It is hard to believe but it has been 10 years ago today that my baby brother passed away. It feels like it was yesterday because I can remember all of the details. 4 months prior to his passing my other brother had passed away. The ironic part of this day is the fact that we celebrated the life of my father 7 years ago.
When my first brother died I concentrated on helping my Dad through the reality. After all this would be his second child that passed before him. We all have in mind the order of life. If you are a parent you believe that you will die before your children and not the other way around. It was hard to believe he was gone even though he had been ill. In my mind we would grow old and share old stories. I had been praying and believed that God could heal him. Why didn’t God answer my prayers? Why did he allow this to happen? I was confused. The days went by and I reflected on the things we had done over the years, funny stories and even the challenges we had. I talked with my baby brother even more often, after all is was now just the 2 of us. I didn’t have an answer from God. We created a new tradition for Thanksgiving and spent it in Maryland with my brother and his family. We tried just a little to duplicate those dishes that our Mother, Grandmother and Brother were known for. We didn’t do too badly. We made it to the other side of Thanksgiving. Christmas was coming however we would not celebrate together. My brother and his family were going to Florida. I wished we all could be together for Christmas.
Early that December morning that call came that turned my world upside down. The voice on the other end said he had become ill and was on his way to the hospital. Less than an hour later that same voice called and said he had died. How could this happen? He was in the military and had just had a physical. He was only 36 years old. It was as if I couldn’t pray fast enough and ask God to step in and heal as I know that he can do. What kind of logic was this? What kind of plan did God have? This was not fair, I just lost my other brother, my mother and sister too. How was my Dad going to survive this? This was too much for anyone. He had a family, the kids wouldn’t get to know there father. I was angry with God. Where was the God I had come to know? I couldn’t wrap my arms around any of this. I remember telling a church member that I was angry with God and they told me I shouldn’t say things like that.
Well I am here to tell you that God is really ok if we get angry with him. He knows my pain, confusion and frustration. He doesn’t give up on me, even though I wanted to give up on him. I realized he was with me the entire time. He was my strength because I was weak. My natural self wanted to crawl in a ball, in a corner and stay under the covers and weep. Instead he gave me the strength to comfort others. He kept me in my right mind to handle all of the necessary business. He surrounded me with so much love, my best friend came in town, other family friends, the phone calls and the cards were overwhelming. God waited patiently for me to return to him in my own time. He still loves me and keeps me. I may not have my biological brothers but he has placed others in my life that are like brothers. It took me a minute to realize that.
For anyone that is challenged with the loss of a loved one especially around the holidays, just know that God is still there, he will never leave you. Understand that grief is a process, there is no time frame in which we can say it should be over. Everyone will process differently and in their own way. Sometimes you have to reach out and ask for help in getting to the other side of grief. You just have to take one day at a time and know that life will be different, new memories and blessings.
I pray God gives you peace, he comforts you in the days, weeks, months and years to come. Let him go with you in this process and understand that you will have a new normal. He really is there.
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.