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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

A final goodbye to a good man. He beat COVID, but then died suddenly.

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”

I never understood how that phrase, or its derivatives, brought peace to the shattered remnants of hearts broken by the untimely death of a loved one. Then, in late August, my wife’s older brother, Scott, died.

Yesterday was his 54th birthday.

“He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.”

From mid-April through May, Scott survived a nightmarish struggle with COVID-19, including more than a month in the ICU and three weeks on a ventilator. But he survived, tested negative and transferred out of the hospital. Beginning in June he worked to make steady, but significant progress in his rehabilitation.

Then in late August he aspirated on some food. His swallow reflex, weakened by a prolonged period on a ventilator, did not properly clear his throat before he drew a breath. Scott did not die from COVID-19, but it certainly contributed to his death.

“Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread”

Scott’s death was not just unexpected but struck like lightning from the clear blue sky after the storm had already passed. It seemed like the sport of an indifferent Greek god rather than the act of the benevolent Christian deity in which our family believes.

“Are big with mercy, and shall break, In blessings on your head.”

In time, between bouts grief, anger and despair, memories of happy moments forced smiles and laughter to bubble through tar-thick sadness. Retelling humorous anecdotes and cherished stories gradually began to heal the abscess his loss left.

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