Sitting in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital I watched my brother lay comatose. I pondered if my life would ever be the same, if the future would grant me just one more day with my brother. My mom couldn’t even make it to the hospital that night; she couldn’t bear to watch him suffer anymore. The respirator was at 100%. My brother’s lungs were no longer functioning and his body had given up on him. I wondered if that meant that God had given up on him.
On that night I realized that I might not have another chance to see my brother still breathing. I closed the curtain around his small bed and stood at his side trying to think of what I could possibly say. It was then, facing my brothers’ death, that I ever felt so alive. That moment of goodbye was almost freeing. It liberated me of my emotional self-consciousness and allowed me to tell my brother how much I loved him in a way that I could never have done before. Yet, at the same time, I began to feel guilty of withholding my love for my brother in his health. I became angry with myself for waiting until now, a moment when I didn’t even know if he could hear me, to tell him how much I care.
That night I came home and prayed. I lay in my mom’s bed with my sister and all three of us told God that if it was my brothers time to go, to please take him and relieve him of his suffering. We prayed to my brother and told him that he didn’t have to fight for us, that if he was ready to go he had our blessings and our love. Letting go can be hard to do but sometimes it’s the only thing to do.
My brother didn’t die that night, or the next night or the night after that. Over time he healed and it became clear that God hadn’t given up on any of us. I believe that the moment I embraced my brother for everything that he is, and isn’t, I was able to let him go. If it weren’t for my brothers’ disease and his near death experience I wouldn’t be able to appreciate him now the way that I do. God really does work in mysterious ways.
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