After a difficult few weeks, we were finally able to lay my brother to rest. We held a small, private funeral in accordance to the directives of our state (New Jersey). I consider it a blessing that we were able to do so, despite the different hurdles we faced.
When I first started processing the loss of his life, I just kept reminding myself that Tyrone was in heaven, the most amazing place that he could ever be. I shared this process in a previous blog that you can find here.
I pondered how it was there for him in Paradise. Was he reunited with someone new today? I wondered what his days consisted of, and what he was doing in the moment he ran across my mind.
I continue to be curious about what his life in eternity is like.
I found these types of thoughts more comforting and healing when I’m reminded that he is no longer on earth with us. I’d rather think more about what he has gained, instead of what we have lost.
But in my human nature, there is still a major connection to his earthly body. We had grown up together, and I knew him as a living, breathing soul. I had countless pictures that I had been poring over since he left us. There were images from his life that included baby pictures, family portraits, and social events – the memories went on and on.
After we completed his interment, I knew I would never see him that way again. I wouldn’t hear his voice or look into his eyes again, and that hurt. That was how I knew my brother – his body and his soul.
His body was his physical manifestation, and his soul controlled how he used his body – what he said, how he acted, the silly way he danced, his unique gait – all of those characteristics that collectively made Tyrone the man that so many of us loved.
When I try to reconcile never seeing him again down here, I think about the movie Avatar, and how the human characters operated a special body to function on the planet Pandora. Humans couldn’t exist in Pandora’s atmosphere without operating in a specially-designed body.
Then I thought about David’s words in Psalms 139:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (verse 13)
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (verse 16)
Indulge me for a moment – in my imaginative mind, as God was creating Tyrone, I picture Him placing my brother in his avatar – his human body that God knitted in my mother’s womb – so Ty’s soul and spirit could live here on earth.
And now that he has returned to his Creator, he no longer has a need for that physical covering. His body is the proof that he lived and walked on this earth.
We were never meant to stay here. We were always only passing through this life.
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. (Hebrews 13:14 NLT)
Praise God that he has made it to his forever home – he beat me again. A childhood neighbor posted a funny memory about us racing as kids, and how I got mad when Tyrone beat me, and he didn’t let me forget it. I won’t be able to forget that he beat me this time either.
But the good news is that we’ll be reunited one day at the finish line. And oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
As believers, we have the blessed promise that we will see our loved ones again in heaven. But we still have a connection to their physical memory, which affects our grieving process.
As we walk through the journey of loss, whether it’s been 20 years or 20 days, let’s not only focus on our loss, but offer thanks to God for what our loved ones have gained – a new home and eternal life in Paradise with our Savior.
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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