“It Can’t Be True!”
“MAY 31, 1982, was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to clean up the yard. We had recently cut down the old Chinese elm, and there were still some sticks and branches left on the lawn. Then I remembered that our friend George had a mulcher that would make the work easier, so I gave him a call.
“George was an experienced pilot, and he loved to fly. So it was no surprise when he told me he was going to take some friends up and asked whether we would like to go for a ride. My wife Dianne and I decided that it would make a nice change after clearing up the yard. We took our three-year-old daughter with us. Maria, a lovely, bright child with dark-brown hair and eyes, was all excited.
“When we got to the airport, another friend was waiting his turn for a ride, so we all piled into the four-seater plane. We flew over the lake and headed for the mountains. It was beautiful. We looked out and saw the familiar landmarks. Some people were having a picnic on a hill. Maria was thrilled. Then, as we were going over the crest of the hill, the plane was caught in a sudden strong downdraft of wind. The engine stalled and died, and the plane fell from the sky!
“All I could think of was trying to get between my wife, who had Maria on her lap, and the seat in front. I never made it—the plane hit the side of the mountain.
“I tried to get up but couldn’t move. I could hear Dianne crying for help, but I couldn’t do anything. All I could do was yell for help.
“Eventually, emergency medical teams came to get us off the mountain. Although we had made a textbook crash landing, George and the friend were dead. The rest of us were suffering from severe injuries. Maria had head and internal injuries. My father-in-law had the painful task of coming to my hospital bed to tell me that she had died—it was a stab to my heart. ‘Why her? Why couldn’t it have been me? It’s not fair that a child like her has to die,’ I thought. If only I had not accepted that ride . . .
“Dianne was in a very bad state with a broken back. Three weeks after the crash, she also died. I had lost my baby and my wife at one fell swoop. I thought I had lost everything. How was I going to survive?”—As told by Jess Romero, New Mexico, U.S.A.
“My son Jonathan was out on Long Island visiting friends. My wife, Valentina, didn’t like for him to go out there. She was always nervous about the traffic. But he liked electronics, and his friends had a workshop where he could get practical experience. I was at home in West Manhattan. My wife was away visiting her family in Puerto Rico.
“I was dozing in front of the TV. ‘Jonathan will be back soon,’ I thought. Then the doorbell rang. ‘That’ll be him for sure.’ It wasn’t. It was the police and paramedics.
“‘Do you recognize this driver’s license?’ the police officer asked. ‘Yes, that’s my son’s, Jonathan’s.’ ‘We’ve got bad news for you. There’s been an accident, and . . . your son, . . . your son has been killed.’ My first reaction was, ‘No puede ser! No puede ser!’—it can’t be true!
“That bombshell opened a wound in our hearts that is still healing, nearly two years later.”—As told by Agustín Caraballoso, New York, U.S.A.
“Back in the Spain of the 1960’s, we were a happy family—in spite of religious persecution because of being Witnesses. There were María, my wife, and our three children, David, Paquito, and Isabel, aged 13, 11, and 9 respectively.
“One day in March 1963, Paquito came home from school complaining of severe head pains. We were baffled as to what could be the cause—but not for long. Three hours later he was dead. A cerebral hemorrhage had snuffed out his life.
“Paquito’s death took place 24 years ago. Even so, the deep pain of that loss stays with us to this day. There is no way that parents can lose a child and not feel that they have lost something of themselves—regardless of how much time passes or how many other children they may have.”—As told by Ramón Serrano, Barcelona, Spain.
These are just a few of the millions of tragedies that strike families all over the world. As most grieving parents will testify, when death takes your child, it is truly an enemy.—1 Corinthians 15:25, 26.
But how did these bereaved persons manage in the cases just quoted? Can a normal life ever be possible after such a loss? Is there any hope that we might see our lost loved ones again? If so, where and how? These and other related questions will be considered in the following articles.
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The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah