Today’s blog post is by a guest writer by the name Andrew Kiserema. Andrew runs the blog MAISHA NI SAFARI. He has penned a personal account on pain and suffering. May it be a blessing to you and your loved ones.
Pain and Suffering: Overcoming the Death of a Loved One
By Andrew Kiserema
We will all go through difficult, dark, and sad times during our mortal sojourn merely because we are flesh and blood. One of these difficulties will involve losing a loved one: be it a friend, relative, or colleague. Death can be cruel, abrupt, and painful to overcome. It shatters hopes, dreams, and life’s opportunities for someone. The only hope we can have in this life is that Christ died for everyone so that one day we can all rise again. My prayer is that the things that I will share with you will be able to help you understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one. I will share with you tips that can help you on your journey. Ultimately, the true healer of our souls that we should turn to is our God.
I still remember the date and time. It was September 24th, 2013 at 1:45 pm. This was a very difficult week for all Kenyans since we were all horrified and glued to our screens watching the terrorist attacks of “Westgate” unfold. My dad had been admitted at the Nairobi West Hospital just eight days earlier having suffered from severe burns caused by a bust stove. That week at the hospital, I met a former college classmate whose mom had been admitted too because of a slight injury emanating from the Westgate attacks. We consoled with each reassuring each other that God was in control of the situation.
My friend’s mom was discharged from the hospital. The first week at the hospital with my dad wasn’t easy. The burns were quite severe (65%) over his body; the only part of his body that was not affected was his face. He spoke with hope and confidence that he would be discharged! I had been living with him during most of my working life in Nairobi and this accident just happened 2 days when I moved out. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. At the hospital, I, my younger brother, and our mother would take turns visiting with him.
The next week things drastically changed for him; his condition worsened. He couldn’t speak anymore and it was at this point that he was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. I was working from 8-5 at Multichoice Kenya then, at their call center adjacent General Motors in Mombasa Road. I would leave work, board a bus, and alight at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout where I would walk to the hospital. My mom was with dad throughout his stay at the hospital while my brother would leave classes early at Kenyatta University to relieve our mother.
I had reported to the office at 8 am on the 24th of September. Just as I was about to settle at work, I received a call from my mom, and from the tone of her voice, she seemed to tell me that things weren’t so good. She requested that I leave work at that moment and make a quick dash for the hospital. I spoke to my line manager and permission was granted. This would be one of the longest walks of my life. As I walked closer and closer to the hospital gates I saw a sign that caught my attention. The words were from a Coco-cola advert that read, “today is the day”, after reflecting on these words I knew immediately that today would my dad’s last day in mortality.
Somehow, because of God’s love for me, he prepared me well in advance for the soon to be sad news that doctors would share with me. Having arrived at the hospital, the senior doctor that had been treating my dad called me aside. He explained to me that they had done all that they could and that they had lost him at “1:45”, they ushered me to his room to confirm that indeed he was NO MORE. I entered the room, uncovered his lifeless face, and confirmed the saddest news of my life… that my dear father, my friend was gone. Because I was a family member who had booked him to into the hospital, the doctors advised me to break the sad news to my mother.
My knees became weak and wobbly; I lacked the strength and the words to say to my mother. As I approached her she could tell that it was too late from the look in my eyes. She broke down in tears, she wept, she wailed, she was on the floor. This was such a difficult day. She asked herself soul-searching questions, “Who will take care of the children”? “Who will educate them?” The mood outside the hospital was somber. Once I broke the sad news to my closest friends, one of them sent their son to the hospital immediately to comfort me. A former colleague of our dad had been together with us during that day. He was like a guardian angel.
On Saturday, October 6th, we buried our beloved father. Many people from our village, the capital city and from abroad attended his funeral. Many were the promises that we were given to us that our family would be supported. Just a few days after the burial and in the preceding months and years, we realized that that was just “vanity”. The people that made those promises failed to honor them. The people that use to visit when they needed something from our dad forgot that we even existed. We were alone. The only person that stood with us was our constant God. He never forsakes us. My siblings finished university. I also finished school. This was only possible because of God’s intervention and mercy in our lives. It has now been 7 years since our father slept and not a day goes by that we don’t miss him!
The days ahead were not easy; I had a difficult time being alone in a room. For the first few weeks, I requested a trusted friend to live with me since my brother lived inside campus hostels. At work, I struggled to be productive; gratefully the company management organized for free counseling services. These services were very needful and helpful because they helped me to grieve and move on positively with my life.
Ultimately, I came to find greater peace and healing through my relationship with God. Let me share with you a few scriptures that we can all turn to when our days are dark and our friends are few. These verses have been profound to me especially when uncertainties approach. I would like to highlight some of the promises that God gives to his children when they lose a loved one.
- God hears and answers our prayers at his own time and in his way. (Proverbs 15:28)
- God is a restorer of that which we lost. (Psalms 23:1-6)
- God comforts us through the power of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:27)
- God’s peace passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6)
We are blessed to be alive to see a new day. Life is not easy; neither is it complicated when we put God as the center of our universe. We will face opposition, doubt, depression and all these will be for our good. We will develop greater patience, faith, trust, and love for others. I hope that you will truly appreciate your loved one, friends, and colleagues while they are still alive. The hardest thing is about life is that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Saying goodbye is never an option. Life is surely for the living. God has got our backs even when we feel that the universe has gone AWOL on us.