He’s dead, nothing will bring him back. The world has now changed and it will never be the same. Because, he won’t be in it. The birds sing but I refuse to hear them, the wind blows but I refuse to feel it, the scent of the funeral bouquets float on the breeze but I refuse to smell them. But I do see! I make myself see the simple wooden casket in front of me. He loved the smell and feel of natural sanded wood, he said the grains and colors told the story of life. He doesn’t have that anymore, life, it was cruelly stolen from him, stripped away piece by piece, day by day until he gasped his last breath. I taste the tears that run down my face and moisten my lips, yes I do taste those!
I’m the last one to leave the gravesite; I can’t bare to leave him alone. The pastor walks up to me, giving me a hug.
“He’s with Jesus now in Heaven to live eternally with no pain, and no sorrows.” I just nod and hurry to the Limo.
Bitterness wells up in my heart. He’s not alive anymore, we just put him in the ground. He’s dead in a box. Just like Jesus, dead in a tomb, end of story. My anger refuses too accept any thing else.
At the house everyone has gathered, the tables are loaded with food. People are sharing memories of him. I don’t want empty memories; I want him here with his family! Someone gives me a plate of food and encourages me to eat; I walk away and set it aside.
I escape to my room and throw myself onto the bed sobbing uncontrollably. Who knew mourning was so exhausting. I welcome the fatigue and embrace the weariness that drags me into slumber, hoping the blackness will erase the memory of his death, if only for a moment.
I think I see him in my dreams smiling down on me but it's only an illusion, I wail. The landscape changes; darkness fills my mind with the scent of decay and the feeling of wretchedness. Suddenly everything changes again, I feel claws digging into my flesh trying to keep me there in the black void but I'm drawn away…
We hide behind latched windows and barred doors, terrified they will come for us too. Night has finally fallen and still nobody has come, but fear sits on our shoulders and I tremble at every sound. I’m numb and broken, what happens now, how do we move on?
“Why, Why, Why, did they drag you away, you had done nothing wrong! You were innocent and pure, loving and compassionate. You had such a quality about you that touched everyone whom you met. That is why they, the pious deceivers feared you. People listened when you spoke and the pious ones didn’t want to loose their power over the people. So you were savagely beaten, but the brutal beating was not enough for them.
Anger builds in my heart, cowards! That’s what we were, we let them take you. You told us violence begets more violence, so we didn’t try to stop the beating. Didn’t try to stop them parading you through the streets and didn’t stop them from murdering you! I try to close my eyes and all I see is the blood dripping from your ragged flesh, anguish rips at me. You told us things would happen but you couldn’t have meant this horror.
The ones I’m with encourage me to eat, but I decline even the tiniest morsel. I am not hungry because sorrow has filled every part of my being, it is infinite. Even creation mourns at your death. Tears fell from Heaven, the earth trembled and the skies darkened, so great was the pain.
As I lie here in emotional agony I see your face, your words echo in my heart, I will try to fulfill all you’ve asked of me but without you here how can I? Your words give hope, yet I am hopeless. You taught love and yet I hate. And you taught the importance of forgiveness, yet here in this room, in the darkness of the night I have none. As misery taunts me I fall into a restless slumber.
We are awakened at dawn by the banging on our door; we fear those who took you are here now for us. I peak out and see one I know, so we open the door.
“They’ve taken him! They’ve taken him!” She falls to her knees crying, “Have not they done enough! Why must they also steal his body?”
I rush past her I must see for myself, others run with me. When we get there, we see for ourselves that your body is gone. Is there no end to their cruelty!
In sorrow we walk back down the road. A few others are there discussing something they heard, I start listening for they piqued my curiosity.
“They saw him! They spoke with him! He’s alive!" One said.
“What nonsense is this? You saw his tortured body, you saw him die, there is no way he could have lived through that.” I shout at the one speaking.
Suddenly you appeared within the midst of us,
“You are foolish, foolish children. Why do you find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in scripture? Wasn’t it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering into his time of glory.
When he appeared I fell to the side of the road in fear, he turned and sadly smiled at me,
“Why are you frightened? Why do you doubt that it is really I?”
Speechless I stared into his eyes; I see his great love for me. But still my mind doesn’t want to believe. Sorrow had a strong grip on my heart and didn’t want to release it.
“Come, look at my hands, look at my feet. You can see the wounds from the nails. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost. For ghosts do not have bodies, as you see that I do.”
The others went to him and touched him. Joy replaced their doubt. He sat with them and ate with them and told them of the Holy Spirit he was sending to them. All the while I sat where I’d fallen and watched. I felt as if I was out of place and I already knew this had happened.
After they had eaten, Jesus came to me and we walked together.
“You have let mourning and sorrow take over your life, forgetting the words I have spoken onto your heart, you know me and you know that death is not the end. You have no need to wail in despair at death. ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me though he die, yet shall he live. You are one of my sheep, as is your brother, I have given unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anything pluck them from my hand.”
Tears pour down my face as I look into the eyes of my Lord. I feel the sorrow and hopelessness I wallowed in leave me. Jesus takes my hand and returns me home.
I wake filled with joy, the sadness is still there, but I know one day I will see my brother again. I have the promise of Jesus;
‘I go and prepare a place for you; I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.'
Death is not the end of the story, it is just the beginning of the next chapter.