In 1991, we had just returned from our first fabulous trip to India as a family. I had immigrated to the UK in 1986, so reuniting with my family after five years was extraordinarily exciting. During our stay, we were humbled by the hospitality and the tremendous reception we received, be it our families, church or friendship circles. It was a truly blessed experience to be part of a great extended family. We were particularly touched by my youngest brother David, his hard work and the structural engineering initiatives he had implemented around our old family home. So much so, that even today after almost thirty years later, some of this teenager’s works are noteworthy.
We wanted our parents to visit us here in the UK, however due to caring for two younger siblings our parents decided to take turns, therefore, Mother decided to visit us and the following year Father may come. So Mother arrived and, it was fantastic to see her, the next few days and weeks were full of memories as we took her to various parks and beaches. Until one early morning, we received a phone call from India – this was the dreaded call, I wish I had never attended, the caller said, “David is no more”, he has been killed in a car crash”. In my trembling voice, I woke my wife up and broke the sad news to her. We were heart broken, helpless, grief stricken and had become overwhelmed with our next task, how do we break this terrible news to our Mother who slept in the next room?
Our world had come crashing down in front our eyes – I rushed back to India, taking my Mother to attend her youngest son’s funeral. My Mother was so fond of David that sometimes we questioned her motherhood, as if he was the only child she had. She always insisted that she loved us all equally (we were eight brothers and sisters), but we knew she had a special place in her heart for David.
Hodgson (2012) notes that letting go of ties to the deceased is a horrendous experience. Professor Archer (2016) points out that the greater the attachment, the greater is grief. Dealing with a loss of a loved is very difficult. No matter how imminent the death of loved ones, nothing prepares us for the rollercoaster of emotions once they’re gone. Their face will never be seen again in this life; their laugh never heard; their company never enjoyed (Dirckx, 2016). The bond which one has assimilated over the years, gets suddenly broken without any warning.
When grief hits our shores, our instincts take over and we get so overwhelmed by its weight that we cry aloud and ask, Why? Psalmist went through same emotions, he pleaded with God and asked, why have you forsaken me (Psalms 22:1), whereas Job reminds us that God is in control despite everything falling apart around us. It is times like these we need to invite divine presence asking God to comfort us. God is not unaware of our suffering, thus Paul assures us, “The Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Cor. 1:3–4).
By the year 2019, I had lost two sisters, two brothers, both parents, both parents in law, a sister in law and all four parental uncles.
While we wept and cried helplessly every time, like David we continually looked up to the heaven, whence our help had come and still comes, from our Lord God, who has promised us that one day I will wipe every tear and there will be no more pain and suffering (Rev 13). May you find God’s comfort and peace whatever you may be going through right now!
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea”. Psalm 46:1-2