‘Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully,
wondrously, made thee!
Health hath vouchsafed and, when
heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief
Ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.’
This is an excerpt from my favorite hymn ‘Praise to the Lord’. Singing this hymn yesterday reminded me of an article I wrote a long time ago. I re-read the article and I still felt the same way as I felt when I wrote it. So, I’ve decided to share it. Enjoy!
I heard news last night that inspired me to write.
The news concerned death.
Recently, I’ve seen death everywhere. I check my twitter feed in the morning and I see people tweeting at a dead person; ‘RIP’ ‘It’s so sad. You were so young’ ‘May God console your family’ ‘OMG… This is unbelievable’… and it goes on.
I have also heard of deaths of some people close to people I know. Like wives and fathers.
I have even been able to study my shock process. It’s like this; First, I hear the news. Then for about 4 seconds, I don’t believe it. Then for about 26 seconds I stare into space. Then I begin to absorb it and think about those who it might have likely affected and how they feel. And then, for the rest of the week I just stare into space sometimes and say, ‘Hmm… thank you Lord for life’.
In the past few months, shock after shock, I have tried to rationalize why a person would die. I tried to identify similar, identical patterns in the people who died. I used age, religion, sex, physical built, behavioral pattern, status… but I found no similarity. People just die. It’s not like some are more qualified than others. There is no way for choosing who to die. It’s not like the reason I’m not dead, or my family members are not dead is because the spinning bottle has not stopped and pointed in our directions. Or that my acts have justified my stay. I believe that the reason I still have my family members, friends and myself, is because, and only because of the mercy, grace and unfettered love of God. That’s all.
I heard somewhere that ‘we don’t cry for the dead, we cry for the people they leave behind’. And that is so true. I realize that every time I feel angry or sad that someone is dead, I’m not really angry or sad that the person went but that the person left some people behind to deal with indescribable emotional torture.
You can never be prepared for a loved one or someone so close to you to die. Never. Even if they are sick and unconscious, you can still never be prepared. There are a lot of things, little things that happen when someone close to you dies that you are just never prepared for.
People would tell you a lot of things, for instance ‘You’ll be in denial for a long time’ or that ‘it’ll seem like you cannot stop thinking about it for life. But you’ll slowly get over it’
But, nobody would tell you about your painfully unending attempt at remembering the last thing you said to the person, or the last time you fought and what it was about. They wouldn’t tell you about the seemingly endless ocean of visitors pouring into your living room and touching your arm or shoulder or hugging you. They wouldn’t tell you about you guiltily wishing they all just leave you alone to yourself but when they finally leave you at night, you want them back, nah… you need them back. You need the voices around you to block out the loud voices in your head.
They wouldn’t tell you about how you would retrace the steps of the dead back to where you could have done something different and altered the occasion that caused their death. They wouldn’t tell you how guilty you’ll feel when you want to sleep with the lights on just in case their ‘ghost’ comes around at night. They wouldn’t tell you how you’ll analyze every visitor to know the genuinely sad ones from the ones who just feel they should show up. They wouldn’t tell you about your desire not to remain in this world again. They wouldn’t tell you how you wish both of you had died together but then you’ll quickly think, ‘what’s the difference? We’ll still leave some people to suffer this emotional torture’.
They wouldn’t tell you how hard you’ll try not to blame God, how you would listen intently during sermons, how you’ll desperately try to think about how it was ‘His will’, but still end up thinking, ‘He could have stopped it, I’m sure he could. He just didn’t’. You wouldn’t be told about you laboriously thinking, ‘Did she know she was going to die? Did she have any premonition? Just few minutes before she died, did she even suspect those were going to be her final breaths? What were her plans for tomorrow, or the day after? What were the last thoughts that ran through her mind? Where is she now? Was she scared before she died?
They would not tell you about how sure you will be that your late loved one is in heaven. They wouldn’t tell you about having to deliver the bad news over and over and over and again to people who call their phones. I think that’s just one of the most painful things that happen when someone dies; having to tell their callers, ‘Sorry, you can’t speak with her. She’s late’ ‘What?’ ‘I said, you can’t speak with her, she’s dead’. It’s like going through the pain of hearing it for the first time and also feeling, imagining and listening to someone go through the same pain. It’s like taking mighty steps backwards from your little recovery. I’m very sure it is torture.
And these are just things I imagine. I have never lost anyone really dear to me… and I owe it all to the God… His faithfulness. This morning, I just kept thinking about how I don’t deserve all this preservation and I just had to burst into singing to God.
So many people do not understand that there are no criteria for staying alive. People better than you die every day.
That is why, as long as I have breath in my nostrils (or lungs?), I will always give thanks to God. And even when I finally die (which I pray isn’t any time soon), I hope to be in heaven, still giving thanks to HIM.
P.S. *Remember that; even though we’re blessed to be among the living, death is merely the passage to the awesome Life hereafter. Try to live an impactful life on earth, but also remember to fix your heart on things above*