Death of a loved one: Have you lost hope?
My brother died last year in a car accident. He was my only sibling and a wonderful man. I had no chance to say goodbye to him. He had just had a baby and was a father to some great kids. And his birthday is today. On this day, one thing I wish to do is offer the following reflection on his behalf. It is for all of you who, like me, lost someone whom you loved and cherished.
The death of an immediate family member whom you love and cherish is a profound experience, a painful game-changer. It changes your basic understanding of life. It reveals that many "life assumptions" that you once took for granted are not safe assumptions after all. It makes painfully clear that you and your family, at least those your age or younger, will not - as you once thought - all be in this together till the end. We cannot know our futures, but can only live our lives today.
My beloved brother died young and unexpectedly. If ever there were a reason to believe in an afterlife, his death made it clear to me. (To non-religious people: I respect your concerns, but kindly hear me out.) My brother's death made clear to me that the point of an afterlife is this: To be reunited with those you love most. Life cannot just end; that view makes no sense. It may make sense biologically, but we humans are not merely biological beings. We are mental and spiritual beings as well. A loved person's biological death cannot be that person's utter end. (Does a life of familial love ended abruptly really make sense?) That view makes little sense if any, for with no afterlife there can be no re-communion with the fallen. We are not merely matter which returns to matter - we have minds and spirits too! No, I say, life must go on. It must indeed! This, at least, is the result of my heartfelt reflections over the past year.
Truly I say to you, biological death is but the beginning of new life. So have hope, all you who are hopeless, all you have endured great pain at the loss of loved ones. Have hope, I implore you! Have hope that after living an honorable earthly life - a life in honor of lives lost - you, too, shall come to share in the true joy of companionship with your fallen brother or sister, spouse, mother, or father. For we shall once again see our loved ones, but this time in a different place from the present. This is the place we call heaven.