It rained that night.
The night he left.
It rained and rained, just like today.
It’s been raining all day, without ceasing. Sometimes the drops fall softly, but not always. Each one has a story to tell, and right now, they’re telling my story. Each drop reminds a person of something significant, whether they want to remember it or not. A year ago, I wouldn’t have wanted to remember. I would’ve tried to push it all the way to the back of my mind, not wanting to relive that night, the night he left. Today, though, I can remember. I want to remember so that I won’t forget.
As I said, it rained that night. I had just gotten out of the bathroom when my sister handed me the phone.
“Mom wants to talk to you,” she said, calmly. I nodded, and taking the phone from her, shook some drops of water from my still-wet hair.
“Sofia? Are you with your siblings?” her voice was unreadable. I couldn’t tell whether she was worried or relaxed, because there was no tension. Nothing. I put a towel on my shoulders to keep my hair from wetting my shirt, wondering if she was just going to tell me to go to bed soon, as usual.
“I’m walking to their room now,” I immediately went to the room across the hall, the room my sister and brother shared. I motioned for them to be quiet and sit beside me on the bed. “I’m with them right now.”
“Darling,” my mom’s voice was steady.
“Mhm?” I anxiously waited for her to continue. My sister and brother’s gaze never broke away from the phone.
Gone. She didn’t even need to say the words, yet I knew. My throat closed, and I felt the tears coming, I tried to swallow it down. Stay strong, I told myself. Stay strong for them.
I wasn’t that strong, though.
I burst into tears, and couldn’t stop. Worry filled my brother’s eyes, but my sister’s face held the same expression as when she had handed me the phone.
“Just pray, okay?” I barely heard my mom speaking on the other end.
“Okay,” I choked out, and immediately hung up. I covered my face with my hands and the sobs continued to come. I could feel the hole in my heart starting to form and the pain seeping into my skin.
“He’s gone,” I told my siblings, aching as I said it.
Tears shone brightly on my brother’s cheeks. His mouth was tight and firm, trying to hold back the tears, like a brave, little, soldier boy. He lost, and a stream of fresh tears came, and he tried to wipe them all away. My sister just stared numbly, still in shock by the news. Everything seemed to be falling and crumbling around us, the air thick with disbelief and made heavier by the pounding rain. None of us knew what to say to each other, but we did what the best thing was to do at that moment. I drew them both into a tight hug, and we prayed.
Outside the windows, the rain fell harder.
Days later, I was lying in bed, awake, listening to music. My body was still, but my mind was reeling. I missed everything about him, from his old, wide glasses to the way he sat on his favorite chair while watching a basketball game. Memories played on and on and on and on in my mind like a movie with no end.
My grandfather smiling.
My grandfather picking fruit from the tree in the garden.
My grandfather playing chess with my brother.
My grandfather letting him win, as usual.
My grandfather walking, slowly.
My grandfather lying helpless on the hospital bed.
My grandfather ——
I burst into sobs, drawing my body into a tight curl on the bed. I realized that I would never see his quiet, loving smile or hear him say “Mmm” every time I told him I loved him again. Every teardrop I shed seemed to be a waterfall. My pillow was soaked in tears, but I didn’t care. I closed my eyes as hard as I could. Everything felt black. Empty. Hard. Lonely.
God, it hurts so much, I cried. He’s safe in Your arms now, right? Everything should be fine, right? Lord, I need Your peace. I miss him so badly. I…
When the storm is raging all around me
You are the peace that calms my troubled sea
The song made me cry harder. I wanted to stop. I knew crying wouldn’t bring him back. I just wanted to go to sleep and forget for a while.
When the cares of this world darken my day
You are the light that shines and shows me the way
Lord, I want to stop crying, I bit my lip. Heal my heart, Jesus——
Be still. The words rang in my heart, mind, and ears.
I stopped and obeyed. My slow exhalations seemed to come from somewhere else, and not myself. I stopped thinking and moving. I just felt.
Oh, the beauty of Your Majesty
On the cross You showed Your love for me
Awesome and mighty
I’m captured by this love I see
Tender and holy
Your mercy brings me to my knees
The tears came again only, it wasn’t from missing my grandfather. An overwhelming sensation of peace followed after, and my shaking sobs slowed down to a steady breathing. The streaming tears trickled to a stop. I felt Him, and I loved Him.
I’d finally found it, in the midst of a storm.
It’s still raining now, but the rainfall is softer. I can remember him without crying anymore, because I know that He is with me always, and I know that I can find rest and comfort in Him.
A raindrop splashes onto the ground.
Here ends my rain story.