Our Christian faith has helped us every single day – if we hadn’t known that God is with us even in the most difficult times, we would probably never have been able to cope.
I grew up in Clydach in the 1970s. My father (John Davies) was the minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church and then Bethel Evangelical Church. Like many people, we later moved away and in 1989 I met a young man called Geraint. We had only been courting for three weeks when he proposed! We were married that year and moved to Folkestone, England so I could begin teaching in a primary school. What followed was not only great joy but great difficulty. Our son Deiniol was born in 1992, but that same year Geraint was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. God’s timing was perfect. Having had three serious miscarriages previously, Deiniol’s birth put a traumatic diagnosis in perspective. Having learnt from early in our married lives that God only has what is best for us we were able to trust him with the MS. In the following years our daughters, Sioned and Meinir, were born but Geraint’s condition was getting worse.
By 1994 we had moved to Wrexham and Geraint had to give up work, first as an excellent primary school teacher, then as a not-so-good financial advisor! By 1996, I too had given up teaching so that I could care full-time for Geraint. Over the years the doctors tried various treatments, but Geraint had every possible MS symptom and from 2003 his health rapidly deteriorated. By 2007 it was clear that he was not going to live much longer, and in November 2009 Geraint died at home with the family around him.
I went to Thames Valley Police aged 16 to start fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a police officer in the traffic division. As a police cadet in Thames Valley, and a police officer in Yorkshire, I had to handle many complex and critical situations. However, it wasn’t just in my professional life that circumstances were critical.
I met Jennie in 1981 and we married July 1982. She was a devoted secondary school teacher. In the following years our sons were born. David in 1984, Ben in 1986 and Sam in 1988. In 2000 the unexpected happened – Jennie was diagnosed with breast cancer. The various operations and treatments did at first seem to help and Jennie was able to continue the job she loved.
But in 2005 everything seemed to go wrong. In the summer, Jennie’s cancer had returned. On 7 July 2005 I was on the Circle line on the London subway and was caught up in the Aldgate explosion. It was that year too that my mum died. By 2007 Jennie had given up work and on 1 December 2009 she died at home with the family around her.
Just before Geraint and Jennie died, our sons Sam and Deiniol became very close friends. Knowing their Mum and Dad did not have long left to live, they forged a close bond. This was the start of a friendship that would change the course of our future.
Alison: Kevin’s son Sam spent summer 2010 with me at a Christian conference in Aberystwyth. After chatting with him I sent Kevin a book about grieving and bereavement called Tracing the Rainbow. I thought he might find it helpful, totally unaware that his Master’s degree included the whole aspect of grieving and bereavement counselling!
Kevin: I replied to Alison’s letter, and we started writing to each other until we met finally in Bridgend during October 2010, which was also organised by Sam and Deiniol! By March 2011 we were married! Life has not been easy for either of us, but looking back, we can see that God has always been good to us. Our Christian faith has helped us every single day – if we hadn’t known that God is with us even in the most difficult times, we would probably never have been able to cope. And we’re able to testify that although our faith has been tested by the deaths of Geraint and Jennie, God has seen us through, and we know that they are in a far better place because their trust and hope was also in Jesus Christ alone.