Elton: Day 25

Thank God, today was much better than yesterday. The swollenness of Elton’s knee has gradually decreased along with his pain. We started the morning with some wonderful photos of Elton’s family, which a friend sent via email. Angela and I viewed them beside Elton with his signature smile illuminating the room. It is remarkable to see the extent to which Elton resembles his Mom. Angela praised the strength of such a Mother who would entrust her son to complete strangers. Although we certainly don’t feel like strangers any longer; after all we have been through in these four weeks we are family.

deep dish 

pizza joy






Elton rested with ice on his knee all day.  By this evening he had perked up and was acting like his normal self. We enjoyed Lou Malnati’s Pizza, sent to us by a friend.  I told Elton that if he thinks this is good, wait till he tries Angelina’s homemade pizza.

Then, just to promote further reflection during this Lenten season, my boys’ pet cockatiel, Silver, suddenly died. This was their first animal. They received it as a gift for Christmas. I arrived home just minutes after our bird breathed his last in Angela’s hands.  Luke was already crying at the prospect of his bird being ill. Now it was up to me to break the news. When I entered their bedroom, Philip and Simeon were happily playing. Philip, my five year old, didn’t know quite how to react. Luke, age seven,  was absolutely crushed. 

I must admit, it became rather humorous, in a morbid sort of way, when Simeon attempted to console his older brother. Luke had been under his bed sobbing when Simeon crawled beside him to say, "It’s okay Lukie, the birdie won’t fall from his perch anymore, he’s dead…."

The above photos are from Silver’s funeral service, which we performed in the backyard (in the pouring rain). Our text was Luke 12:6, where it says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” After a brief eulogy, Silver was lowered into his final resting place (right), the congregation held their umbrellas (left) and the Reverend Father concluded in prayer (center).

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. this is most certainly my favorite post in this series, for a multitude of reasons:
    1. Elton’s feeling better
    2. Elton got some Lou’s
    3. I love Simeon’s perspective on life.
    4. I only wish I could have heard the eulogy.

    Lovin’ it. Wonderful.

  2. Many years ago when I was involved in mountaineering, they told us that when you climb Mt. Rainier (14,400′), the top of the mountain is half of the way there…… It’s the downclimbing that hurts the most because you are tired, you’ve exhausted your enthusiasm to get to the top, you’ve eaten your favorite food already, your clothes are soaked, your shins hurt because they have the weight of your pack and all else on them and of course your toes. Oh, the toes hitting on the front of the boot. I will never forget my bleeding toes that accompanied that wise advise.

    When Elton gets his healing behind him he can look back at the mountain and remember the journey — all of it, and be proud of himself for getting through it. He is a role model for so many and I am glad you are documenting the good and the other.

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