining the room during our time together during the Christmas holidays. The beauty in the world is diminished with his passing.
But it is our hope that, over time, God will lead you both to a place of peace and understanding, for He promises a joyful and divine mystery will follow – after death comes new life.
Clement of Rome reminds us “how the Ruler is continually displaying the resurrection that will be … day and night show us a resurrection; the night goes to sleep, the day rises: the day departs, night comes on. Let us take the crops. The sower went out and cast each of his seeds into the ground. These fall dry and bare on to the ground and decay. Then from the decay the mightiness of the Ruler’s providence raises them up, and many grow from the one and bear fruit."
May you be sustained by the true hope that something wonderful awaits – not just for Vineeth, but also for you both – beyond this time of darkness.
With all our love and concern,
Joe and Jessie, Washington DC

I just heard about your son, and just pray that it's not true. I'm at a loss for words. I simply pray for you and your family. May God comfort you!

I heard the news and I want to offer my deepest condolences. I am remembering you and your family in my prayers. I trust God will strengthen you to bear this pain. If there is anything more I can do, please let me know.
Krupa Daniel, New York


I hope you can receive my message soon. What a sad news we read on a big note on the office counter at Lewis Elem!
Everybody was shocked to learn about the departure of your most beloved son, to the present of the lord. It is so hard to try to accept something impossible to believe. We try to learn about this tragic situation in your family, but really … it has been not possible to know, or have a direct message from our colleagues or people around us.
Our only lord, Jesus, will be always by your side, throughout the most terrible storm in your life. I wish, I have better English to express my deep sympathy to you. I have been praying fervently for you, and your dear wife. The only thing I learned was that you went to India immediately.
I am praying for you all very fervently and constantly. May the most high give you the strength to be able to make it through this dark tunnel that you went at this moment. The holy word of god, the peace of the Holy Spirit, the power of the holy name of Jesus, the virtue of the blood of the Lamb of God, be upon you. And, the ministry of the holy angels be real to you, right now. Blessed be the name of our lord!
My friend, please! Find refuge in the lord Jesus only…really, no one can take care of you, but him at this hour. We, at Lewis elem. are lamenting your broken mourning heart. These sincere words are coming with real love from my heart to you…shalom!!! “St. Jude, verse two” the bible
With the love of Jesus…my good friend!
Mr. Rafael Suarez , Houston

I have no words to console you on this sad occasion. Mammen achen informed me and I got very very shocked. My son is 23 years old also. I fully understand your feelings, and I am going through that feelings myself. My prayers are there for your family at this time. I pray that your family will recover from this shock with God's grace.
Cicily Sunny, New York


Very sorry to hear the sad news about the passing away of the only son (college student) of Mr. John Kunnathu, Houston. Mr. John is the founder of GSC, was a very close associate of HG Dr. Paulose Mar Gregoriose (of blessed memory) and trying to propagate the teachings of Thirumeni through GSC. Requests everyone to remember them in prayers.
Let us together earnestly pray for the departed soul as well as for the sorrowing family. Let us reassure John and Family that the whole Indian Orthodox Community is with them during this tough time.
George Abraham, Abu Dhabi

May the comfort of God's holy angels come to you and all your loved in this time of grief! May your son, Vineeth, of this world be held in the bosom of Christ in His abundant mercy forever! Is there anything I may be able to do for you and your family? Your son and your family are being held in prayer. May your journey with him to India be guided and guarded by angels and may your return be safe.
Your servant and your friend,
Fr John Brian, Wisconsin

Your brother was here to tell me of the sad news. I am really sorry. I hope God will give you strength to take it. Your wife must be feeling terrible as she was away. I am also sorry that I can not be in Kollam as the Managing Committee is scheduled for 14th and I have to leave that afternoon to Chennai. But my prayers on behalf of your son and the whole family is before our God. May God comfort you with his mercy.
Love and prayers.
Meletius Thirumeni, trichur


We are very sorry to hear about the tragedy you have faced in your life. Our prayers are with you my dear friend. May God bless you with his abundant peace to overcome this crucial time in your life! You are going through a test like Prophet Job and I have no doubt that you will surpass this test. I am looking the net to find your phone number and I will phone you if I can find it. May God bless the soul of your son! Yesterday I was hearing a sermon of my brother when he was in the US recently. There is no death for a Christian. A Christian is travelling from Eternity to Eternity. Our life on this earth is a passing phase. If Jesus is eternal; those who are eating from his body and drinking from his blood is eternal too. I pray that your son's memory be a strength to you to continue the good work you were doing. With prayers for you and your family.
Ronnie Daniel, Toronto, Canada

The untimely and quite unexpected demise of your beloved Son is really shocking and painful. The great loss to your family, Church and society is highly regretted. I understand that Lizy is on vacation in India right now. May God Almighty embrace you and keep you in His hands.

