When A Loved One Dies
How I Coped
Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. ~Socrates
Death can be sudden and unexpected, or it can be painfully slow. Either way, it happens, it's traumatic and life changing.
The first death i experienced was that of my brother, who took his own life at age twenty three. He had suffered a nervous breakdown and was being treated for many years, under the care of our country's top so called best doctors. The day it happened, we had just winded a family reunion at our home. When everyone had left, we remembered our sick brother. Suddenly, there was a loud scream. We were forwarned about this possibility. My dear and precious brother had ended his life. The next scene i was looking at, like a bad movie was my father sobbing while he held brothers lifeless body. For me, it was still unreal. I was 17 years old, preparing for my grand debut. I was thinking happy thoughts, not gloom, not death. As events continued to unfold, i got more confused. I was too naive, to process what was happening. I felt my body shiver and convulse, before throwing up. My mom was away, and everyone in our home were all too distracted to help me. How i needed someone so badly to comfort me and make me understand things. But, it would not come. Our family would mourn for a long time and never fully recover. My debut had to be cancelled as it was bad timing. Whatever conflict my parents were having had worsened after my brothers untimely demise. They would eventually separate.
My mom passed away at age 84. My sister died of leukemia at age 50, my husband of 28 years, died from cancer of the liver, at age 56. When mom died, the family knew she would go quietly, and that she did. She was a woman of great faith, it was a joy to watch her despite her weakening. She left us on Easter, as if to symbolize her new beginning in eternity. We were comforted by the fact that she had gone home to be with her Lord, who she loved so much. But, all this didn't remove the pain we her children felt. I especially missed her, I cried everyday whenever i passed her room where she stayed in our home. I missed her smile, her daily greetings, our mealtimes.
My husband battled with cancer for 2 years. I stayed by his side, praying and hoping he would recover. He was young and he loved life. But, the day the doctors came to give us the bad news that all hope was gone, we were stunned. How can that be? There must be some other treatment we can go for. My daughter and i felt completely helpless. But, the dying knows when it's time to say goodbye. My husband asked the family to gather, wanting to speak to each member, privately. Some refused, not wanting to accept the inevitable. Others were stronger.
Death is not a choice. It will happen. No one is ever really prepared to deal with the different emotions it brings. I have felt deep sadness, anger, confusion, being displaced, and that of regret. There are still times when i think, what if, should i have, why didn't i? I still wonder, why did they go so young? There will be questions with no answers. We find comfort in believing that God knows the beginning and the end. It helps when we have a community that will be with us during our times of loss and heartache.