Being Open to Love After Death

On Febuary 19, 2009, my beloved 17-year-old cousin passed away after being struck by a train. My family’s life changed forever. Adham was a lot younger than me and closer in age to my sister, but family ties kept us close. I loved him dearly and will always miss him. Yet, his death did change my life in miraculous ways. It was with this tragedy that many of us in the family decided to turn towards love. Adham was very close to my sister, but our family has always been close, so it affected us all. I loved him a lot.

Adham was with his “friends” the night he was killed. They saw the accident happen, but chose to leave him there—struck by a train—until he was found in the morning. I didn’t understand how “friends” could leave him. They did not call for help, notify parents, or check to see if he was alive. They were childhood “friends” that just left him to die. I couldn’t bear it, and I was really angry. But eventually I realized that at some point, I had to forgive them because the anger would only consume me. I was at a low point in my life and knew that I needed a change.

At that time my days consisted of work, online classes, and partying a lot. Through Adham’s death, I realized that I was on the verge of dying myself or killing someone else with all the reckless driving and poor decisions I was making. His tragic death woke me up. I didn’t want to be responsible for causing another family pain; nobody should feel the pain of losing a young loved one. If his childhood friends had left him, how much easier would it be for my party “friends” to leave me in my time of need? Who would be there for me, and who could I count on if he couldn’t even count on his friends in his last moments? These questions moved me because I realized that I could very easily be alone, and frankly, I was in a sense. I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted to live and I wanted to love.

So, I began to change. I worked on my relationship with God and really looked at the decisions I was making. I had been coping with Adham’s death in all the wrong ways. I had been seeking love in a bottle and in the pleasures of going out. I was not seeking real love, and I was not loving myself.

Then, in walked Jimmy. I didn’t want to let him in at first, but death always makes you think of your own mortality. I wanted my life to count. I wanted to choose the path to love. I couldn’t continue to deny the love that Jimmy, and God, had for me anymore. As I got closer to God, I opened up to Jimmy more. In my relationship with Jimmy I felt fulfilled and grateful. For the first time, I really felt loved and accepted. It started to become easier to make better decisions—like ditching the party scene and cultivating real friendships. I let Jimmy in the more he guided me into a closer relationship with God.  Jimmy helped me to cope with Adham’s death and pushed me closer to a relationship with Christ.  My party “friends” also left me as I changed, which made it easier to ditch the party scene and cultivate new friendships.

Jimmy has helped me become who I am today. He was my companion in the journey–and he will always be, because he is my husband now. Adham’s death could have closed me to love, but instead I let it open me to love. As a result, I was finally able to feel God’s presence in my life through Jimmy’s love. In the most beautiful way, through death I found life, faith, and love.

R.I.P. Adham Brenes 10/13/91 – 02/19/09


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1 Comment

  • Remembering adham. My daughter went to school with him. She talks about him often. RIP. The Santiago family

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