I was nine when he came into our lives. He got that fair complexion that we, the older siblings, wished for ourselves. We thought he was the most good looking among us and our emotions were mixed. Gadiel never understood that we were sort of envious that he got genes mostly from Mom (peace, Pops). He never had the chance to brag and kid us that our skin was darker or that our noses were the common ones among Pinoys.
Celebral? Cerebral? It was a struggle to get the word right everytime I tried to mention it to my friends. I found it confusing in my teen years and letters L and R make me stammer. Friends came over our house and I was hesitant to introduce Gadiel to them not because I was ashamed of my brother’s condition. I was ashamed that they would see that I was not a very good sister.
I thank God that our parents made sure that we siblings took our turns caring for Gadiel when he was still a baby. Somehow, I feel vindicated that I did some of my responsibilities. But it pains me knowing that when we got older, I should still have taken good care of him. Fed him, gave him water to drink, helped him sit for a short while and probably sat next to him while he tried to enjoy whatever TV show was on. I should have tried to communicate with him even when he could not say a word or move his facial muscles or his arms and hands. I do not remember having told him, “I love you, baby brother.” I HOPE I DID.
When I learned the news of his going home to heaven, one of my first reactions was to ask God for his forgiveness. I felt guilty and beyond sad as a sibling and as a daughter to parents who lost another child. God has a good reason why He took Gadiel back in 2016. Same as, He had a good reason for giving Gadiel to our family in 1996. And just like what Pastor Don said in one of the services, through Gadiel’s life, we learned how to say thank you to God for each moment that he smiled and laughed. We learned to pray and believe for healing. And, we learned to be compassionate with children or families who have the same situation.
Lord, I believe that Gadiel is up there in the heavens with You. And now, he lacks nothing. He doesn’t need to ask You for anything. He sits, stands, walks, jumps for joy, overwhelmed in Your glorious presence. He praises and worships you with his words and songs. He is mindful of You as You are of him. Thank you, Lord. We choose to glorify You even in mourning. Thank You for healing our hearts and souls. In Jesus’ name we believe. Amen.