“Why I No Longer Ask ‘Why?’ after My Brother’s Death,” Liahona, Dec. 2018.
The author lives in Salta, Argentina.
When I received the news that my brother, Sergio, had died, I was in my room studying and Mom was reading emails he had written us just the day before. He told us that he was happy to be serving a mission in Chiclayo, Peru, and to be a representative of Jesus Christ. He told us of his love with so much enthusiasm that our smiles were inevitable.
Moments before receiving the call from his mission president who gave us the devastating news, my mother and I listened to a song my brother loved. Suddenly a strong feeling of peace flooded the whole room. The Spirit was so intense. We even shed tears because the warmth and the feeling that overcame us were so real that no words can describe it. And just 10 minutes later, the phone rang.
Mother and I listened to my father respond to all the questions that he was asked. We knew if the mission president was calling, something serious was happening. Then we heard Father respond, “There must be some mistake. This cannot be happening.”
I asked what was happening. That was when Dad answered us, his eyes full of tears, his voice hoarse: “Little Sergio has died.”
I cried bitterly, asking myself again and again, “Why, Heavenly Father? Why do we have to go through this? Isn’t a mission supposed to be the safest place in the world?!”
In spite of having the gospel in our life and knowing the plan of happiness, there seemed to be no consolation for our anguish. I knew that only our Heavenly Father could help us in our circumstances.
That night, in a moment of clarity, I ran to find my scriptures because a passage from the book of Alma came to mind that my brother had shared with us several weeks before he passed away. It says, “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak. … I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption. … But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; … I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life” (Alma 29:1–4).
I understood then that my brother wanted us to know that he was alive and was with us in spirit, but that he had left this life because he had been called to preach in the spirit world. He wanted us to know that his absence would be like an extension of his mission calling—just another transfer, because he loved being a missionary, and the most profound desires of his heart had been fulfilled: to be “an angel” of the Lord. He could dedicate himself completely to the work of the Lord, to declare unto every soul “repentance and the plan of redemption,” the plan of happiness.
Although he is not physically with me, I still feel my brother’s presence. I no longer ask, “Why, Heavenly Father?” because the answer is clear and profound: “the Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:8).
As a family, we have poured out our hearts to God, and we have found consolation thanks to the gospel. We know that this is a life of probation and that our spirits are eternal.
Through the hope of the infinite love of our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, we know that all things are possible. Thus, even though our understanding is still incomplete and in this life we cannot yet see all those whom we profoundly love, thanks to His life, we know that this is but a momentary, temporal circumstance.
It’s been just over four years since Sergio passed away. I admit that even now the sad days and the tears continue to appear from time to time, because I miss the presence of my beloved brother. But my heart overflows with gratitude when I remember that this is but a temporary situation. My hope is that finally, one day, we will meet again and reunite with our eternally happy family, forever and ever. This is greater than any pain I have to bear now.