By Raphaelita Karah Newton
In memory of my beloved brother-in-law Andrew Melvin Newton, of Nassau, Bahamas, who transitioned to heaven on November 1, 2017. Dedicated to his wife Shena Newton and sister Theodora (Dora) Newton.
What makes the sting of death so painful is that each time it's a different person. Sometimes death is expected and at other times it arrives totally unannounced. It comes to the old, middle-aged, young adult, child, and new-born infant. Death comes in various ways. There is only one thing that is predictable about death: it will come to each of us, if Christ does not return first.
With all we know about death, nevertheless, it is still painful. The fact that we will never again see that person's face on earth brings unbearable sadness to our hearts. The fact that we will never again hear that person's voice or laughter rattles our soul with an acute emptiness. Cry as we may, our tears can't take this emptiness away. It is only God's loving arms that sustain us and give us strength moment by moment in this storm called death. During this time, God may use family, friends, and sometimes even strangers to comfort us. So take and receive the comfort of others. Do not walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone. Know this that our Heavenly Father is always with you, my friend. Lean on God. Talk to Him. Shout at Him. Cry to Him, and receive His comfort.
Christ, family and friends are our comfort in death. Knowing that our departed loved one will be in our future one day gives us courage and strength to go on living. Loved ones who have left us were a gift from God. Let us focus on gratitude for the gift they've been to us. Let's forever cherish in our hearts the beautiful memories of that loved one.
Yes, of course, we will miss that person; that's only natural. Yet there is hope in our hearts that one day we will enjoy this person in the presence of our Saviour. Until then, let's (yes, I dare say it) enjoy our life as we know our loved one would want us to.
To gain a bit of perspective on the emotional upheaval that death leaves in its trail, let's look at the situation from another viewpoint: 130 years from now, none of us who are currently alive will be on this earth. This means that death (even though we do not like to think about it) is inevitable for each of us.
In light of that, let's strive to enjoy each other and enjoy our life. Let's be more loving, kinder, forgiving, reaching out, compassionate, and encouraging to one another. Let's visit one another more often. Let's pick up the phone more frequently to hear the voices of our family and loved ones. Let's rejoice, cry and pray with one another more. Let's surprise our loved one with a letter or card sent via snail mail, as some may call it, or maybe a short e-mail (not too many emails; our in box is full).
Let's also accept the love and the grace that God has given to us through His only Son Jesus. Let's open our hearts and minds to all the wonderful gifts that God has prepared for us, even in this life on earth. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to accompany us on the journey of life here on earth.
Take joy, my friend. God loves you.