The year has only just begun and it’s already had tears in it. Once again, I’m reminded of the fragility of life and how important it is to live and love with all we have and all we can be.
On New Years Eve, I received an email from whom would have been my future sister-in-law. She was in great spirits and anxiously looking forward to the new year only hours before her. Sadly, I didn’t get to reply to the email; though I’m not sure she’d have gotten to read it anyway.
As I was surrounded by my love and his family on NYE, I had an odd feeling that I couldn’t exactly place. I felt alone and distant in spite of the people around me; that feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t shake it and went about the nights festivities as planned. The following morning while eating breakfast, I received a call from my brother. I was excited thinking he’d called from London to wish me a Happy New Year; instead it was to tell me that his girlfriend was found on the street and taken to the hospital where it was determined she’d had a stroke…my heart dropped. The foreboding feeling I’d had the night before now made sense. All celebratory feelings dissipated as I heard my thuggish brothers voice croak and crack as he fought tears. I encouraged him to think positively and not react until he knew her prognosis.
Yesterday, 3 Jan 13, I received a call at 1:47 pm EST from him telling me she’d passed. Crushed and devastated were/are two of my emotional states of being. I hurt for him in ways I can’t even adequately voice. His usual gruff was almost a whisper and the contained tears gave way to a flood of them. I could offer no conciliatory hug to help ease his pain. I could do nothing physically to help him with his pain and grief and at the moment; his despair, all I could do was contain my own tears and speak words of comfort and encouragement to him while my own heart broke for him; for their future that would never be. He feels so alone, so isolated, and abandoned by our family and sadly I could identify, which only amplified my own emotions of feeling helplessness.
My brother is a good guy who made many bad choices and decisions in life. His life took a left turn that lead to a detour that he almost couldn’t come back from but he did. He found a way to start over; start a new life, and in the process found a woman; a kind, loving, supportive woman who accepted him and his past. She saw his good; his worth; his merit and she loved him and believed in him. In his moment of grief he forgot those things and asked this, “is this my payback for all the bad things I’ve done?” At that point I almost lost it. Jesus took the wheel on my emotions and gave me the words and strength to tell him “no, that wasn’t the case”. I told him that God has blessed him with a woman and a love that showed him he was in fact worthy. I told him that while we can’t know the works of the Lord, there was a lesson to be learned. I further encouraged him to live his life in her honour and with her love and spirit inside of him. I made him swear he’d do everything in his power to live a good life and to do nothing to defile the trust and commitment she’d had in him. I did all of this as I fought my own tears.
Last evening, I cried! I was and continue to be hurt for him. I grew to love her too. I cried for her who should have been my sister-in-law. I reread the email she’d ever send and my heart shattered. She was only 43 and is survived by her children and grandsons, whom I know are in shock and disbelief.
It’s the 4th day of the new year and I cried on the 3rd. Coincidentally, it was the birthday of a high school friend who’d once been my first boyfriend. It was also the 12th anniversary of his mother’s death. 3 Jan will forever be an awkward day for me because I’ll be celebrating both life and death.
They say death comes in threes and it had. Just before Christmas, there was the death of a former co-worker and then the death of my best friends mother and now my brothers girlfriend.
I don’t know what God has in store for my brother, but I trust that it’s something good. I know his girlfriends life and love was not for naught and her memory will be cherished.
This is once again a reminder of how precious and fragile life is. Hold on to those we say we love and live a life worthy of being someone’s good memory. My closing statement for this years post is “live the life you love; love the life you live” this couldn’t be anymore the truth.
Live the life you love; love the life you live!