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When The Dust Settles

When the dust settles all I hear is silence. The music has stopped playing. The laughter is gone, the smiles have disappeared. The sky has lost its color and the days are lonely. The once bright future looks dark and cloudy.

When the dust settles, reality sets in. I don’t like reality. Everything that was once blurry has now becomes clear. The thoughts swirl in my brain of whether I did what was right by Shyra while she was sick. Could I have done better? Did I do what was right given the situation and circumstances? Did she know she was dying?

When the dust settles, the memories that once felt like a bad dream are now very very real. Did all that really happen in such a short time? Why wasn’t I better prepared? Why didn’t I speak up? I honestly thought Shyra could win this one.

When the dust settles, all the skeletons that were shoved down so deep, come creeping and crawling back up. Nobody is perfect, but when the image of perfection can no longer be upheld, which is what happens after a death like this one, the truth becomes very raw and very real.

When the dust settles, I want to scream from the rooftops to anyone who listen: “You didn’t know the half of it! You weren’t there when everyone else had left! You saw only what they wanted you to see!” What happened behind closed doors is a trauma only a handful of us experienced. I couldn’t do anything about it because time was running out! And the truth is, if I had chosen justice over love, her last days would have been wasted. Shyra needed and wanted love, only love. And that’s what I did. That’s what we all did. We loved her through it all.

When the dust settles, the aftermath of the deadly battle is visible, appalling and heart wrenching. Every day during her 5 month fight with cancer, there were difficult choices to be made, but as a family, we chose love over “being right”. Shyra’s last days were hard enough, if we had done what was right, it would have doubled the hardship she was already experiencing. I heard this from a sermon by Erwin McManus last week and he said “don’t use your religion as an excuse to be blind to the needs of humanity. It is always better to do good than to be right.”

Shyras needs outweighed it all. To put aside “doing right” and choosing to love was the only way forward. This meant dealing with the internal trauma that her sickness brought up around us and to those involved. As I stayed focused on the good, all my personal desires faded away and she was all that mattered.

When the dust settles, the curtain is drawn back, and the fairytale is revealed to be nothing but real life: gritty, imperfect, and messy. Shyra always lived a fairytale life. She chose that path. Even though her life choices resulted in pain of many forms, she chose to live a fairytale at work, in her marriage, and even throughout her battle with cancer. She wanted to focus on the good, especially when the pain was unbearable. If you really knew her, you would have seen the pain in her eyes long before cancer took over.

When the dust settles, the greater good begins to make sense. The “why her”, “why now”, “why this way”, “why so soon”, are all puzzle pieces that begin to fit together in a grand realization that even though we were robbed of a long life with Shyra, God chose to rescue her from a life of hardship. Her untimely death was in fact a gift. It was a rescue. God looked down and saw one of his angels suffering. And I’m not talking about cancer. The suffering began long before. And he loved her so much that he was willing to bring her home. Home to a life with no more pain, no more tears, no more heartache. He gave her the fairytale ending she was waiting for: Heaven.

Of course I would have chosen different if it was up to me. I would have selfishly wanted her with me. And I’m still not ok with living this life without her. But in hindsight, I see God’s mercy, protection, and divine intervention in a young life in need of a rescue. This realization doesn’t make her loss any easier, but it does take some of the weight of grief off of my shoulders.

This is written in perspective and pain after the loss of someone so dear to my heart. When the dust settles, the pain is more difficult to navigate because the truth of what really happened can no longer stay hidden. Losing my younger sister in this way is a tragedy I may never recover from. This loss is a heavy burden to bear.

I may not ever truly understand why bad things happen to good people. But as the dust begins to settle, I have faith that it will gradually begin to make sense, layer by layer, as I am finally ready to face the trauma of Shyra’s tragic death.

And that, my friends, is where the healing begins.

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