I was eight years old when I lost my grandfather at the age of 65. My family is very close knit and this was a big blow to all of us.
I remember kissing Nanu’s cold cheek and bidding him farewell. But something inside told me this was not a permanent goodbye. I always had a fervent hope of reuniting with him one day. Every time we visited the graveyard, I cried at not being able to see him, touch him, talk to him; but deep down, there was always a confident knowledge that I was going to see him again. In expectation of this eventual reunion, I’d think thoughts like When I see Nanu again, I’ll ask him about the time he was chased by a gang of armed robbers, or When I see Nanu again, I’ll reprimand him for not getting his kidney operation done in time. As I grew older, however, I adjusted to his absence.
After Nanu’s death, my grandmother, Nanna, was the heart of our big family, and now she too is gone. When she died recently and we gathered to clear out her house, I ran my hand over the quilt on her bed and couldn’t stop weeping. At church, I would find myself looking at her regular seat and asking Jesus, Why?
As the weeks passed, the pain became less raw, less constant, but it was nevertheless always there. Until one day I caught myself thinking, When I see Nanna again, I’m going to tell her how much we’ve all missed her. I’ll give her that hug I couldn’t at the hospital …
And that’s when I realized that the promise of eternal life isn’t just fit for the childish wishful thinking of an eight-year-old, but that it can comfort throughout life. As Christians, we have an undying hope and faith that death is not the end. God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth so we could have eternal life with Him. All we need is childlike faith to believe God’s promise.
I don’t know exactly how the relationships we enjoy so much on earth will continue in heaven, but I know that eternal life with God awaits us. Death is the door we pass through to reach it.