“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come on that day. It was mid morning on a Thursday and I had decided this morning to take a nap with our grandbaby Bella. The knocking on the door startled me. I rushed to see who was there, assuming maybe it was another door to door salesman attempting to convince me to upgrade my windows or alarm system. But what came next was far from anything I could have imagined.
I remember this day vividly. The day my brother took his life. I didn’t want to see the signs right before my eyes. I knew he had been dealing with what felt like for him, more than he could handle. We’d shared our last conversation in a tone of bitterness and anger. He felt unloved, unwanted, betrayed and left out. Despite how many times I told him I loved him and our entire family and his children poured love into him. Addiction had confused him and stolen the very essence of joy and love that had once filled his heart.
Devastation hit my family. Our hearts forever shattered. Confusion loaded with millions of questions. Each of us trying to understand the whys behind our loss. My heart aching and confused. I had just spent the early morning hours praying for my brother and pleading with God for healing and restoration in his life. To give him a fresh start. Where pain medication would no longer be the desires of his body.
January 26, 2020, the entire world watched with tear filled eyes as news broke about another tragic loss of loved ones. Families were torn. Hearts forever broken and shattered. We first learned of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, whose lives were gone too soon. Soon following we began learning of the children on board this plane, with mothers and fathers. All too soon taken. Lives with futures as bright as the sun.
Tears filled our eyes. Not that my family and I knew the Bryant family personally or the other families lost. But our hearts broke as parents, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers. Nothing in life can ever prepare us for tragedy or circumstances that are beyond our control. Nothing can prepare our hearts for the devastation of losing someone we love so abruptly.
I thought of Vanessa Bryant, and her pain and suffering. My heart ached for hers as tears filled my eyes. No words can give solace at a time like this. No words. Simply prayers. Prayers to give her strength and strength to the families that had all suffered a loss on this day. As a mother and wife I could not imagine the grief she was faced with. I simply cried with her. I felt her pain and anguish.
The day my brother left us, I fought for my strength and that of my family. Even with all the questions and unknowns left behind, I asked God to give me the strength to endure this horrible pain. I knew of no other way to get some sort of peace back into my shattered life. I only felt the pangs of pain and anguish. There were days of such immense pain that my strength depleted to a point that I couldn’t even cry anymore.
Leaning into God is where I found a renewal of my strength. It’s where we find renewal of hope. It is natural and ok for us to go through the different stages of grief. Just trying to find our way to healing through this painful process. Grief has no time frame and no agenda but to simply allow us to mourn the loss of the person we loved dearly.
I’ve seen that through my grief came great strength. Through my grief and suffering came a newness filled with new hope. Grief, as painful as it is, is necessary in order for us to overcome the heartache. And how we grieve is entirely up to us. A friend told me that I could take as long as I wanted. There was no set time frame. And she was right.
I found strength during this process. A strength that has now allowed me to speak about my brother. His life and death. His suffering and anguish. His addiction. Strength is what carried my family and me through the valley of death that we passed through.
My deepest prayer is that for those grieving a loss, an unexplainable tragedy, that God restores strength and hope to you today. I pray you find peace in your heart and in your soul. That all will be well in your soul. God loves you dear friend. Know that this suffering is only for a season. Trust me when I say this, the love will always remain for those we have lost. We will remember them, cry for them and miss them dearly. But each day that passes, we will find a new strength that only God can provide. I pray God’s overwhelming love and peace over every family faced with this tragic loss. May God be your strength during these difficult days.
Love you dearly my friend,
psst…God Loves You
For more encouraging messages of hope and inspiration, join me at www.livingencouraged.org and also on my weekly podcast at Living Encouraged with Ileen.