If humanity shares one thing, it is loss. No matter the color of your skin, your status or your beliefs, we all experience loss at some point or another. For some, loss comes easier. It might be that they are accustomed to it and therefore have made peace with it. For others, it is a never-ending nightmare filled with sorrow and misery. For me, I found myself struck down the middle.
Over this past year, I have seen God take three of my closest relatives, whom I all loved to death. This has been the first time in my life where death came to my family and did not leave immediately, only because he was preparing to take two more with him.
Before, I was at peace with death. As far as I was concerned, we were on mutual terms. How could I fight him, the inevitable? It was just the cycle and nature of things; he was solely doing his job. He would come and take relatives one at a time and it was OK. He never came by too often. Yes, it did hurt, but it always did. Though he has lost his sting, you can’t help but feel a hallowing in your chest when he does come and take someone with him. I trusted God’s judgment. If death came to visit then surely God sent him for a purpose, right? I had come to greet him as an old friend, because even when he did take my loved ones, I knew he was simply escorting them to a better life. Death and all his friends had made peace with me.
It wasn’t until cancer found itself in my great grandmother, that I began to question the will of God. My great grandmother, Eva, was a beautiful woman. She feared God all her life and as a result dedicated it to Him. She loved people as often as she took breath; she was hospitable and never wasted her time with unforgiving grudges. If anyone was following Christ, she was, even in the end. Yet, she still found herself captive to this hellish sickness and she suffered greatly.
I was there when death took her. In the later hours of the morning, right beside my mom. To describe how I felt in that moment is difficult, because even now, I’m still unsure of what I felt. The familiar hallowing in my chest was much worse now, more so than it had been before. As if I could no longer breathe, my chest tightened and I felt my heartbeat slow. She was gone. The woman who I had grown so close to since I was born, was gone. I couldn’t understand what was going on. There wasn’t pain, but rather, a deep emptiness and I did not know how to process it.
The days that followed were a blur. I don’t remember much of what happened. The only thing that I can remember distinctly is that I never cried. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, but no tears formed. Even when I was a pallbearer, I couldn’t find myself to cry. My heart ached for months upon months. I suppose my brain hadn’t caught up with it and was in a state of denial. It wasn’t until we went to visit her grave that I broke down.
We carried on, though. We always did.
Death had come and it had left just as quickly, or so I thought. It wasn’t until my great grandfather, Popo, was confined to a hospital bed that I realized that Death was still with us. Thankfully, it wasn’t sickness, it was simply old age. I was torn. I just couldn’t understand how God could send Death to take two of my relatives from me in such a short span of time. There was hardly time for grieving even. Soon after, Popo was taken off of life support and went to join Welita.
I soon began questioning the will of God and the love of God. I understood that everyone has their time; but I just couldn’t help but wonder why He couldn’t wait just a little while before He took Popo.
Depression was more evident within the family now. A silence seemed to fall over us. We seldom spoke about anything and just carried on quietly with our daily lives.
For a moment, I was skeptical. I was just waiting for Death to show up again, but he didn’t. I began to calm down and slowly things seemed to look up. I moved out to university and started up classes. Everything seemed bright until one morning. I wake up to my R.A. knocking on my door, telling me to call my family and to check up on them. My heart plummeted. Dialing my mom, she answered; and through the sobs, she told me how my grandpa Jose had passed away. He had been in the hospital for the past few weeks, but that was nothing new. He frequently needed check ups and it didn’t seem like this time would be different. I had seen him before I left. He smiled at me and told me to have a good night. Now, just a mere week later, my mother is telling me that he was gone.
I was broken.
I locked myself up in my dorm and I cried. The tears poured angrily as I cursed God left and right. I had had my fill of pain for one year. Three of my grandparents, just snatched up and taken from my life. I was livid. I looked up to the sky and I emptied out my heart to God.
“I hate you. I hate you. I hate you!”
I repeated that over and over again through my cries. In my anger, I cursed God and rebuked him from taking my family.
Through the funeral and beyond, my heart was filled with anger. I was bitter towards God and wanted nothing to do with Him.
Something happened after that, a moment of clarity. My mind flashed back to one moment, when my Welita had passed away. I wandered aimlessly around her house, trying to keep myself from breaking down and when I turned down a hallway, I saw at the end of it Welita’s husband sitting on his bed, crying. In his hands was his Bible, clenched tightly around it. I couldn’t see where exactly he was reading, but I could tell the passage was dear to him. It was then, my anger subsided.
When Welita died, her husband lost everything, that is, everything except his faith. To be reminded of him clinging to God’s word with his life, gave me a sense of understanding. God understood my pain and my suffering. He knows that feeling all too well. He gave up His only Son for me and there I was questioning His authority and questioning His love as to whether or not He cared.
Now, I know that things happened the way they did for a purpose. Although I may never truly know the reason for it, I can trust that now, they’re all in a much better place where there is no sorrow; no hurting.
I will see them again and that is all I could ask for.