Becky Arvan

Riga, Latvia

The Goodbye I Always Feared

“If you want to see your grandfather alive, you need to come now.”

I was with my mom when we got the phone call from my uncle.  My grandfather was dying of heart failure, and he didn’t have much longer to live.  We were on a plane the very next morning, hoping we would arrive in time to say goodbye.

I had always lived in fear of that phone call.  My grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life.  We spent most of our lives living in different parts of the world.  Although many kilometers separated us, I loved my grandfather and I knew he loved me.  When I was six years old I remember having to say a painful goodbye after one of my grandparent’s visits.  Because we lived so far apart, it would be years until I saw them again.  Before heading out the door, my grandfather knelt down and said to me, “Even though we live far apart, we will always be together in our hearts.”  That became a term of endearment for both of us over the years.  Now I was getting ready to say my final goodbye. 

After many layovers, my mom and I arrived at my grandfather’s bedside.  His eyes lit up when he saw me, even though he couldn’t speak.  Two days later, surrounded by his family, my grandfather died.

At the funeral as I watched his casket being lowered into the ground, I kept thinking, “This is not right.  This is not how it should be.  We should not have to experience death.”

As we drove home, I sat in the backseat of the car staring out the window.  I couldn’t believe my grandfather was gone.  Suddenly, I experienced great hope as I thought about something he had taught me many years before.  Jesus.   Joy flooded my heart and a smile broke out across my face.

Jesus too experienced grief over death.  He lost a close friend and at the graveside he wept.  But Jesus also said, “I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again. Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again.”

Because of Jesus, I know that death is not the end.  Jesus didn’t want us to experience death, either, and he did something about it.  He died the death we deserved so that we could live as we were always meant to.  I know that one day I will see my grandfather again.  And we will never have to say goodbye.

Are you fearful of death?  Are you grieving?  Contact me through my profile if you want to know more about how Jesus’ death can give life and hope in the midst of loss.

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