My great-aunt passed away a few hours ago. She’d been in the hospital for almost two months, gradually getting worse with some hiccups of better days here and there. It finally got to the point where the doctors and family had to decide what the next steps were: be aggressive and try to force healing or make her comfortable and finally allow her to join our Father in heaven.
Everyone was scrambling around to get to the hospital to visit her. Most of the family was already there when we arrived with my mom and sister. We went into the room to see her and pray with her; but almost as soon as my mother started her prayer, the monitors started to beep and flash. My mom stayed behind, and we went to go find my aunts and uncles to go to the room to be by her side.
In all my short 26 (almost 27) years, I’ve experienced and witnessed a lot of death. I think that comes with the territory when you are blessed enough to be born into a family with many generations that means that you are also there when those generations before you slowly pass. I have the lifeless faces of my grandparents in those hospital beds burned into my memory, but I haven’t ever been so close as to see the life actually leaving them.
It was all too much for me, and I opted to not be in the room any more after that. The rest of my family went in to pray over her, but I just couldn’t be in there. My cousins came back to the waiting room – eyes red from crying – and I realized then that even though we’ve experienced some of the same losses they were all so young to remember them like I do. Those faces that are ingrained in my memory are but distant fuzzy whispers of a memory for them. My heart was so sad for them to have to see life end like that. I wanted to protect their hearts from that kind of pain.
Earlier in the day when my mom updated me on the situation, I wasn’t sure what the next steps were, but I felt called to reach out to my cousin. She is newly engaged and planning a wedding, and I knew that she would take this loss really hard with so much on her plate. Even though LG waited until after my grandmother passed to propose, her death weighed heavily on me throughout the year while we planned the wedding. Losing her made it so much more clear to both of us that we wanted to highlight and honor our grandparents at our wedding. I wanted to reach out to my cousin in case she wanted to talk to someone who has been in her shoes (or at least similar kinds of shoes). Even if she is able to find solace and comfort elsewhere, we will be praying for her and my other cousins and my aunts and uncles for their loss – praying for God’s love and comfort, that they’ll be reminded of the hope we have in him.
For the past few hours, I’ve been trying to figure out why I don’t feel as devastated as I have before. It isn’t that I don’t feel a loss in her passing – I do – but I think it is because when it comes to death, I have learned to trust in God. I know in my heart that I have hope to see them again – especially brother and sister and family in Christ. So yes, I am sad that she is no longer with us, but I cling to God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth.
“He will wipe away 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