Friday, April 16, 2010

Webb's Funeral Service -- posted by Will


Webb Waring Allen
January 3, 1997 – April 7, 2010
Funeral Service
Christ Episcopal Church
Florence, South Carolina
April 11, 2010

Welcome (Daddy)

I want to thank everyone for coming to Florence today, as we celebrate the life of our treasured son Webb.
Words are inadequate to describe the pain and grief that the family has experienced over the past three days since our amazing son Webb passed away on Wednesday. Although our faith in Jesus Christ is sustaining us during this time, we terribly miss our incredible thirteen-year-old son and brother who has preceded the rest of us to heaven.
And though we mourn our loss, we want to celebrate and honor his life today, because we are so thankful that God gave him to us for thirteen wonderful years, and we will be forever grateful to Him for giving us Webb.
To begin our celebration, please join me in a word of prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the family and friends that have gathered here to honor the memory of Webb. We thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, and for sending your Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Holy Spirit, please provide your supernatural comfort to those here today, as we remember the marvelous blessing that Webb was in our lives, and take comfort in knowing he is finally able to walk and talk, and is completely whole.
Be with us today, as we share memories of Webb and honor him for the unique and exceptional member of the family that he was.
And in all of this, we give you praise and glory, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Daddy’s Eulogy
How can I possibly condense thirteen years of memories such that I can adequately share with you the remarkable young man known alternatively as: Webb, Webbsite, Webbo, Bobo, Momo, Sir Cutie Bobsquinch, and one of my favorites, Webber Dimplehocks?
As you probably know by now, Webb didn’t walk or talk. But he more than made up for that lack with having an endearing personality that made everyone melt. We had a ball playing around together. He could crawl around the house like nobody’s business. And he loved it when I would chase him around and tackle him.
And sometimes when there would be a show on, he would crawl over to my chair, raise his long arms, and want me to put him in my lap.
He had a couple of words he could say regularly. When he wanted some more food, he would say “more.” He could say “who.” He could also say “okay.”
But my favorite word that he would say was “Dada.”
Several years back he learned how to give the most special kisses in the world, ones that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I could certainly go on and on, and never exhaust the memories of Webb that I could share with you. Webb was a blessing and a joy. We will think about him every day, and we will miss him until we see him again. No son or brother was ever more loved and adored. He was our darling, and he was beautiful. We thank the Lord for thirteen wonderful years. We can't wait to hold him in our arms again.
Momma’s Eulogy
First of all, I want to thank you for coming all this way and allowing us to brag on our treasure, Webb, and tell our story.
Webb. He of the most kissable Ricky Nelson lips. My chubsy wubsy cheeks. Mr. Muchos Smoochos. Two days ago I couldn’t even say those words without falling apart, and look at me now.
By way of background, I knew when Webb was born that something was amiss, but the doctors tried to convince me that I was imagining it. In fact, I was so sure there was an issue that I took him back to the doctor before his one month appointment, only to be told I was an overly anxious new mom. Eventually, when Webb’s development was clearly proven to be delayed, the doctors finally caught up to me. But, I had long since moved on to the Lord with this trial, because by this time I also knew the doctors wouldn’t have anything in their black bags for us anyway.
And this is where my marvelous story begins.
You see, prior to Webb’s birth, I loved the Lord and considered myself to be a Christian. I taught Sunday school and did do-goody deeds and all, but I had not yet gone all the way with the Lord. And he says don’t even bother to pack your bags if you’re not planning on going ALL the way. I knew I hadn’t gone all the way because I knew I wasn’t thoroughly minding him. I wasn’t in gross sin, but I knew I still had ambition and pride of life lurking in me… albeit Christian-y ambition, it was ambition nonetheless. You know, like I’m suf-fer-ing for the Lord here in Uganda, or whatever. I wanted to be perceived as spiritual! I had prayed the sinner’s prayer way back in 5th grade, for crying out loud. I was a Greek and Hebrew scholar. I wanted to be admired by the so-called church. I really did love the Lord, but I was blind to how I was actually competitive, in a way, within Christendom.
I certainly didn’t want to be hated and despised and falsely accused and mocked and all those things the Lord promises for those who follow him. I wanted to be popular! I was religious, and Lord knows I had all the clichés and deeds of that, but I wasn’t spiritual.
