The Joy of the Lord is my Strength!

I could finally doze off once I received that scripture after a whole night of struggling with fear. It was Mother Mary’s birthday, 8 Sept 2021, we had our appointment cancelled in the last minute and we thought let’s still make the best of the day. I made the decision to happily finish my food despite struggling with difficulty in chewing (due to worsening of Myasthenia Gravis) for the past few days. As I sat down to have lunch, my mom called with the news that my younger brother had a stroke and was unconscious. That immediately sent me down the spiral of fear. I cried and started shivering the whole day through. We made preparation to get back to my brother as soon as possible.

The Joy of the Lord has indeed sustained me through this difficult time of losing my younger brother. The stress from this has also taken a deep toll on my health as my condition continue to worsen. As I try to make sense of the whole situation I came to realize fear was the main factor that may have triggered the thymoma in me which eventually led to MG. For that revelation, I am grateful. Balancing between regulating my emotions, taking care of my body, being present for my child and husband and at the same time fighting for my brother in prayer was quite exhausting. By the grace of God, he received the sacrament of baptism. Then on Saturday, a day we honor Mother Mary, my younger brother Bartholomew was called to eternal rest.

When the stroke happened on Mother Mary’s birthday, in the midst of chaos, a still small voice whispered hope in me. I could not put everything in perspective as there were just too much fear of losing my brother. On the day he passed, that gentle assurance came back. I knew Mother Mary is taking care of Bartholomew. When I found out that his funeral was going to be his birthday, 15 Sept, I knew without doubt he is in the safe care of Mother Mary. 15 Sept is the day we celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows.

Seeing his final resting face gave me so much of peace. He wore his signature smile and looked absolutely peaceful. With peace begins the grieving process. It is very raw at this moment and once again learning from my father’s passing, I encouraged everyone to grieve with gratitude. I certainly am going to do that. That process does not take away tears, rather grieving with gratitude elevate our praise of God. The loving memories become something we cherish. Healthy grieving is so important as part of our human experience.

We were best friends growing up and sometimes best fighting buddies too

God is seeding something in my heart – a desire to help people through an experience loss. Let’s see where this is leading. Dear friends, as you read this please pray for the soul of my younger brother, Bartholomew and I pray that you are immensely blessed in your journey.

With lots of love,
Irene

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