Over four years ago, on an early Saturday morning at 3 am, my brother entered my room and woke us (my sister and I) up. He gave us a big hug and softly whispered a sentence I will never forget, ” papa passed away.” I broke down in his hug. I cried. I was devastated. My brother never ceased to comfort us and strengthen us. He said Kim, I got your back, and I’ll be there to keep guard of mom, tea and you. Everything will be okay, he assured. That moment is definitely a life changing one. It changed our plans and next steps in life. But more so, it changed us personally and together as a family.
At the age of 19, the age when someone is to grow into a man, he grew without having a physical role of a father to look up to. At the age of 19, the age when most guys are at the climax of their roller coaster ride, he had to take on the pressure of leading a family of 3 ladies. At the age of 19, the age when most young adults are making mistakes, he thought to himself that he only had a little room to fail, as he didn’t want to disappoint. Maybe you thought, oh, it was such a hard time for him. True, to some extent. But I am sure he grew through it all. He grew into a 22-year-old man who owns up to his mistake, into a man who is full of love and thanksgiving, into a man who cares more about others more than himself.
Exactly a week ago at around this time, I was sitting in the emergency care unit by my brother’s pale body. My mom was there. My sister too. I don’t know what to say or what to do. I can only cry and wept together. It was difficult to see the goodness at times where it seemed like there is no goodness at all. It was difficult to find strength in the midst of our weaknesses. It was difficult to hold on to a hope when there seems like there is no hope. I cried to God. “Why? Why, God, why?” I asked. Truly, there are many things in this world we are yet to understand, but there are some things we just don’t. As I reflect back the different things that happened in my life, it was very tempting to ask, God, where is your goodness in all these? Then in my quiet time, I read Psalm 34. It was a psalm written by David after he went through different tribulations in his life. And through it all, God sustained him. It says, taste and see that the Lord is good! In his difficult time, David cried out in praise and believed that the Lord is good. Maybe we don’t see it now, maybe we won’t see it ever, but I was assured that in all seasons in life, God is still God, and God is still good. This keeps me still, knowing that He knows what’s best.
Friends, whatever problems you are facing currently, let us surrender it all to Him who is all-knowing and all-powerful. When you are troubled and everyone told you to be strong, know that it is okay to be weak, for He is the only source of our strength. Let us together learn to see things like He does. Though it doesn’t make sense sometimes, let us continue to hold on fast to our faith and hope in Him. He is faithful and He will never fail. He is God and He is always good. Be still as you rest in this knowledge of Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
//an open letter written to Dellen Subianto
Up until this day, I am still shocked by the news that you are no longer with us here on earth. Just last week after you went back from your business trip in Singapore, you were very excited and enthusiastic about your future plans after graduation. There are many things that are yet to be done together this summer. But there are also plenty of things that I can be thankful for throughout the 20 years I’ve lived with you. Ko, you’ve been such a great brother to me and Tea. You’ve been such a lovely son to mom and dad. And you’ve been such an amazing friend to many of us. I’ll miss you so much, bro.
I will never forget the time when I’m just sitting in laughter as I watched you and Tea cuddling together. I will never forget the time when we get to go out together – pigging out bakmi agoan, enjoying reflexology at Nano, yeah, just having out own good times. I will never forget the time when you forced me to play NBA just because you need someone to play with, and we had fun anyway. I will never forget the time when I was just frustrated looking at our one-way conversation at whatsapp. Ahh, you’re just that bad with social media. And most of all, I will never forget the joyful brother you are who never cease to smile.
You’ve taught me to live by the moment, to not worry too much about the tomorrows in life. I learned a lot from you, from how you’ve grown with the little guidance you have. It’s crazy. We all will definitely miss you. Everyday. Each and every day. The 22 years you’ve lived are not a life wasted at all. Thank you for impacting me in so many different ways.
You do not have to worry. We will continue to encourage and support one another. Well, the three of us, mom, Tea, and myself, will probably be the next Charlie’s Angels, or Powerpuff Girls if you’d like to call us that. Hahaha. But in all seriousness, you need not to worry. You need not to be scared. We have God. A God who is much bigger than any problem this world can give. A God who is all- knowing and all-powerful. A God who is faithful. He never leaves us 4 years ago when dad passed away, and he won’t leave us now. Or ever. So don’t worry bro, God is with us.
Ko, know this. We love you more than you know, and we believe in you more than you believe in yourself. We are all proud of you, and we love you so very much! Now go have fun partying up there with God and of course with dad. This ain’t a goodbye. Till next time, bro!
Your little sister ❤
Rest In Peace, Dellen Subianto.
12 December 1992 – 30 July 2015