We cannot find any reason for the tragedy other than the wish and will of God Almighty, the sole owner of the Garden from where this unique and odoriferous flower was plucked and kept with Him. May God Almighty strengthen our beloved brother John Kunnathu and Lizy to bear the loss. Earnest and continuous prayers are offered to Lord God to grant
you courage, strength and hope to withstand now and in the future. May our Lord God keep the departed soul in the laps of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and enable all of us to meet him on the right hand side of our Savior on His second coming.

With lots of love and prayers
yours in Christ Jesus,
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.

This is Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa & Elcy Yohannan from New York. We are so sad in the demise of the precious jewel of your life, we have no words to console you, may God Almighty give you strength and peace in this crucial time. We had called you twice in the last couple of days, nobody picked up the phone. We got the news only this Thursday, we were shocked. We'll call you after a few days,
With love and prayers,
Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa & family, NY.

I read that your only son passed away accidentally. I don't know the details. I know the details are unimportant but as a good friend of yours, I want to share your sorrow by carrying you and your family in our humble prayers. May the Lord give you peace and consolation at this tough time. I can't just imagine the pain at heart for you and family. Initially it raises a lot of imbalance in the mind. But I am sure as the prayers are pouring in you will see the presence of the everliving Lord. He will assist you to take away your tears. Most lovingly,
M.K. Kuriakosachan.

At Present I have no words. Only few drops of tears for our son. May the Holy Spirit strengthen you both.

with prayers and tears
Moni kallepparambil, Saudi Arabia

Dear John, I am not sure whether you will open the mail in the immediate future or not. Yet I am mailing as I don't have your phone number with me right now.
My nephew Ajayan (Paul) (in Houston) informed my wife about the tragedy and she passed on the news to me. I am away in Tellichery in connection with the peace work we are doing there.
John, I can imagine the terrible wrench you are feeling, how distraught you might be ! In fact, I have no words either to console you or to convey my sorrow to you. All I feel equal to is to let you know that my wife and I will be among the many who will be praying for you and your wife.
I am reminded of Gandhiji's words : "God's ways are more than human arithmetic". God decides for us; we accept and follow. What else? Let God give you both enough strength to bear the loss/cross.
Your brother, M.P.Mathai.

I was shocked and distressed to learn of your son's demise. My prayers are with you, your wife and your family at this hour of grief. Losing a child is one of the hardest blows on the psyche of parents. Words of comfort or condolences are too difficult to compose much less convey. May the good Lord give you, your wife and other members of your family the steadfastness of faith which alone can be used as a means to accept it as the will of God.

Though we have never met, it seems as though I know you and your family well enough to send you this note of sincere condolence. Again, our prayers are with you.

If you want me to handle for a while a review of the messages on your site, please let me know. I will be glad to relieve you of that chore, until you get back. Please let me know.

C. Alex Alexander, M.D.

We were shocked to hear about the passing away of Vineeth. Kindly accept our heart felt condolences. You and Lissy aunty have been in our prayers since that day. We are praying that He gives you the strength and grace to pass through these trying days. May the soul enter into peace with the Creator! I was happy that I could at least speak to you the other day, but I was equally dumbfounded by the enormity of the situation. I don't think it’s proper to write anymore than this. Kindly let me know if there's anything that we can do. I can call you up once you are in Kerala, if you can give me a contact number. "The trials of the righteous are many, but the Lord delivers him from them all"
Ruben Jacob


Sorry to hear the untimely demise of your son. We know no words can console such a tragedy. Only the divine consolation can render peace at this hour. We join you in your sorrow as a part of the family. We pray to the Almighty Father to give you strength to bear this huge loss. Let the intercession of the saints help you to bear this loss.
And we pray for the departed soul.
With Prayers.
Cherian Thomas, Mysore

