My prayer and hope is that the story I am about to share, will help you as you go through difficult times in your life (John 16.33); that it will allow you to see, and understand, that God’s word is true.
He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).
I come from a very large family— I'm number 15 of 16 siblings. Although I am next to the youngest, I am the one that my other siblings depend on to take care of things for the family. I had to do it, because they needed me. I was the strong one (or so they thought).
It wasn’t until I was alone that my grief hit me, but I couldn’t call them crying, so I had to suffer many lonely, and at times, what I thought were hopeless, helpless nights.
During my younger years, most of my siblings had families/children of their own. I can’t remember how old I was, when my brother (1) Lee Edward died. Even though I was young, I can clearly remember the quietness in the house. Then, my brother (2) Michael died, and I can still hear my mom say, "Mothers aren’t supposed to bury their children." Years later, (3) Herman (Jan 1990) and (4) Thomas (Apr 2003)— who was in hospice care at his home in Oklahoma, and whom I was able to be by his side when he passed. Then, (5) my sister Carolyn passed in Aug 2004; my sister, (6) Shelia passed on Dec 2012— just a month earlier, I remember her asking me if I was going to come back to see her. (7) Joan passed in January of 2013,then (8) Robert passed in March of 2014. My brother, (9) Joe, passed in July of 2016. I remember all of them passing, but Joe’s passing was the most difficult for me, because I had to make the decision to take him off life support. I remember a particular conversation I had with him, before he slipped off into a coma, where he told me that he was afraid. Since I was able to spend time with him while he was in the hospital, I was able to tell him that he didn’t have to be afraid, since he knew the Lord. I sat there, holding his hand through the night; all while feeling like my heart and soul were being crushed. It was the heaviest feeling one could experience. Then, in Mar 2020, the Good Lord saw fit to call my brother, Billy (10), home; and, yet again, God allowed me to be there on that early morning with him— alone in his room, holding his hand, as he took his last breath. I consider myself Blessed to have been there.
While my story is of pain and suffering, I find solace in His Word:
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor 5:8)
Or in John 14:2-3:
In My Father’s house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again… that where I am, there ye may be also.
Or, yet again in 1 Corinthians 15:55:
O death, where is thy sting?
After I returned to work, a mentor suggested that I should talk to someone, as she could see/feel my sadness. I want to remind you that it helps to talk about your feelings to trusted council— to let it out. Never feel embarrassed about talking to a therapist, psychologist, or your pastor.
My faith is strong. I have understood from a very long time ago, that I had to lean on the Good Lord; for He alone, is where my help and strength comes from (Ps 121:1-2). Nobody, but the Good Lord, has kept me through it all. It was his Grace and Mercy that carried me, held me, guided me, and stayed with me on those lonely, hopeless, and helpless nights.
From these tragedies, I realized that I had to fully surrender this broken vessel [me], to God, and he would take care of me. His Word say, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28-30). I know for a fact, that He gave me rest for my weary soul. I am able to keep going, despite all the trials and tribulations I have been through… Because of God!
I learned firsthand that God is Love and Kindness; as with Job (Job 2:10), “Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?” This life is full of trouble; but again, His Word says that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even when my son suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in Oct 2018, I kept hold of His promises. While my son is better now, he still has cognitive skills deficiency (memory loss), and depends on me as his caregiver.
When my siblings, Janice, Columbus, Joseph (yes, there was a Joe and a Joseph), Dinah and Patricia get together, we love on each other a little extra, and we don’t take tomorrow for granted. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but God does; and therefore, I will hold on to Him and trust what He allows. He is a mighty, Sovereign, Omniscient God; and He is always faithful.
Peace & Blessings!