As many of you know, last week was perhaps the hardest week of my life. What was supposed to have been a fun birthday week with family and friends, including a much anticipated out of town trip with my daughter, took a FAR different turn than I could have ever dreamed possible when I received a phone call that turned my world upside down. A phone call from an emergency room worker at a hospital who told me that my brother had been in a serious car accident and was not expected to make it and strongly urged me to get there as soon as possible. I hung up the phone in disbelief as tears filled my eyes. How could this have happened? I had just spoken with him the week before and we had such an incredible conversation. How could he not make it?
I raced home and quickly made travel arrangements and threw a few things in a suitcase and frantically headed to the airport.
All the way there, I prayed. I prayed for a miracle for Bobby. I prayed for comfort and strength for the family. And I prayed that God would walk with me into that hospital room because I was so devastated and unsure of how I would handle the pain of seeing him on life support.
From the moment I had received the call, it felt like a bad dream—one that I had desperately hoped from which I awaken. However, the moment I saw him lying there in the hospital bed with all of the machines surrounding him, it was no longer a dream but a horrific reality and one that I knew had an inevitable ending.
The next two days blurred together as Bobby began to slip away and the time came to say goodbye. My heart was broken. How was I supposed to say goodbye to someone whom I had loved and prayed for my entire life?
As I held my brother’s hand and saw his face for the last time, I can only describe it as God’s presence and His peace surrounding me. In the middle of my pain, God reached down and gave me the strength, the courage, and the comfort to carry on—to carry on in planning a funeral and even to carry on in singing at his funeral which was the hardest thing I have ever done. Through it all, God so lovingly reminded me that:
In our most desperate moments, God sees, He cares, and He is with us every step of the way.
Today marks a week since my brother passed away. There’s so much that I am still processing from the last 9 days. But here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about quite a bit:
- Life isn’t guaranteed. None of us are promised tomorrow that is why it is so important to know where we stand with God today. I’m so thankful that I know without a doubt that my brother is in Heaven with Jesus. I know this because he prayed and confessed his sin and asked Jesus into his life to be his Savior. Was his life perfect? No. None of us are perfect. It’s not about being a good person, going to church, or trying to earn our way to Heaven. It is only through having a personal relationship with Jesus that assures us of going to Heaven when we die. And what comfort it brings my heart to know that because Bobby had a personal relationship with Jesus that I will see him again someday!
- Live with no regrets. Another thing that I am so grateful for is that as I think about my relationship with my brother, I do not have a single regret. I always tried to be there for him, encourage him, and cheer him on. His very sudden and unexpected death wouldn’t have given me any time to fix things had there been problems or missed opportunities. It just completely reminds my heart to not leave anything unsaid or undone and to savor every moment I have with those around me.
- Look for the good. It’s hard to find any good at such a heart wrenching time, but one thing I will always cherish is the fact that 9 people accepted Jesus as their Savior at my brother’s funeral. Those 9 people now know Jesus and have settled where they will spend eternity when they die. What an incredible legacy…one that Bobby would be so proud of.
- Let go of the pain. One of the most difficult things over this last week is trying to figure out what to do with the pain. It comes in waves. One moment I am fine and the next moment something reminds me of him and sadness fills my heart. But I’m finding when I think about him being in Heaven where there is no pain, no tears, no sickness, no struggles, and no death I find great comfort and strength and can start letting go of the pain. The truth is my brother had a very hard life full of heartache and struggles and what keeps coming to my heart now is that he is finally free!
On our flight home my daughter looked out the window and took a picture of the clouds. As I looked at these clouds and thought of Bobby, I truly believe God spoke these words into my heart:
He’s free from the sorrow, free from the pain
Free from the hurt, free from the shame
Free from the worry, free from the past
In the arms of Jesus
Free at last.
So, Bobby, you walk those streets of gold. You enjoy every moment in Heaven with Jesus. You celebrate that there’s no more pain from the past because you are FREE AT LAST! I love you always and look forward to the day when I will see you again!
Robert Dunn III
June 17, 1970- September 22, 2016