We heard about the tragedy in your life with shock. I know no words will console you at this time and the only thing we can do is pray for you and your family. May God give you the strength to endure these tough times.
Prayers, Rajesh Vargheese

I heard the sad news of the passing away of Vineeth, I can very well imagine your state of mind. All the words that are in my vocabulary are not capable of comforting your mind. I am not in a position to drive too far. Otherwise I would have come to your house to share your sorrow. I will keep you and your wife in my prayers. May God Almighty comfort and console you and grant good remembrance and peace to the departed soul.
Fr. Thomas Itty

I am really shocked to hear the news. My heart almost sank when I heard this news. What happened? Was it an accident? I Pray that May God Almighty give you and aunty the strength and courage to bear this great loss. My heartfelt condolences at this incredible loss.
Aju Jacob


Only God can console you, brother. Who can predict His ways? We can pray only. May His mercy be with you. We convey our condolence
Johnson & family

My heart-felt condolences. We have neither met in person nor had a telephone conversation but still came to know each other through GSC, email and the Internet. I can relate to the pain you are feeling as I too have an only daughter. There are no words to console you. May our Lord bestow you with the courage and strength during this time of crisis. I will be remembering you and your family in my prayers.
Thanks & Regards
Cherry Cherian, New Zealand

It is with much shock and disbelief that I read the news about the untimely passing away of your son, Vineeth. I don't have words to console you and only can pray to our Almighty Lord to give heavenly peace to you and your family.

John, even though we never met in our lives so far, you are like my older brother. So I again pray to our dear Lord to give you and your family strength and courage to pass through these troubled times.

With prayers,


I came to know about the sad news of the great loss today from the posting in ICON. There is no word for me to console you as this is an unbearable for any. I pray to God to give courage to you and family in this trying time of your family.

If you wish so, we will publish a memorial page with fondly remembering Vineeth, in LOL next issue. Please let me know after you come back to USA.

With Prayers
Rajan Mathew


I am very sorrowed by the sudden news. I have no words to comfort you at this difficult situation. I only pray God Almighty to give you and your family the strength; and courage to handle this painful situation. Me and my family remember you in our prayers.
Koshy p. John & family.

I spoke to Coorilos thirumeni yesterday. He wanted to know about the burial date. Unfortunately he is out of the country from today onwards. He has asked me to convey his condolences to you and aunty. He was also quite shocked when he heard the news. Kindly accept his condolences. I also wanted to come to Kerala for the burial, but I have to leave for Delhi today morning and will be back only later next week. We are all praying for you and aunty and all the close ones.

Ruben Jacob

To hear this is heartbreaking. There are no words, but only a prayer for your precious family. God is with you all. Human mind with its reasoning cannot understand death to be a gate to life, as Christ once and for all has made it, but the faith shall slowly work with the Holy Spirit... in prayer all together are connected in God.
I pray for you and your son.

Tiina Malinen, Finland

I was a bit late know about the demise of your Beloved Son Vineeth. May God guide you and your family through all tough times. Special prayers for the your son Vineeth. I haven't met Vineeth but I me take this opportunity to remember all those good things Vineeth have done to his family his near and dear ones, to the Church and to the Society. His service will be answered in Heaven. Once again heart felt condolences.
Special Prayers form
Orthodoxy Beyond Limits Team

I just turned on the GSC website. I just can't believe what I read about your son. I am really shocked. Is it true? Or am I in a state of denial? Assuming that it might be true I am going to observe a personal prayer vigil for your son and for you and Mrs. John. I have no words to respond to this tragedy. May the Lord give you whatever strength you both need at this time.

Love and Blessings,
(Joseph Thomas)

No words can console you and your wife and family and your dear ones at this permanent estrangement of your beloved son from your earthly life. The more you are attached, the more pain you will have. There is nothing permanent in this life! What we can do is to pray to Almighty, as a part of the body of Christ, to keep the soul of your beloved son in
Peace! Let us ask your son also to pray for us! John, please let us share your great grief! May the good God console you, young father and mother! Look forward with hope and belief. That is the Christian duty! The rest is the job of Christ!
Dr. Eapen Cherian

Am shocked to hear about the tragedy that has overtaken you. Nothing I say can be of much help to you at such a moment, but I am sure all of us in this group would like to share your grief and to help lighten your burden in whatever way we can. My own mind tends to recall the Buddhist and African response to such a situation: the past doesn't just cease to exist; it remains alive in the memory of those who witnessed it, and it is only slowly that it fades into collective memory.