Then in March of 1997, following Webb’s birth in January, I became overwhelmed with my fears for Webb’s well-being and fears for my own condition. I was under heavy conviction.
I felt like a pinball every time I read the Bible as I kept bumping into verses about how we ought to be living holy and blameless lives: “be ye holy even as your father in heaven is holy,” “go and sin no more,” “walk even as Christ walked,” “if you love me you’ll obey me.” The Bible didn’t say TRY to be these things. One thing I knew from my studies is that there is a word in the Greek for “try” and the Lord did not use it.
Many of the denominations have made an occupation of preaching how the Bible doesn’t mean exactly what it says, but the Lord knows how to choose his words.
I especially choked on the verse about how with EVERY temptation he gives us a way of escape… so why wasn’t I always taking the way of escape? Well, I hadn’t yet gotten the new birth-- I was still sold under sin. I wasn’t yet a slave to righteousness. I’d bought into the false doctrine of “Christians can’t quit sinning,” or “Christians sin every day.” Anyone who says that has not yet received the new birth.
I knew Jesus said his sheep hear his voice. I knew I wasn’t hearing his voice. Oh, I had warm fuzzy feelings and thoughts that I attributed to the Lord, but deep down I knew I was an imposter.
The ultimate stumbling block for me, the one that brought me to the new birth, was 1 John chapter 3.
1 John 3
1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not commit sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
I stumbled over those verses for a long time but I finally understood what it all meant when I went to the Lord toting my Webb under one arm and all my sins and my sin nature under the other and totally gave it all to him, giving up my rights to my entire life and even my next sin. And thus began my magnificent obsession with the Lord Jesus Christ.
I found out that you have to repent first before you can believe. This is one of the great mysteries of the Gospel. Jesus said repent and then believe, in that order. The Word of God is spiritually discerned. It can’t be understood without the new heart. For all my Bible studies, I never really understood the scriptures until after I repented. I couldn’t fully see the truth until after I got my new heart.
I got hated right quick, losing friends and family. I almost lost Bill because I’d “gone off the deep end.” Although it hurt, I then had an intimacy with the Lord that overcame it all, and I could hear his specific instructions for me and his words of comfort.
When Webb was about a year old the Lord told me that Webb’s condition would not consume his childhood. I’ve pondered that in my heart for all these years. Initially, I thought that meant that he would catch up and would walk and talk and be made whole here with us.
What I came to realize was that it meant his condition wouldn’t consume his childhood with sicknesses and seizures and all those things that are par for the course with handicapped children. We only had thirteen years with him, but they were of robust play and laughter. He was eleven years old before he had his first cold, and that is certainly something to be thankful for.
We minded the Lord by praying for and expecting Webb’s healing. That’s what the Lord commands us to do. I can’t be resentful that he chose not to answer our prayers the way we wanted him to. The Lord took Webb Wednesday morning without my permission! I'd already given him everything. And you know what? It was all already ordained from the foundation of the world.
We’ve had miracles before with Sarah Grace’s heart defects that the doctors said couldn’t heal without an operation, and when George was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys. They said he could not live longer than a week! They were just babies and based on our faith they received their healings. But the Bible also says “according to your faith be it unto you.” Perhaps Webb was just unable to see his healing for himself and had a weak spot he couldn’t get past. I don’t know. I just know that the Lord says to pray and believe. And that’s what we do… because without faith it is impossible to please God.
Wednesday night after Webb passed away, the children had the great idea that we all sleep together in the den. We held on to each other and prayed, and then one by one we fell asleep.
I slept for a couple of hours but then woke up, and I just lay there looking over the room of my family who laid their lives down for Webb.
Everyone knows that Webb’s daddy was his eyeballs. The night before Webb passed away, Bill lay on the floor for the longest time doing fireworks on Webb’s belly. And getting extra kisses before he put him to bed. And just so you know, Bill was Webb’s official toofer brusher and I’ll have you know Webb never had a cavity!
