Goodbye – Melissa

Following the Morning Service at the Oasis Help Centre at 11am, Ann drove us both to Alicante to the Tanatorio at Siempreviva where we had officiated at funerals more than 20 years ago. The buiding was still in the same place but in the intervening years everything had been renovated. The fomer Chapel was now a showroom for flowers and graveside furniture, and passage-ways, celebrant changing room and other waiting area had become a very modern Chapel. The 100 mourners only had in common the fact that they were there to bring comfort to the parents of baby ‘Melissa’ who had been born at around 26 weeks and never left hospital, other than being transferred from Alicante to La Fe in Valencia. 

I’d never met Mark, Ana or Melissa, only knowing of Mark through the eMail group Costa Blanca Expats founded by Bill Hayles.

I knew that Mark (a multilingual translator/interpreter) had married Aña, who had a dress shop and both lived in San Juan.

I hadn’t known that Ana was pregnant until I heard that Melissa had been born early (26 weeks) and was immediately placed in the premature baby care unit, first in Alicante and then Valencia. No group of people (Mum, Dad, Baby and nursing staff could have fought a garder battle. I became aware of how much they WANTED a baby that Melissa was the products of their 7th or 8th cycle of Invitro Fertilization.

Every day of the 5 months represented a new challenge, with heart surgery and surgical staff even trying to construct an organ from ‘spare parts’ as no one manufacted such tiny organs commercially.

Melissa was constrantly the subject of pioneering ideas. She was on a life-support-machine frequently, but staff explained the stress of ‘forced breathing’ placed unacceptable pressure on her organs. Christians in every part of the world (together with others who prayed to whichever god thy believed in – and some dare not ask for fear of ‘refusal’ – but everyone agreed that Melissa would remain connected to the life support machine for a further 72 hours to monitor the likelihood of success, but if there was no sign when the machine (which was itself weakening her organs to sustain life on their own) was failing to achieve their objective, the support would be removed. 


It was a hard – almost impossible – decision to agree with, but Mark and Ana had total trust in the medical team. Shortly after Melissa was disconnected from the tubes, she passed into eternity in the arms of her loving parents. It was now up to the Tanatorio staff to support them.

At the pre-cremation service, Chaira as the coordinator of the Masters of Ceremonies had prepared information in English and Spanish, with an explation and translation into English for those would otherwise only have been observers. These were a couple of the contributions:

Too Soon’ by Mary Yarnall

This was a life that had hardly begun

Bo time to find your place in the sun

No time to do all you could have done

But we loved you enough for a lifetime.

No time to enjoy the world and its’s wealth

No time to take down off the shelf

No time to sing the songs of yourself

Though you had enough love for a lifetime.

Those who live long endure sadness and tears

Bur you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years

No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears

Just love – only love – in your lifetime.

Melissa was born on 4th November weighing 1.4Kg and died on 4th April 2016 weighing 4Kgs more. Ann and I were there, not in any official capacity, but so that I could report back to the thousands in JEC, CPC and AICW who had been asking God for a miracle.

When God calls little Children

to dwell with Him above,

we mortals sometimes question

the wisdom of His love.

For no heartache compres with

the death of one small Child,

who does so much to make our world

seem wonderful and mild.

Perhaps God tires of calling

the aged folks to His world, 

so he picks a rosebud

before it can grow old.

God knows how much we need them,

so he takes but a few,

to make the land of Heaven

more beautiful to view.

Believing this is difficult,

still somehow we must try,

the saddest word mankind knows

will always be “goodbye.”

So when a little child departs,

we who are left behind,

must realise God loves children

and Angels are hard to find.

Once back in Jávea, I received an eMail from Mark (himself from Jewish roots) criticising me for not identifying myself, but I was there for God and my praying family.

In my reply, I said I would continue to pray for Mark and Ana, and that Ana (like Sarah) would still have a child as God planned, despite Abram trying to take a short cut. Will you join me in that prayer for Mark and Ana.

At the close of the service the Tanatoria gave each of us a helium filled ballon in the shape of a heart (white or pink) and on the end of the retaining streamer was a card for a personal message. I only know what I wrote: LOOK OUT FOR ME – FOR I’M COMING SOON, and then all the balloons were released.

If anyone would like a .pdf of the Order of Service or a .docx of the spoken words, just send a request to me at