A cousin sent me a note a couple of moons ago telling me that my uncle (my dad’s brother) complained of difficulty in breathing. Minutes after he was brought to the hospital, the entire clan held a prayer brigade to help the physicians keep him alive and well. My uncle survived and is now more conscious on his life style more than how he is conscious already. He checked out and saved by the grace outpouring from the family’s prayers. Days later, a beloved aunt (my mom’s sister) was taken by ambulance again due to pneumonia leading to heart failure and eventually, death. A very classic example of the cliche, ‘when it rains, it pours’.
This story leads me back to the time when my mom passed away and followed by the demised of my dad 10 months later.
Death. It’s very mysterious. Members of the family, of the bigger family, gather on birthdays, reunions, baptism, school graduations, weddings and what not, but as always, not everybody will be present. Then somebody says goodbye forever. What do we see? Who do we see? Unfamiliar faces. Relatives whose names are unknown, not to mention that at times, we meet people who claim to be a brother or a sister which makes the situation not only complex but utterly depressing. Enemies become friends. Everyone hugs everybody for consolation. We suddenly feel kindness and compassion hovering above our heads. We feel numbness. It feels like we just got slapped. Slapped by a powerful being unseen but profoundly felt because a beloved was taken away.
A death of a loved one equates a 7.8 magnitude jolt of an earthquake while we sit and wait for the earth to crumble and see the rubbles to unravel and dwell among the bereaved family survivors followed by aftershocks even bigger than the major blow. I know. I got through, and still in mourning by the loss of my husband and my parents. Three wonderful people I love dearly.
A slap hurts. It hurts big and the swelling lingers for a long time. What’s worse is that we only realize how important the word’ family’ is when somebody dies. We are too human. Too hanged up by our ego, insecurities, hatred, jealousy, envy and greed forgetting that all these do not matter anymore when a person who gives meaning to your life is gone.
We are being reminded time and again that we are here on earth on a temporary basis. While we are busy working for that dream, reaching that shooting star, and dying to have our shining hour, it’s imperative to take baby steps backward and pause to meditate on what is our real purpose in life. The call from my brother to tell the news about our beloved aunt was a slap and a relief. God knows when to knock when life takes a toll on us. I am writing this as we mourn for the passing away of my Auntie Lilia. Rest now my dear Aunt.