We are Family
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” ~ John 16:22
I lost my cousin 4 years ago. It was tragic. She had just had her first child 9 days before. She was young, full of life, and she was like a sister to me. We grew up together along with my siblings and my little cousin. We were at each other’s home several times a week, sleepovers, all the birthdays, holidays, and family vacations. We had a period of time that we weren’t as close mostly because I was too cool for school and busy with my social life. But we always reconnected and now that we were adults we were able to really lean on one another.
I was in a class at church that morning when my little cousin (her sister) called me. We didn’t know any details other than she went into cardiac arrest. Her husband wasn’t answering the phone. I didn’t know what to do but one of my teachers said that I should go. She had tears in her eyes and that was my first suspicion that this wasn’t good. I called my mom, sister, and brother coordinating getting to the hospital and stopped in the chapel to pray. I asked that she just be ok.
I met my mom and sister and we drove the hour to the hospital. On the way my brother said he’d be there before us and would keep us posted. He stopped answering texts after saying he was pulling in.
Once we got there we parked and walked into emergency. We said who we were looking for and the nurse stopped what she was doing, picked up the phone, and whispered something into it. They opened these metal doors and there was my brother standing in the middle of the room, his eyes red. With tears flowing down he said “she didn’t make it”. I fell to my knees right then as he swooped to catch me. I don’t recall that ever happening before. We got the chance to say goodbye in a small curtained off section of the ER. I prayed over her and begged the Holy Spirit to breathe life back into her. But she was gone.
The thing is that we had several tragedies that had led up to this. We lost my uncle four years prior, and my aunt a year after my uncle. All from the same family we spent our lives with. My little cousin who is honestly the strongest human I have ever known and will ever know - lost her entire family in the span of 4 years. It was unimaginable. Between the grief and having young children with extra needs I felt alone. Alone in my full home, alone in the full church, alone in the full world.
I felt alone. Alone in my full home, alone in the full church, alone in the full world.
A few months before this happened my husband and I were looking for a second home. We had gone to see one in Harpers Ferry, not far from where my cousin lived. She and I talked about how I would bring the girls up to the house on Fridays and she and her child would meet us. We were so excited that our kids would grow up together just like we had.
While she was pregnant, her anxiety was really high. She kept telling me that her cats were acting weird - similar to how they were just before my aunt passed. I assured her that it’s just that they knew there was new life in her. Then the day after she had her baby, I visited her in the hospital. When we were alone she started crying and saying she was scared that something bad was going to happen to her. We hugged, I again assured her everything would be ok and then I talked to her husband about having her checked for postpartum depression.
She was telling me her truth and I brushed it off in order to avoid what it all might actually mean. But, there’s no way God would take her as well, right?
But He did. I allowed the darkness to fill me. I was comfortable because I had lived there for so long. I wanted the wave of grief to crash down and encompass my loss and the dreams that I had dreamed that weren’t coming to fruition.
My cousin accomplished a lot in her 34 years. We were blessed that she was a writer and we can google her articles on the internet when we missed the sound of her voice. Her goals in life were to get married, buy a house, have a child, and be published. Within the span of the 4 years of tragedy after tragedy - she checked off each item from her list. Last (but most importantly) having her sweet little girl.
What I have learned is that it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be furious. It’s ok to be angry and furious at God. While He didn’t make this happen, he allowed it to. But God not only understands our emotions but He also is large enough to take it. The anger I felt, the helplessness I felt and the incredible urge to run, hide, and pretend was so strong it pulled me into a confining grief. It went from my losing my best friend to my entire being and life feeling shattered.
I am able to see through it better now. I see her life as amazing as it was. I see all that she accomplished and how much of an effect she had on those around her. I still miss her so much and I always will. I believe that she helped me to confront these feelings. That just like in life - she had my back. I could talk to her about anything and she’d support me. Her intercession in my life and just recognizing how we can go home without any warning was enough to encourage me not to give up. Not to give in to those dark feelings. They still come at times but I wave them away as best as I can. Her death almost killed me but also gave me new life. I would have gotten here with her living but I was able to reach the light with her encouragement even in her death.
Her husband and I have talked about her last hours and came to find comfort in that the last thing she did was kiss her husband goodbye on his way out to work and held, fed, and sang to her daughter before placing her down and laying down for some rest herself.
She has a beautiful little girl who has her mother’s curls and her father’s smile. She is a testament to love. We always want our children to be near us - including our own Father in Heaven who calls us at all ages and stages to come home. When He does we will grieve, we will rejoice in their lives, and we will remember.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
About: Sosie Matosian resides in Virginia with her husband, three children and two dogs. She has her degree in Biblical Studies from University of Northwestern with additional emphasis and certificate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is passionate about sharing her faith with others and brings a personal perspective to the struggles one might face in their journey walking to and with Christ.