As for the children’s part, it all started with Will coming to me when he was 10 when I was expecting John. He insisted that he take over changing and bathing and lifting Webb, as I was struggling with handling such a big boy. Once I delivered John, Will wouldn’t let me take it back over, assuring me that it was no big deal and that it was his pleasure. That freed me up to nurture my subsequent newborns, and I will always be grateful, Will. He kept those responsibilities until last August when he moved in with Momma to take care of her.
And for all those years, he never once complained or copped an attitude. Not. One. Time.
When he started Ma’s hospice care, Spencer and James then did a lovely job of sharing the responsibility of Webb.
Sarah Grace poured on constant love and affection and made sure to take him on her walks around the farm to the pens to visit the animals. She was also Webb’s official cheek squeezer.
For the other children, they all had their part whether it was finding his toys he was always losing, or fetching his wheelchair or sippy cup or baby wipes. They cut up his food and washed his face and found his DVDs and a multitude of chores.
They played with him constantly. When he was little they used to tote him around in the wheelbarrow, in with the hay, to feed the animals. They pulled him around in the pool to his screams of delight. Their motto was always: He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.
And I never heard one single complaint.
So while I looked around that room of sleeping Allens, I saw what Webb gave to us!
Bill, we have children who gladly serve and yield to others. We have a beautiful, spiritual daughter and, of course, our holy boys.
And even though we’ve had some unbelievably hard times here lately with H1N1, pneumonia, a month in intensive care, Daddy passing, Momma going into hospice and passing, you being out of work for a good chunk of last year, and now Webb’s passing, and I know your pain is heavy beyond belief… but even so, My George Bailey, I’d say you’re the richest man in Bedford Falls!
I’d like to close with one of my favorite Webb stories.
Sarah Grace and I wake up at 5am every morning to have our coffee and girl time. I’d noticed that when I was coming out of my room and passing the buckaroo room (we have a room with two sets of bunk beds) that Webb had just turned off the TV and was climbing back into bed. I became curious because it was happening every day.
Finally, one morning I got up extra early and tip-toed down the hall to see what he was up to.
I peeked around the corner… and Webb was sitting on the floor laughing his blooming head off at a Dr. Phil rerun!
I don’t know if it was Dr. Phil’s bald head or folksy accent and manner (How’s that workin’ for ya?), but Webb would laugh so hard that he would slap the floor and I even saw him fall over backward in hysterics. He was laughing so hard that he couldn’t get himself back upright. It was a contagious laugh, and I’d be in stitches watching him laughing at Dr. Phil.
And when the credits would start rolling, he would turn off the TV and climb back into bed.
We never knew how he originally found that show at 4am, or how he knew it was 4am to find it again each day, but that boy loved him some Dr. Phil. Many, many of my mornings were begun with his infectious laughter.
And now the children would like to say a few words.
Richard’s Eulogy
Webb was a loving brother. When I was little I used to ride on his back. I was the first one to call him Bobo.
George’s Eulogy
Webb and I had a rich friendship. My dad called me his personal trainer. I played with him all the time. John, can you please come here so I can show them what I did with Webb?
[George takes John’s hands by the wrists, and sings]
Wiggly Party,
Everybody dance now!
Wiggly Party,
Everybody dance now!
Snap snap snap,
Clap clap clap,
Wiggle your hips,
Just like that!
Thank you for listening.
John’s Eulogy
My brother Webb had the prettiest crystal blue eyes. He had the most handsome hair ever and the cutest freckles. Although he was developmentally delayed, he had a great personality.
I am so proud of what this family did for him, and what he did for us.
Webb had the cutest gestures and the most beautiful smile. And he charmed everybody he met. Momma said there were puddles of nurses all over the hospital.
We’ll see him again.
I wrote a post about Webb in my journal when he was nine years old, and I’d like to share it with y’all:
[John and James hand out copies of the following post]
Dad on NPR and Webb - April 20, 2006
Yesterday was very exciting because my dad, Bill Allen, was on NPR which is National Public Radio! If they play reruns you might could hear him. He was on a show about Patrick Henry College. He talked about Brown University, which is where he went to college. I felt so proud of him because he was so smart and the people kept saying he made good points. I don't really know what all they were talking about because it was big boy stuff.
I said I would write about Webb this entry.

Webb is nine years old and he is beautiful. He has very bright blue eyes and he has great freckles. His hair has a nice wave with some grey streaks.