C. K. Raju

I am not sure what to write now. I had been getting some updates from ICON about your journey to India.
I just want to let you know that both of you and Vineeth are in our prayers. The loss you have gone through is inconsolable but let me tell you that it can happen to anyone and there are lot more this kind of incidents than we know of.
I am sure your deep spirituality will take you through this journey of life which is very tough for few (think of Christ's suffering), and time will heal your heart.
Do know that friends are there for you to lean on and share your grief with.
With sincere sympathy and love
Raji and family.

We heard the sad news. We can understand the pain and anguish you both are going through. No amount of consolation can alleviate your sorrow. However, we can be confident that he is in good hands and that one day we can join him in His presence. We pray to our God, Almighty, to give you both the courage and strength to pass this difficult time.

We know that you both are people of deep faith. As our God tested Abraham, He is testing your faith. Hold on to Him; he will not forsake you, He will carry you when you tired; console you when you are sad and will give you strength.

We want to come to Houston and visit you. Please let us know if it is okay with you.

With prayers;

Kuriakose, Soma, Dinu, Sandeep, Anju & Anu

I am writing this with deep sadness and prayerfully sharing your untold pain these days. I feel guilty that I didn't know about the passing away of our beloved Vineeth.( Since I am not often following group mails, I missed this news, and later when everything was over I got a call from a friend. Then I called you at home, but apparently you had left for the US.)
I remember meeting the little Vineeth when I visited you in 1998. John, I have no adequate word for both of you at this time of grief and bereavement. Trusting deeply in the love of our Saviour, I just want to put down my favourite words form St Paul regarding our beloved departed ones when he writes to the Colossians: "...You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory" (3:3).
John I keep both of you and our dear Vineeth in my heart as i stand before the presence of our Lord. Our sense of being one body with our Lord and with all his saints certainly gives us a new perspective of trust and hope. May the Holy Spirit of God comfort you and keep you close to the loving heart of Jesus, our life.- with love and prayers-
k m george achen
Fr. Dr. K. M. George, Kottayam

A real shock. Heart felt condolence to dear john and family.
Yesudasan, Detroit.

I have no words to console you. I know that Vineeth is your only child and the apple of your eye. Why do these things happen? I do not know, and I think there are noreasons that are comprehensible to us. Job asked God 'Why? Why me?'But God did not answer for quite some time and in the meanwhile, thehumans around him could not comfort him either. I know that my wordsare as meaningless as those of Job's friends. When God answered, He did not give any reasons. But Job was silenced and comforted. I pray that He will comfort you. Dear John and Lizzy, please accept our heartfelt condolences and be assured of our prayers.
With love and prayers
Susan Eapen, Bangalore

We received the news of your son's demise with deep sorrow. A young man at theprime of his life has been called back to his eternal home by God Almighty. Itwill be an irreparable loss to you and your family. But you being an ardentbeliever in our Lord's ways can decipher the divine purpose behind it.We condole your loss deeply. May God Almighty be your strength and fort.
Prof. John Mathew Koodarathil, Senior Vice President, MGOCSM, Kottayam.

Heartfelt condolences. Only today I came to know about the untimely andunexpected passing away of your one and only son, Vineeth. I really do notknow how to console you. Death of our loved ones is always a difficult reality to accept, but our Christian faith gives us strength to bear such losses and to accept thetruth. You very well know that the one who has given us life has the fullauthority to take it back too. Believe that these tests and problems are tomake us mentally more strong. He will make us to go through these trials,but He will not make us suffer. As you know life is a strict and toughteacher and the difference is, teacher teaches a lesson first and takes theexam, but life takes the exam first and teaches the lesson.
Just quoting some of the Bible verses which you might have read severaltimes before, but will find it different when you read it this time.
"I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through thewaters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they willnot sweep over you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, yourSavior." Isaiah 43:2
"Fear not I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, for I willstrengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you". Isaiah 41: 10
"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand it is I who say to you,:Fear not I will help you" Isaiah 4: 13
Praying that let Vineeth's soul find rest in the bosom of Abraham, Issac andJacob. Also praying to grant you strength to bear this unexpected loss. With heartfelt condolences and sincere prayers,
Mrs. Sabu George, Mumbai

Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. We allpray to God to provide you with strength and grace to overcome this tragedy. May your son's soul rest in peace!
With prayers,
Abey Tharian & family, NJ.

