Up until yesterday, 63-year-old David Lang had been the caregiver to his two adult children, Justina, 30, and Titus, 25. His other son Timothy had already passed away at a young age.
Although Justina, Timothy and Titus were all born healthy, they started to develop similar symptoms in their childhood years.
They were later found to have Niemann-Pick Disease Type C and believed to be the first known cases in Singapore.
It is estimated that there are only 500 diagnosed cases of this fatal genetic disorder worldwide.
Timothy passed away unexpectedly at age 10, while Justina and Titus gradually lost physical abilities over the years.
Both had to rely on wheelchairs, feeding tubes and breathing ventilators. It was also common for them to experience seizures.
And yet, the Lecturer at Singapore Bible College and breadwinner of his family never lost his faith despite being well-acquainted with suffering.
During his interview with Thir.st last year, David admitted that there were many times he wrestled with doubts and came to God with questions, but he found much comfort in the book of Job.
“The Christian life is not a bed of roses. It’s the way of the cross. I’m thankful that by God’s grace, there hasn’t been a point when I wanted to give up on God despite my situation,” he had said.
Today, David’s faith is evident again as he recounts how Justina went home to be with the Lord on early Sunday morning (February 27).
“We have much to be thankful to God for in these past 30 years she has been with us,” he told Thir.st, explaining that those diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Niemann-Pick Disease Type C typically don’t live beyond 20 years.
“This is especially remarkable because she has not been on any of the two known drugs that can prolong the lives and functions of such persons,” elaborated David.
“So many times (we) could have lost her, including when her wheelchair toppled and she hit her head on the ground, suffering fractures of skull, elbow and knee.”
Sharing how Justina had been warded in hospital from December 29 to January 1, and again since January 5, he said that her digestive system had been shutting down.
Justina was mostly sleeping and unresponsive since February 23. But in her final minutes, she passed away “serenely and cheerfully”.
“In the last moment, she gave us some smiles on her face. We are amazed and comforted by her last gestures,” described David.
In last year’s interview, David mentioned that his faith is the reason why he doesn’t worry about tomorrow.
While he and his wife Loo Geok didn’t know how much time they had left with Justina and Titus, they were learning to take things one day at a time and enjoy the responsibility that God had given them.
The couple also hold on to the hope that they will one day reunite with all their children.
“When my son passed away, we knew that it was not the end, and that there was hope for the future,” said David.
“We will miss them for sure,” he added. “But… we will learn to find joy in other things, like our ministry and helping other people.”
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Please pray for God’s comfort to be with David and his loved ones during this time of loss.
Justina’s casket will be at Block 5 Farrer Road from Monday (February 28) to Wednesday (March 2). Short thanksgiving services will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday night, while the funeral and cremation will be on Thursday (March 3). Visiting hours are noon to 11pm.
All visits and services are subjected to the current COVID-19 regulations of not more than 30 attendees at any time and in groups of no more than 5 persons.
If you would like to make a small donation to the family, you can refer to this post for details on how you can contribute.