The reaper struck again.
It has been more than a month since my cancer-stricken sister-in-law died. Her battle with the disease since arriving in the country last January 1 lasted 85 days only. She expired in a clinic in Silang, Cavite almost midnight of March 16, 2018 apparently from cardiac failure. Earlier at dawn on the same day, she was rushed to De La Salle Hospital in Cavite when she started grasping for breath after the standby oxygen tank ran out of oxygen supply.
Everything happened in a whirl. I just wrote about her condition in my January post. We did not think her passing on could happen that fast. Doctors at Asian Hospital gave her one year to live, but we had high hopes she would pull through—that what she was going through was but a test she would eventually pass.
She did not make it.
Since her passing, I had not lifted a finger to hit the keypad. I decided to take a hiatus from writing and just gather my thoughts.
Oh, how fleeting life really is. One moment you are just talking animatedly with a loved one. Another minute you see that same loved one as a mound of ashes. Gone was the smile, the laughter, the signature smirk, the chattering. Watching the cremated remains – all that was left of the once beautiful woman I knew, I sighed and acknowledged how little time indeed we have in our earthly tent.
No one is exempted from the cup each mortal has to drink. My brother-in-law, during the service at the wake, shared a story how people who queued to view the remains of a departed person just seemed agitated every time they took a peek inside the coffin. Then one curious person decided to see for himself what caused the agitation. To his surprise, he saw that on top of the dead body was a sign bearing these words:  Me today, You tomorrow!”
Words that ring true, but we all tend to ignore, dismiss or worse, deny. This is one reality that will hit home as surely as the earth spins on its axis. But we live as though it won’t come, don’t we? Morbid as it seems, attending wakes has a positive effect on us.
Why?  It makes us ponder on the brevity of our life.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2
While death indeed is the destiny of everyone, yet we have hope that it is not the end. One day soon, believers can join the chorus, “Where o death is your sting? Where o, death is your victory?”
Hebrews 4:12 says it all:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Christ) too, shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who has the power of death—that is the devil, and to free those who all their lives have been held in slavery by their fear of death.”
As my beloved hub puts it, “Death is but a change of residence.”
A much better one than what we have now.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3