Our heartfelt condolence to you & to your fly members. I can understand the painu are going through, now. I had gone through the same pain, when God took away myonly son, Bibin, 19 years, 3rd semester computer engg. student, on 26th Oct.2007.I still believe, God has big programmes for our children in HIS KINGDOM andhence they have been taken away from our hands. He just gave to us to take careof them for this much period only. Let us all pray and be with God Almighty, sothat our children will be happy at their present Kingdom of God. My son used tosay-SMILE AND TRY YOUR BEST TO MAKE OTHERS SMILE & MAKE THIS WORLD A PLACE OF HAPPINESS, LOVE &JOY. NOTHING CAN FILL THE GAP THEY HAVE LEFT IN US, LET US ALL SHARE OUR FEELINGS AND BE TOGETHER IN PRAYER.
With lots of love & prayer,
Babu Kalanjoorkol,

I don't know how to console you, because words fail me. But let me quote a wordfrom the mouth of our Lord Jesus: "Do not be worried and upset. Believe in Godand believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I amgoing to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were notso....." I pray to the loving God to put your child in a prime place inparadise. May his soul grow there spiritually! May the peace of God, whichsurpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!With love and prayers,
Your loving,
George achen, Ireland.

Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family at this great loss trying time.We all pray to God to provide you with strength and grace to overcome thistragedy. May your son's soul rest in peace.
With prayers,
Prof. Joseph Alexander

My heartfelt condolences to John Kunnathu & family. May God Almighty give youcourage and strength at this time of unbearable loss. May the departed soulrest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.
Philip Ayyamplackal, Auckland

It was with great shock that I heard the news of the death of the only son ofJohn Kunnathu. My hear weeps with both of John and his wife at the time of thisterrible tragedy. I met John some 3 years ago at the Old Seminary at Kottayam when he stated that he had brought his son with him with the purpose of introducing him to Keralaculture. We compared notes last year again when I learnt of the eye surgery hisson was about to undergo. Only the Merciful God is able to console the grievingparents and give them strength to go forward.
Willy John Daniel, Melbourne, Australia.

My heartfelt condolence to your family. May God give you the strength to bearthe loss.
Anney Johnson

Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family at this great loss trying time. We all pray to God to provide you with strength and grace to overcomethis tragedy. May your son's soul rest in peace.
With prayers,
Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji) & Family Cheppaud

