12. Tears of Separation
Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die’. (John 11:25-26.)
Last March, my first daughter’s husband Alex passed away. He was only 50 years old, and he left behind his wife and a seven-year-old son. Alex had been battling cancer for a time, and the doctor told us he had only two years. Thank God, he lasted three full years; he had died of respiratory complications. I was deeply saddened, for I experienced yet another life and death separation, and saw how painful it was for my oldest daughter to go through this pain of losing her husband. How cannot one feel the same pain? I worry how she will continue in the days to come. What is going to happen to this seven-year-old in the future? Who can be her comfort when she is deeply saddened and heartbroken? Who can share with her when she is faced with life’s pressure? How will this grandson grow up in the absence of his father? My heart aches when I think about this, like hundred of arrows piercing my heart. My tears just keep coming. Life’s separation is so bitter and so hard to endure!
I think of when my son-in-law was sick, my daughter had to take care of him 24 hours a day. I saw her pain and exhaustion and my heart broke. When Alex became immobile and needed to go to the bathroom, my daughter had used a strap to help carry Alex on her weakened frame. She took one step at a time to the bathroom, that scene brought tears to my eyes! My oldest daughter had kept her marriage covenant, ‘in good or bad, richer or poorer, health or sickness, happiness or sadness, I will be with you.’ I recall asking her why she loved Alex. She said, because Alex promised me that he will take care of me with his strength and might for his whole life.” I couldn’t imagine it, but in the end it was my daughter who took care of him, to accompany him through life’s last journey. My daughter’s dedicated love is indeed very moving to me!
In fact, Alex’s bravery and persistence encouraged me. He was not afraid to die, one month before his passing he told us, “I will not give up, I will insist to fight to my last breath.” After hearing that, we were all happy for him. But one week later, his condition worsened, he said to my daughter, “I want to go to my heavenly home early, I want to rest in God’s bosom.” After hearing these words, I called out to God! I prayed to God to release Alex from his pain, let him live! I once asked God, why a perfect family had to be like this? Why didn’t you heal him? Why didn’t you listen to our prayers? But I knew that though there is no answer, God had absolute sovereignty over this. All I could do was to trust and obey, for God never makes any mistake, for He is the master of life, so lifespan no matter how long or short, our lives are in his hands. Jeremiah 29:11 said, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” Life is like taking a journey, it has a beginning and an end, all our lives shall end one day, yet this end is the beginning of eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believed in me, though die, shall live. All who believed in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) Thank God, because of Jesus we have the hope of eternal life. Death is but a temporary separation and one day we shall meet Alex in heaven.
My parents also left me when I was only seven years old. At the time, I felt helpless, I had no clue how to live tomorrow. If it had not been for God’s safekeeping, protection and mercy, what shall I become today? My grandson lost his father at age seven, but he has it better than me because he has many people who love him and will grow up with him. Hebrews 13:5 the Lord says, “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” He is our life’s assurance and our constant help! If it were not for God’s presence and comfort, I would have no clue how we can live through days like this.
Credit: Eng, Raymond. Edited by Angelyn Loh. Translated by Abraham Koo, Raymond Eng, 2020.