Who Comforts Us…
By Rosane Pereira
They say that one of the deepest pains of the human heart is the loss of a spouse. It happened to me when I was only 37 and my husband was 42. We knew that his family had a history of high blood pressure, and he was starting to keep track of his blood pressure and look into preventive treatments, but we never thought it would hit him so early.
He’d had a busy day, and in the middle of the night he started vomiting. I called the ambulance and went with him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed as having had a mild stroke on the right side of his brain. But the doctors said that he was young and would pull out of it with time. But after a few days, he had another stroke and went into a deep coma. He had to be operated on to relieve the pressure caused by the blood buildup in his brain, but this time the doctors told me he would not walk again and would have difficulty talking. My heart sank, but I asked God for strength for the future, and kept going. I had a small business to run and seven kids to take care of.
A few days later, while taking a nap, I had a vivid dream where my husband came home and walked into the living room with that shining smile of his and told me: “God told me I could leave that hospital room anytime I wanted, so I chose to leave!’’ I woke up very happy, thinking that the dream meant he would be well soon. Then, when I came into the hospital for my afternoon visit, the receptionist took me aside to a small corner of the reception room and told me he had died at midday. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity and prayed for the strength to finish raising my children well, even without him.
It must have only been about 15 minutes, because as I looked back into the room, I saw the receptionist waiting to take me to see the body. I touched my husband’s cold body, but somehow I felt he was still close by. I thanked him for a wonderful life together and asked for his forgiveness for all my blunders and lack of consideration, to which I felt him saying, “Shush! It’s all right! It was all forgiven a long time ago!”
My brother-in-law flew in from Buenos Aires the following morning. We arranged to have his burial in San Miguel de Tucumán, their hometown in the north of Argentina. It happened that their 84-year-old mother was also in a coma for about a month, and the doctors didn’t know what was still keeping her alive. At night, my brother-in-law called me and told me she had passed away during the time he was in Foz do Iguazu with us.
Then, I called my mom with the news, and she told me she had had a dream the night before where she saw a handsome young man calling out to his mother: “Mom, come, don’t be afraid! Come!’’ She didn’t know about my mother-in-law being ill, so it was nothing short of a supernatural dream. She was calm and consoled me about my loss. “Life goes on” were her last words.
The next day, I took the plane with my seven-month-old baby girl and my husband’s body as cargo and went to Buenos Aires to meet many of my in-laws, and from there we would go together to San Miguel de Tucumán for the burial. On the plane, one woman made conversation with me, and upon hearing the motive for my trip, started to bless me and say: “God and the Virgin Mary will be with you and give you strength to raise your children well. You will be fine in the hands of Jesus!”
On the next plane, I sat by a middle-aged woman, also traveling alone. After hearing my story, she told me she had lost a son recently of a heart attack. We held hands and shed tears together, but somehow, these were tears of consolation, of the acknowledgment that tragedies can happen to anyone, but that we still had others here on the journey with us.
Arriving in San Miguel de Tucumán, we were joined by many other relatives and friends in a car procession. Then we walked through the beautiful garden-style cemetery, and when my husband’s body was lowered into the ground and we threw in handfuls of earth, all the tears that had been held back poured forth from my eyes, as from a deep well.
God has never let our family lack in any way through all these years. The presence of my dear husband and the father of my children is still with us; his pictures are on our walls, and his wise teachings, cheerful spirit, and happy songs are in our family gatherings and memories.
Truly, I have experienced what the Bible speaks of in 2 Corinthians 1:4: “Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort others who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” And I realize how faith in God and hope in the afterlife are crucial for finding help in difficult times!