Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mr. Robert Gedcke - Dec 2, 1962 – Sept 5, 2011

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Today’s Blog Post

Mr. Robert Gedcke - Dec 2, 1962 – Sept 5, 2011

The Obit reads…
Suddenly at his home on Monday, September 5th, 2011, Robert Bryan Gedcke, of Owen Sound, at the age of 48 years. Much loved son of Alvin and Sharron Gedcke, of Owen Sound. Dear brother of Lee Ann Pierce and her husband David of Windsor and Owen Gedcke, of Western Canada. Dear step-grandson of Verne Burrage, of Mississauga. Predeceased by his grandparents, Jim and Thelma Gedcke and Gordon and Winnifred Burrage.

Yesterday I read the words again and heard many accounts of the way that Rob touched so many lives in his short 48 years of being alive on this earth. Yesterday Alida and I drove to Owen Sound to attend the Life Celebration for Rob. It was hard but it was good.

Why did we go? Well here is some of the rest of the story…

I met Rob twenty years ago this past month.

I had started my new Pastoral role in Yorkton Saskatchewan with the small congregation of 22 adults and one teenager. We had moved from the mega city of Toronto and more specifically, Scarborough where we had served as the Youth Pastor of about 250 youth and young adults.

Now with the move to the west our world had changed radically.

In those first months I was working out the “whys” of our being there. What purpose was there for me in this small community?

Rob and I met in a friend’s garden. He and his parents had dropped by. Standing in the garden Rob came over to greet me. We talked about the possibilities of talking directly to God and having God speak to us in a real voice. We also talked about the possibilities of other kinds of beings speaking with us. I gave my simple opinions and Rob listened to the answers to his questions.

Rob was checking me out. Not necessarily to see if I knew the right answers, but rather to see if I would be his friend, even after he asked some strange questions.

Rob was dealing with the issues that follow the development of Schizophrenia. At 28 years old he was well experienced with this condition. It had manifest itself in his life in his mid teen years.

For the next 3 years I grew in my knowledge of this disorder. I saw how the family and Rob had to deal with this. I witnessed the sometimes confusion of the medial and psychiatric personnel as they tried to find a stable mind place for Rob. As time went on Rob changed… and along with that his Meds had to change as well. As well new Meds came along and they were tried with Rob… and the care givers would watch the changes either for the good or for the bad.

Time passed rapidly for all of us. Al and Sharron kept in contact with us as long time and deep friends. They shared many of their struggles by telephone and emails.

Moving from Yorkton, Saskatchewan to Owen Sound, Ontario was not easy for Sharron. She had moved from Toronto when Al received the new job in Yorkton. Yorton was her home – she did not want to move east again. But they did and the rest is history.

I assume here that one the feelings of not wanting to move was for her knowledge of what happened when Rob’s life was disrupted. It seemed over the years that disruption caused flare-ups of his condition.

This past year for some reason or other, Rob’s Meds were adjusted again by staff at the local hospital. I do not know all the story for sure… but it appears from the outside that there was not right kind of help for Rob. Over the year his condition and reactions to life went down hill. As Sharron and Al shared their grief they related the changes that they saw taking place.

On September 7th, two days after they last saw Rob, they went to his apartment and found him laying on the floor. Rob had died alone. I am not sure of the reason. And there may be no reason at all. He just passed away.

As you would well expect there are many questions in Sharron and Al’s mind as to what they could have done more to help him better.

BUT I can testify to the fact that there was no parent combination like Al and Sharron that could have shown more love to any child, like they did with Rob.

However there will always be questions about what more could we have done to still have Rob here.

My small, personal view is… God needed Rob to come on the 5th of September. It was time. He had touched so many people personally, tried so hard to live a full life here, and done his best… it was simply time to go “home”.

For me personally it has been a long journey from that backyard and garden experience of speaking with a young man facing a serious disorder… and encountering a family with the pain of some one that isn’t okay.

It has taken me deeper and deeper into helping others with disorders of all kinds. And it has taken me further into trying to understand the changes in the world of care givers of people with mental health issues.

Today opportunities have been given to me to help many helpless mental health problems. Specifically the door was opened a while ago for me to help with men coming from Federal Prisons… that have mental health problems and no help in our communities.

I can’t tell all of the story here. But I can say… that Rob Gedcke touched my life and helped open my eyes to the struggle the family walks every day.

Rob I will remember you and thank you deeply for being my friend. I also honour you with all that you did for so many. But I will miss you too.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Our Friends - Al and Sharron Gedcke

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