Last week, my uncle died. He was one of my Dad’s best friends and like a second father to me and my sisters. The funeral was over the weekend. Then yesterday I got a phone call from Mom. Grandma was rushed to hospital but didn’t make it. She was gone by the time the ambulance arrived at the ER.
Cat said when they got to the hospital and heard the news, they all screamed aloud in shock. Mare said she’d never seen Mom cry the way she did last night. Mom was wailing. Her own mother, now gone. When they arrived at the room where Grandma’s body lay, her hands were cold. And though her face was still warm, it was clear her presence was no longer there. That’s when they knew it was true–she’d left.
I didn’t know what to do but cry. I had so many questions for my mother. How was she? I couldn’t tell. On the phone, all she said was, “Honey, I have to tell you something…” then she paused. I always know when she’s about to deliver bad news. I learned early on in my teenage years that nothing good ever comes from a sentence that begins with “I have to tell you something.”
Mom’s voice sounded strong but hesitant, taking long thoughtful pauses. The moment she told me “the Lord had taken Grandma” I lost it. In between my gasps for breath and overflowing tears, all I could say was, “Oh Mom, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” There was only silence and I knew at that moment, she could bear no more. The phone was passed on to my sisters to finish the conversation.
Sometimes I forget that my parents are actually people. Regular, normal people like me and Matt. They’re married, they have their own lives, their own routines, their own friends, and yes, even their own parents. But to me they’ve always been Mom & Dad. They’re strong, capable, invincible.
And so it’s all a very awful sort of newness to me. This–having to listen to my sisters’ descriptive images of our mother and father in their broken state. They, the first-hand witnesses to the pain; me, a silent listener creating pictures in my head. It’s all so cloudy and terribly heartbreaking. So many of these brief, tender moments continue to pass by and I’m only left to catch vague glimpses of it, filling in the finer details in my mind as I sit here typing this post.
Life is so fragile. One moment, everything is going well and the next, a part of your world comes crumbling down. For Mom & Dad, a huge chunk of their world just disappeared like that. And it only took one week. Oh how I hurt for them. I ache for them. And only now can I truly begin to understand their pain.
I wish I were able to lift the sorrow and grief from their hearts. But that’s not my job. It belongs to Someone much greater than me. And I know He is up to the task and is more than capable. I know He will be their source of comfort through this difficult time. Though I wish I were in California to give my Mom & Dad and hug and a kiss, I know my presence is nothing compared to the love and peace only One man can bring.
And so, as I rest my weary soul, I pray to the One who gave me life. I ask Him to be with my parents, and I ask Him to help me make sense of all these things that are much too heavy to process or understand. I trust Him alone to be my source of strength through this time. And I trust that through it all, He will be with my uncle and grandma–now and forevermore.
*R.I.P. Uncle Adjie and Nanay Sofia *