The hardest goodbye of all.

For the second time in two months there will be another death in my family. No amount of preparation can truly render me ready for when that time comes, but it is coming. It is never a pleasant time.

Last month my sister-in-law suffered a severe head injury after a fall and despite the best efforts of the medical personnel involved, her condition has deteriorated to the point where the chances of her survival are zero, barring a last-minute miracle. I’d still like that miracle to happen, but the extent of her brain damage won’t leave us with the cheerful, bubbly personality that was once her. She is already gone. Breathing, still alive, but already gone.

This is the part where I’m confused. Oh yes, I prayed for her to wake up out of her medically induced coma and begin her recovery, but the opposite happened. Instead of getting better, she got worse, the same result of my prayers for my father. Instead of him getting better, he was taken from us. Oh yeah, I forgot. God’s plan isn’t always consistent with our wishes. He knows what He’s doing but as usual isn’t telling us exactly why it’s necessary for things to turn out like this. Who am I to question, let alone challenge, such authority and who knows what will happen when I dare launch such a challenge.

Last week my family paid my sister-in-law a visit at the hospice care facility to say our goodbyes. Sure, she opened her eyes when her mother started talking to her but she said nothing back, not even registering a smile. Hers was a blank, vacant expression completely void of emotion, completely empty of the cheerful, bubbly personality that was once her. Still, we talked to her, thanking her for a lifetime of memories while assuring her that her late father and all the dogs and cats that the family once had were waiting for her. It sounds like a very pleasant afterlife for sure.

Even as she continues fighting for her life, the family has begun preparations for the funeral and then for a new life without her, which will be a a very difficult one. I cannot begin to imagine the mother’s pain of losing one of her children. Your children are supposed to outlive you, not the other way around.

In any case, I’ve started on the eulogy I will deliver at the funeral, my second one in two months and already one eulogy too many.

What a way to end the year.

UPDATE: Hours after I wrote this post, my sister-in-law passed away. She was 54.

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