I had been mourning the anniversary of my Mother’s death all day on Friday, October 3, 2011. She had died just three years before. Anniversaries and holidays of any kind are so very hard after a loved one has passed away; especially when it is your Mother… I had been grieving all day.
Two of my children and other family members came to the door on that Friday night, to tell me about my brother Jim passing away on that Friday, October 3, 2014 – he was 67 years old – but was and forever more will be one of my “babies.” I helped to take care of him and our other brother when they were little, and the shock was just about too much for me to endure – it was like an arrow went straight though my heart.
First it was shock, and then disbelief, and then remorse and then out right anger. Who was responsible? Why had he been taken so quickly? And so many whys… this and that why. I lost my husband very tragically after being sent home from the hospital too early – six years ago in 2008 – the pain is ever with me – and then I lost my mother three years ago on October 3, 2011 – yes 3 years to the day when Jim died… We lost our father more than 30 years ago after a tragic event in the hospital that cost him his life… so you just want answers when you know they are gone – you want to know why, why, why?
Jim took a violent headache that could not be eased about two weeks ago and went to the ER… he was admitted… test after test – and his condition was getting worse by the day – they discovered that he had Myeloma cancer – a rare cancer that is of the bone marrow and blood. He was on oxygen and many, many medications…they sent him home with oxygen because low platelets causes you not to get enough oxygen in your blood. They felt his outcome was very favorable with chemo.
The oncologist was impressed that this was early and totally treatable… Jim went to the oncologist and was given a chemo shot – not IV, pill, or radiation on Friday, October 3, 2014; and then sent to the hospital for two bags of platelets and then to the ER for a shot of insulin….they barely got him back home.., exhausted… and was home only a short while when he died. Our younger brother tried giving him CPR just as he had that day three years ago when our mother died in his arms…very tragic for him.
To tell you the truth I was mad at God for a while – I felt He should have taken me since I am older and don’t have a lot left to give…he had everything – a wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law and six small grandchildren…. mine are all grown.
All that night I could not sleep or eat the next day; or see very well with eyes so swollen from the tears – if it is true that God keeps our tears in a bottle, then He must have a big one with my name on it. I was in a daze all day long trying to force myself to believe that I had been dreaming…. it just could not be real!
I tried to pray… I tried to think… and all I could do was have “Jimmy thoughts!” All I could do was remember so many things in his life tumbling into my mind until they were tumbling over each other.
Had nightmares all night last night, Saturday October 4 & 5; and thought it would never become day…I kept looking at the window to see daylight… and when I did I saw more than daylight showing through my window, I saw “the light.” I saw the light of God’s love and His tender mercy showing through my sorrow.
I woke up with the only prayer I could pray… again I asked, “God, why? Why?” And I guess God had enough of me asking that and as clear as a human voice in my room, my heard:
“Hey, I rescued him… He was in a burning building, and I rescued him from that body of his which was like a burning building, and I placed him on higher ground where he would be safe. I set him free from pain and suffering – I knew that chemo would not save him, and he would have had to endure so much more. I brought him to Myself; away from all that pain and torment.”
Then I began to thank God by saying, “Thank you God for doing what none of us could do – You helped him shed his old painful body like an old discarded suit of clothes. He stepped right out of that old body… and out emerged the real Jimmy – his body was not the substance of who he was…that body would have held him on earth when his soul wanted to be free…I realized that we are not a body – it is just housing for our spirits and souls – the body holds them hostage until they are set free.
Our bodies are the product of our parents in DNA and kinship, but our souls and spirits are made in the image of God. That is who we really are, and we belong to God.
God just took Jim’s soul and spirit and moved them from one house to another… a better and permanent/eternal one. Our earthly bodies limit us and confine us, but in a new existence – we are set free… set free eternally.
After my husband died, I asked for a sign that he was with Jesus and he gave me two – a dove flying at night and a rainbow over my house with no rain in sight…I knew that I knew.
And without even asking God for a sign regarding my brother, Jimmy, He sent me a special message on Facebook through my niece – she posted a devotion for October 3, the day he died…. it was taken from James 4:10 – Jim’s name was James… it said, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
Jim was one of the most humble men I ever knew, and God lifted him up on October 3, 2014. Our Mother died on October 3, 2011 and was buried on October 6, 2011 – the anniversary of the day our Father had died… and Jim died on the same day as our Mother… See her story – “A godly woman, a faithful son, and an ole yeller dog.”
That is not all of the story… my oldest sister had a dream even before Jim was in the hospital… she dreamed she was on a beach and watching a boat come to shore when it got closer she recognized our parents in the boat – both deceased – and she said in the dream our mother reached out her hand toward her and she started to get in the boat when our godly mother said, “Not now, this time we came for Jimmy; we will come back for you later….” Wow
That is not the end of the story still….I later went back on Facebook and God sent me the verse to substantiate what He had told me about rescuing Jimmy…. she posted – Isaiah 46:4 “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will RESCUE you.” I have often heard that when God speaks to you, He will also confirm what He says… He told me in the morning that He had rescued Jim and later in the day my niece unknowingly gave me the scripture to verify that. Peace flowed over me like anesthesia before surgery.
When a celebrity dies from a drug overdose, is arrested and put in jail or some other antics – that is all we hear about… it is time for us to honor those who lived good lives and who were heroes in the background. One of Jim’s sons wrote on Facebook a description that describes him so admirably….
“Dad was the strongest man I’ve ever met, and the foundation of our family. We owe everything we have and will have, to the way he brought us up and the life lessons the he taught us. Treat others as you wish to be treated, if you don’t have to work for it, it’s not worth having, you get out of life what you put into it, always do what you say you’re going to do and ALWAYS respect your Momma. He lived by this and required us to live by this. We will forever love him, and not a day will go by that we won’t think of him.”
He was a real superhero and celebrity the kind that matters for generations to come….
And then another posting on Facebook was: “The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of the pain, thanking God during the trials, trusting Him when we are tempted to lose hope and loving Him when He seems so distantly far away. At my lowest point, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength… at my saddest – GOD IS MY COMFORTER.”
Thank you God for being patient with me and answering my prayer of:
Thank you God for allowing me to be “big sister” to Jimmy and for all the love and joy he brought into my life and the lives of countless others…..