Death finds us all in one way or another. It lurks, ridding us with fear and worry over our beloved ones. Or even over ourselves. It’s a fear that is common among us all. However, it is a fear that is inevitable. We must all face death. Whether we are standing in the sidelines and watching it come to take away someone we know or we are standing face-to-face with it, it will come.
This past Monday, a beloved uncle of mine passed away. He was my favorite uncle, a kind and compassionate man he was. He always had something to say that would make a smile burst across your face. He was gentle and a lover of kids. I remember how much he adored me as a child and he still adored me to this very day. It’s hard to believe that such a man like him has been stripped away from our lives in just a blink of an eye. The thought of him being…dead; it’s so hard to grasp. It is truly sad to think about.
When my dad called me I knew that something was not right. His voice sounded so distressed, so pained. At first I panicked because I thought something had happened to my mom, but this completely different story that my dad told me was just something out of this world.
“Your third uncle is dead.” Just like that. It was as if a hand came out of nowhere and slapped me hard. I made him repeat the words because I couldn’t seem to make out what he was saying. At that moment I could feel my heart beating so fast; it was all I could hear. How was that even possible? Dead? It wasn’t possible. I had seen him just a couple weeks ago. He was fine and dandy. He was laughing. He was breathing.
I kept thinking to myself, I’m sure this is a dream. i’ll probably wake up and nothing like this ever happened. He is alive. But he wasn’t. He was dead. And that was reality.
It got me really thinking as the hours inched by. I only thought of all the family moments I had with my uncle. All the parties we had, he always came with the biggest grin. And even though my family saw him almost every other day, he always greeted me with such an excitement as though he hadn’t seen me for decades. His hands were big and rough, but they were warm when he would pinch my cheeks lightly. His laugh was like no other. Big and hearty. Happy.
He would always worry about my well-being whenever we went to his house.
“Come sit here on the couch. It’s warmer.”
“Have some warm tea. It’s healthy for you.”
“Have a cookie. I bought them for you!”
“Are you bored? Here’s the remote, turn on something you want.”
Thinking about how he will never ever say those words to me ever again, fills me with such sorrow.
But what pained me even more was when I saw my cousin’s face. She had flown back to Naperville, all the way from Virginia. Her face was drenched in tears. There were no words exchanged when our family gathered to comfort her and her mother. All she could do was sob, like how she did for the previous twelve hours. It broke my heart into a billion little pieces. Her father was the world to her. And now, her world was gone.
When I hugged her to tell her how sorry I felt, I almost couldn’t say it. Just holding her frail body within my arms made me start to cry with her. I don’t think I ever cried that hard for someone’s death in my entire lifetime.
A husband and father gone. A brother gone. A dear uncle gone. It was hard to take in but we had to. It had to happen eventually. He was only sixty-four years old, such a young age to go, and we thought of how unfortunate and what a waste it was for a wonderful man to depart from this world.
But in reality, we should be thankful and happy for him to have left this world and into God’s hands. He was a man who dedicated his life to loving God, and what better than being able to be with God for eternity now?
We shouldn’t mourn, but instead, celebrate for his death. Now he can be truly happy. God bless his soul.