Choked by grief

Four years ago today was an amazingly joyful day, the day our mom remarried. For my siblings and I, it was an incredible sight. We’d never seen our mother so happy. It’s not often we’re all together to gather, and this was a day that was beyond joyful. The memories of this day are something the six of us kids treasured, especially since none of us knew it would all end so abruptly when she died just 16 months later.

And today, just over 2 1/2 years after losing our mom, we are grieving again. I don’t even have words. Our brother David died yesterday.

It’s too much to take in. My brother was a tough guy, a man who fought hard, who didn’t believe in giving in or giving up, who never surrendered to the tough things life threw at him, especially colon cancer. Twice.

Losing a sibling is something I never saw coming, even in the four weeks he was in the hospital and in ICU. My brother and I weren’t close, but I always knew he had my back. I always knew that if I needed him, he’d be there. I still have the teddy bear he gave me for Christmas when I was 7. I remember the times he loaned me money for rent when I was in college and ran short. I recall when he took in my beloved cat Cherokee after I moved and couldn’t have a pet at my new place. I look at photos of the numerous family gatherings he willingly hosted at his farm; so many family reunions, which often meant horseshoes and hayrides with him pulling us on the wagon as he drove his cherished Oliver tractor. I remember when I had to ask him to do the unthinkable and be a pall bearer at my son’s funeral. I remember how we six siblings sat down in chronological order at the cemetery following our mom’s funeral without even thinking.

My brother was a tough guy with a rough exterior that hid his soft heart. I grieve for my sister-in-law and their children and grandchildren, and for my siblings. Death looks like it won, but I am comforted by the truth. Death did not win, for my brother Dave is alive and well in heaven. He is right now in the presence of God, healed and experiencing only joy. No more struggle, no more cancer, no more pain. David knew his Savior, Jesus Christ. We are comforted in this, yet we grieve. But make no mistake. We grieve with hope.

I love you, David.

Love, Angel

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