Mr John Kunnathu, accompanied by his cousin Mr John Chandapillai, left forIndia from Dubai today (13th May) at 3.00PM along with the mortal remains ofLate Vineeth John, his only son. He was visited by the SGOS Dubai team & ICON well wishers yesterday. Rev.Dr. Aju Abraham (Vicar St Gregorios Church, Jebel Ali) led the prayers.
SGOS Dubai President Dr Vinu Thomas, Secretary Mr V.I. Thomas, Treasurer Mr P.J.Thomas (Roy), Mr & Mrs Jose John, Mrs. Bessy Babu Kurian, M/s Thomas Paul(Ex Sabha Managing Committee Member), Abraham Varghese(Ex Diocesan CouncilMember), Reji Mathew(Committee Member)and others offered condolences.Mr. Kunnathu was able to attend the Holy Qurbana and receive the HolyMysteries today morning at the St Thomas Orthodox Cathedral. There wasIncense prayer (Dhoopaprarthana) for the deceased after the Holy Qurbana ledby Rev Fr. P.K.Thomas(Vicar) and assisted by Rev Fr. Pathrose Joy (AsstVicar). Mr Bijili (Ex Bangalore MGOCSM), Mr and Mrs Joji Jose Kurian, MrJose Varghese (Halliburton) and a number of internet friends andacquaintances attended and condoled the bereaved father. Respected ThomasAchen was kind enough to spend some time with him which would havedefinitely given him much relief and comfort. Let us all pray earnestly forthe departed soul to get eternal peace at the bosom of Abraham, Isaac andJacob. By the Grace of God, Mr Kunnathu has been trying his best so far toshow a brave face. Please keep on continuing with your prayers, especiallythat this is the crucial time when he and his family need our prayersupport.Please find here below excerpts from some of the Essays written earlier byMr John Kunnathu.
Anything that exists within time limit must have a beginning and an end, birth and death. Only God exists beyond time limit, and so God has no birthor death. Therefore, death is natural for anything that is not God. Deathmust be a dreadful monster for those who know only this much. But this isonly one half of the truth. The other half of the truth is about therelationship between God, the deathless being, and all that die. Theuniverse exists within God, the deathless being. As nothing in the universeexists apart from God, birth and death are only appearances. In reality, wehave no birth or death, for we are one with God. As Jesus knew this truth,death, which is a dreadful serpent for others, was only a toy snake for him.But there is another kind of death, which indeed is a dreadful monster. Itis our separation from God, the source of all life. It is not a toy snake,but a real one. Jesus killed this monster by being totally one with God----------------------------
St. Paul makes a distinction between the fruits and gifts of the spirit.Gifts are means; fruits are the goal. All the skills are the gifts of God tohelp us attain the fruits of the spirit such as love, joy, and peace.The three things-faith, hope, and love-are different from the gifts inanother important way. All people need faith, hope, and love in order tolive in this world, whereas, only a few people possess the gifts mentionedabove. They are the basic necessities of all conscious beings-perhaps evenmore basic than air, water, and food. It can be argued that those who havepassed on to the other dimension do not need air, water, and food tosurvive; however, even they cannot survive without faith, hope, and love.In short, life is a mystery. Its mastery depends upon how we react to itsmysteriousness: negatively or positively.
With prayers,
Babu Kurian Puliyeril, Dubai
From the Desk of Moderators: Let us continue to remember Late Vineeth John and his parents, family members and close relations in our prayers during this hour of crisis.We take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to our senior member Mr.Babu Kurian Puliyeril (Dubai) and other friends for the lead and initiativetaken for organizing the prayer etc on behalf of the Indian OrthodoxCommunity in Dubai, after hearing the sad news about the passing away ofbeloved Vineeth (Houston) through ICON. He took the flight/transitparticulars from the Airlines in advance and located Mr. John at the hotel.We understand that none of the friends (including Babu Kurien) gathered forthe prayer etc were known to John Kunnathu in person except throughInternet. We also thank Fr. Aju Abraham, Fr. P.K.Thomas and Fr. Pathrose Joyof Dubai for finding time to be part of the ICON/SGOS family on this sadoccasion.

I read the news about the loss of your only son. My heartfelt condolences.I and my wife went through the same trauma 20 years ago when we lost our onlyson who was a brilliant student at the age of 14 due to suspected brainaneurysm. I can therefore well understand how you both feel. It is very difficult to adjust to the situation. But our belief in God carried us through all these years. It also changed my outlook in life and made me a more caring person. What is needed is to live the life normally keeping the sorrow in our hearts. When people query me about our children I say that I have no children instead of going into the details. May be God has other plans for you. I and my wife got involved with the work at Yacharam Balagram which gave us a lot of comfort. I am sure you will also find something like that. As I said live the life normally. People will comment how you can be normal and enjoy life when you have gone through such a tragedy. It is difficult; but it is possible. A lot of people will be there to comfort you initially. But you will be alone after some time. That is the difficult period. Only your belief and mental strength can carry you through this period.When I wrote in one of the news papers about my tragedy a lot of readers wroteto me. Some of the letters I got from readers about their tragedies and how they came out of it gave me a lot of support. Nobody can understand well how both of you feel. Only you both can help yourselves. God will help you. Believe me. I know it.
Isaac Thomas, Hyderabad

We offer Special Prayers for Mr. John Kunnathu and family on the demise of their beloved son Vineeth. May God guide them in all tough situations. Let's remember Vineeth for all those good things he has done for the Church and the society.Heartfelt condolences from Orthodoxy Beyond Limits Team.
George Alexander, Chairman, Orthodoxy Beyond Limits Forum

