Barry's last three days
The following letter from Derrick & Jan Hill at 'The
Peartree' in Worcester England was a real comfort to The Smith Family
following the shock Barry's death. Derrick and Jan very graciously travelled
all the way from England to share their account of Barry's last days with his
What can I say, what words are ever enough when one is
mourning and grieving.
Although we rejoice that Barry is present with the Lord he
loves, the pain of parting is ever present. I thought of how you must be
feeling, not being with him at the end and I knew that I had to write and tell
you all about his last four days with us. I wondered why God had chosen The Pear
Tree and Derrick and myself to be part of the poignant times in the Smith's
family lives. First Debbie and then Barry (#Editors note: Barry and May
were staying with Derrick and Jan in 1999 when they received the news of their
daughter Debbie's sudden death). It bothered me until the Lord gave me
understanding of what a privilege we had that God placed Barry into our care for
those last days. If he wasn't going to be with you when the Lord called
him home what an honour that this great and obedient servant of the Lord was
When praying with Derrick today I had a picture of a nest of
woody twigs intertwined, solid and firm. In the middle of this was a beautiful
white egg, suddenly it broke open and out emerged this powerful bird that took
off and soared on wings like eagles, free at last!
Barry came to us late Sunday afternoon. I watched him
as he crossed the car park and he looked very tired. He asked for some coffee
and he went with Malcolm off to his room in the hotel. We joined him and
he said he had felt 'not well', 'doing too much Jan'. The service that
morning had been hard and took its toll on top of all the preaching he had done
but he took some of grandpa's medicine and said he felt much better. His
colour returned and he was as chirpy as ever. We all left him then to
rest. Later Derrick and I walked past his room (we weren't sure if he was
asleep) we called good-night and he replied. He didn't want anything to
eat but just to rest.
On the Monday we moved him into our house as we were full in
the hotel. He stayed in our son James' room. He had an en-suite bathroom
and another bedroom to use if he wished. He seemed comfortable and he
spent the day relaxing, reading, watching the God channel and chatting. We
all had dinner together in our kitchen at home in the evening and he shared that
days reading from his Daily Light. He told us how every day he would read
and share with his family and how you would quote the Scriptures with him as you
had read them so often you all knew them by heart. It was a good time -–
relaxed and happy. Our daughter Sally and husband Fraser had called in and
Barry updated them in all that was going on since September 11th. I made
him some drinking chocolate before he went to bed.
On Tuesday he made his phone calls, read The Telegraph and
made some notes on a book I had given him on Cancer - 'Dying to know the
Truth' He found it very interesting and got quite excited about some
information - what a zest for life he had.
He made us laugh a lot with his jokes and had some special
times with Derrick when they talked about the economy, world events and putting
the world to rights. He was such a lovely wise man.
That evening he said he felt a bit queasy and only wanted a
light meal and he complained he was cold. We put the heating on to get him
warm and gave him his bedtime drink and he went off to bed around 10.45.
That night I was very restless and got up at 5.30am and went
downstairs for some quiet time. I heard Barry coming downstairs at
6.00am. I went and asked him if he was alright and he said he hadn't slept
well and he was very cold. I put the heating on and got him his tea and we
laughed that I was having hot flushes and he was shivering. He also said
he had pains in his shoulder and arm.
Later he had some breakfast in the Hotel and got talking to
one of our conference drivers. He told him all about the Lord and gave him
'The Devils Jigsaw ' to read. The guy was so interested he came back and
spoke again to Barry - evangelizing to the end!
After breakfast he came over home and said 'Jan, I feel real
crook.' I asked him if he wanted the doctor and he said yes. I
then decided I'd best take him to the hospital. My friend, Karen was with
me at the time so we put him in the car and drove to the hospital.
A lovely nurse took all his details and we waited in A &
E to see the doctor. I asked him if he was alright and his eyes filled with
tears and he said 'I feel like crying - I just want to be home.' Karen and I
prayed with him and then he was called to see the doctor.
He was agitated at this stage because he was anxious for me
not to tell the hospital staff that he was due to fly home and also he didn't
want me to ring you, May, because he didn't want to worry you as it was night
time in N.Z.
He asked me to cancel his meetings in Westminster Chapel and
to book him on the first available flight home (the first one I could get was
They gave him an ECG, blood tests and an xray. We
laughed together because he had an Indian doctor and we weren't sure what he was
I stayed with him until he had the results of his tests and
at this point the doctor said nothing much had shown up and they thought it
could be just muscular. They were going to do more blood tests and refer
him to the medical doctor. It was 1.30pm and they said it could be several
hours before he was seen so I went home to get him his paper and book and
Derrick and I returned at about 4.00pm.
We found out that they were admitting him to the medical
assessment centre and some more blood tests had come back with results showing
that some activity had gone on and they needed to investigate further.
He was very relaxed and joking and wanting to know the news
now breaking about the stock market crash and the big fraud in America. He
wanted his Daily Light, his shaver and some water so while he was awaiting a bed
in a ward we went home and returned again at 10.00pm.
We asked the nurse when we arrived, how he was and he said
they would know more in the morning but he would be transferred to another ward
and kept in
for a few days.
Barry was reading a little book of our son's called
missionaries to the Congo' and really enjoying it.
We chatted about the latest news and I asked him if he had
eaten but he said he really wasn't hungry. He told us he had talked to
Andrew earlier and he gave us permission to ring you May, when we returned home.
He asked if the Friday flight was still booked and I told him it was but didn't
think he would be out of hospital by then so he agreed he would keep to his
original plan to fly home on Monday. He said the hospital had given him
some pain killers but he still had a little pain in his shoulder but the
medication had enabled him to sleep and as he hadn't been sleeping too good
of late he had had the best sleep for ages. He was at peace, was a good colour
and seemed content with where he was. It is a new hospital only being opened two
months so his surroundings were bright and cheerful. He spoke well
of how he had been treated. We left him with the expectation of returning in the
morning with his paper. It was 10.45. He had a cardiac arrest at 11.15.
We are devastated here at The Pear Tree - death comes so
suddenly and you wish you had done and said so much more.
God has a perfect plan for us all and I know that he placed
Barry into our lives at this time. We will never know this side of heaven
all the reasons why but already his presence here is having a great impact.
He said the Pear Tree was an oasis where he could rest and be
recharged - Bless him for that - it really was a privilege to know him and to be
a part of his life. We loved him and we will miss him.
He and Derrick had some special times together. He not
only brought Derrick to the Lord but on the occasions they were together,
Derrick would always come away richer in spirit.
Thank you May and your children for sharing this great man of
God with the world. We would dearly love to come to the funeral and be with all
the people that loved and respected him. I hope we can.
We are praying for you dear May and your children as I am
sure many around the world are. To you, he was just Barry, your life long
mate, to your children I am sure a wonderful Daddy and to us he was a very
special friend. To us all he was such an influence on our lives someone we will
never replace, which we thank God for.
God Bless May, we love you, Jan and Derrick.