You may have noticed that we take Webb around in a wheelchair because he doesn't walk yet. He doesn't talk yet either but we lay hands on him and pray for him every day and we're trusting Jesus to heal him up.
Some people don't believe that Jesus does that sort of thing but we know he does. He healed Sarah's heart defects up even though the doctors said they couldn't heal without an operation.
George had medical problems. He had cysts on his kidneys and the doctors said he wouldn't live longer than one week old, but he is five years old now!
We always give our worries to Jesus and that's why we're okay about Webb. We wish the Lord would hurry, but we don't give him a deadline or anything, we just keep on praying.
Webb loves to play with loud toys. He likes rock and roll Ernie and he loves the Hess truck he got for Christmas. He loves all helicopters and the ceiling fans. In winter, he enjoys watching the fire in the fireplace.
We used to feed Webb but one day Mom put the fork in his hand and told him to feed himself, and he has fed himself ever since! That was like a miracle because nobody would have thought he'd have enough sense to do it. It's hard to tell how much sense he has because he doesn't talk yet.
One time his batteries ran out in his keyboard and Mom found him in the hall with a package of batteries and a Phillips head screwdriver trying to replace them. That takes sense, doesn't it?
Will is the one who takes the most care of Webb. He changes his diapers and gets him in his chair and he gives him his bath. Will is Webb's best friend. Will usually knows what Webb wants. He understands Webb's sounds and he can just tell what Webb is thinking. Sometimes Will gets aggravated with Webb when he's being stubborn, but they love each other a lot.
Webb is really fun to play with. Sometimes when we wrestle around, Webb will protect you from another brother. Sometimes Webb will let Richard ride on his back. Richard calls Webb "BoBo" because he can't say Webb.
I think Blue's Clues is Webb's favorite show, but he laughs his head off at The Wiggles.
We don't know all about what goes on in Webb but that's why Dad prays every day that the Lord would heal his lack, and then we thank the Lord for every new thing Webb does.
One time Mom made strawberry shortcake for Webb because it is his favorite sweet thing. He doesn't like candy or cookies or ice cream. When he finished it up, he clearly said, "I want some more!" She made more and cried her head off.
Jesus heals. It's not like a magic potion, it is just like trusting God to help because nothing is too hard for him.

Sarah’s Eulogy
Webb gave the best hugs. Whenever I’d play with him, I would ask for one of his hugs. He would look at me with those flirty eyes of his, kind of give a cocked smile, and turn his head to play hard to get.
Then I’d have to say, “Bobo, please! C’mon Bobo, gimme a hug. Gimme a hug and tell me I’m your favoritest sister in the whole wide world!”
Then he’d throw his head back and laugh, beam at me, put his arms around my neck and squeeze so tightly like he wanted to eat me up!
Those hugs made my day. I’m going to miss them.
Psalm 103: 11-18
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18 of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
Will’s Eulogy
It’s good seeing you all, I just wish we weren’t here today under these circumstances. And as I look at all of us gathered here, I can’t help but hope we’ll be together soon in happier times.
As Webb’s primary caregiver, I forged a deep relationship with him that transcended words. When Mom was expecting John, I realized that Webb was too much for her to handle, since he was such a butterball when he was little.
Over the years we developed a mutual understanding, to the point that I knew what he wanted just by the look on his face. Sometimes, if he was sitting beside me, he’d run his fingers up my back, grab my shoulder, and pull me backwards onto him. I’d look up to see him beaming.
I always made sure to comb Webb’s hair to look exactly like mine. Or maybe it was the other way around. Lord knows I envied his perfectly wavy locks. Webb was also a sweetheart. Whenever a sibling would get a spanking, Webb would cry his eyes out for their sake.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Webb knew how much I loved him. I’ll cherish him in my memory for the rest of my days, and I look eagerly ahead to the day we’ll meet again.
Thank you.
Graveside Prayer (Bill)
Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.
6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
7 Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
8 I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”
9 I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for Webb. You gave him to us for thirteen unforgettable years. And now he is with you. We know he is walking and talking, and happier than he has ever been. And we can’t wait to be with him again. We pray for the peace that passes all understanding that you give us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. And we pray this in His name. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've had a little cry but I think Im OK now. Holding all my dear friends in my heart. s x