It’s never the news you want to wake up to in the morning…the news of loss. On Sunday by 5 a.m. I could see my phone flashing with multiple texts and what’s app messages informing me that Isaiah had passed away. First, I was too stunned to do much, and then I ran sobbing to my husband. Death is always hard, but when the person has barely lived 2 decades, it seems even more difficult.
While there is peace in my heart knowing that Isaiah knew Jesus, still I cry.
I cry for his twin brother, Isaac, left behind. I remember that these brothers lost their mom only a few months ago, and I search desperately to comprehend what that loss must feel like. I pray that Isaac can have an incredible sense of courage and hope. I cry for the football teammates, who must walk to the field everyday knowing that their friend won’t be joining them. I cry as I’m setting up a table of jewelry, touching each new piece and remembering that Isaiah’s hands made some of these things just 2 months ago. I cry remembering the day he came for an artisan job interview, when he was so eager to learn a new skill and yet his body was so frail. I think about him telling us he really wanted to learn to do the beading embellishment on the wooden spoons we make, and I realize today he’ll never get that chance. I cry when I remember the days he was too weak to work when we would encourage him to rest and to eat.
I remember the noble attempts of one of our volunteers to get him good medical care and to make sure every day he was getting something nutritious to eat. I am grateful for our staff who delivered him food every week, who tried to help him get stronger, and who took him to doctor’s appointments. I’m frustrated that all these things didn’t help, and I ask myself a lot of questions about what could have been different and what exactly happened. I hate that I remember checking his work one day and telling him the earrings he made weren’t quite the right length. But in spite of that, I’m glad because tonight I could clearly picture a day in January where, even in his weakness, he picked up Ellis and had a huge grin on his face as they sat playing together. That memory is the one I’m going to etch in my mind, along with the one of him running around on the soccer field a year ago. I choose to remember his smile, his joy, his humbleness. I choose to remember his presence every Saturday when the team gathered to sing praises to Jesus. And I choose to remember that even though his life was tragically cut short, heaven has opened wide to welcome him.