Job.9;12 He takes what He wants, and no one can stop Him. No one dares ask Him,"What are you doing?" JESUS SAID, LET YOUR HEART NOT BE TROUBLED.Heartfelt Condolences,
Fr. Kurien Daniel

A grieving but very composed Mr.John Kunnathu had a very unexpectedbut divinely soothing encounter when the group of Orthodox faithfulmen and women, thanks to ICON and SGOS, led by Rev.Fr.Aju Abrahamdescended into his presence in Dubai, where he was on transit with themortal remains of his beloved son Vineeth. At the end of prayers andconveying of condolences, Mr.John Kunnathu, moved by the presence ofpraying and condoling faithful declared 'now all the children in theOrthodox Church are going to be my children. I will indeed endeavour topass on to them my experiences with my departed son Vineeth to theirbenefit and spiritual well being'. It has been a real blessing to outreach to Mr. John Kunnathu in his moment of sorrow which touched him immensely. It was God himselfreaching out to him through his Church and faithful and saying 'mybeloved son, I do care'. Let us spare no opportunity to outreach to our brethren not only attimes of intense sorrow but also continuously in the rest of theirbereaving life.
Dr.Vinu Thomas, Dubai.

Recent tragedy in the family of John Kunnathu touched the hearts of many ICONmembers. Our words of comfort will not eliminate the grief but will minimize theintensity of bereavement to an extent. Moreover, this showed that we are onefamily and the tragedy of anyone in this family will cause pain to one and allin this group. Nobody can easily comprehend the pain John and family go through.However, a person like John, who will walk through this, can contribute more toprepare people facing such tragedies to face the ordeal with more faith andcourage, an excerpt from his own experience. Losing the only son isunimaginable. But when it turns out as a reality, the whole world is upside downfor the affected family. To walk through this people need help. Professionalcounselors may not be of help in every situation. However, people speaking fromexperience will always make difference. I have a request to John. Do not giveup. You can make a difference. Recently an article published in the New York Times showed the grief of people in China. The central rule of ˜One child per family" in that country left several villages instantly with childless parents by the earthquake! Stories ofpeople comforting each other while their only child is lost under the rubbleswas heartbreaking. However, their solidarity and willingness to help others evenwhen they have experienced the same tragedy was touching. In one part of thecountry people are very excited and working enthusiastically to host theOlympics and on the other part people are stranded with devastation caused bynatural calamity. On one side people are cheering with joy and on the other sidethe echo of screaming and waves of lamentations reverberates to the sky. Faithin God is the only aspect which can give consolation. Prayers and words ofcomfort will help.
Babu Parackel, New York

It was very shocking to hear the sad demise of you beloved son, wejoin with you to share the unbearable heavy lose. We pray to theAlmighty to give strength and courage to your family members and dearones to face this extremely sad occasion. It is indeed verydifficult to fill the gap created by his sudden death. Our deepestheart- felt condolences to your families and our prayer will always bewith you. May his soul rest in peace. May God Bless you.
With sincerest sympathies,
Abraham Varghese-Dubai

I believe that God who has already given you so much strength will hold onto you and take care of you during hard and tough moments ahead. As we we areall pilgrims on this earth, we all will have to go one day. It is hard toaccept that he went ahead of you. I understand your pain in the same measurebecause I also have a son 23 years old. Accepting God's will is one way ofloving Him. Vineeth was under your foster care for 23 years, but now he isunder the care of his Heavenly Father where he enjoys eternal bliss. If theyare happy in heaven, our tears on this earth are in vain, but our prayers willbe much useful to him. Reminding you of how Abraham and Job accepted God'swill, praying for you, Lizy, and Vineeth, expressing my heartfelt comdolence,and sharing sorrows with you,
Cicily Sunny, St. George Orthodox Church, Staten Island, NY

Kindly accept our Heartfelt condolences. We pray to our Lord GOD Almighty to give you and your family strength, courage and grace to overcome this tragedy.May the soul of your departed son rest in peace and praise the Lord in paradise. Pray for all ever & ever with love
Raju Baby Thaluvachira & Family, Mehsana, Gujarat.