Coming home from school on a Friday is usually something that makes an overworked high schooler incredibly happy. On Sept. 23, 2011, Friday evening got a whole lot more complicated for my family. My brother, sister and I had just gotten home from school when we received a missed call from a long-distance family member. Mrs. Cindy was not biologically related to us, and neither were her kids, but we had been raised together and were as close as any family could be.
Her voice was not above a mere whisper when she told us that her son, Dillon, whom we all knew as a brother, was in the hospital. He had suffered a brain aneurism that morning, and she had been trying to get ahold of us all day. Without a second thought, we packed our things and drove eight hours, from Illinois to Alabama, to be with them in the hospital. Before we even made it there, Dillon had been pronounced brain dead.
This moment shook my family to our very core. Dillon was 19 years old when this happened; he was still a teenager when he was taken off life support. He had just graduated high school the year before, and now he was being buried. None of us knew how to process this news, and we certainly didn’t understand why God would take Dillon when he was only 19.
Dillon was a Christian, and he lived every day of his life serving God and showing others the light that God had shown him. At his funeral, less than a week later, the pastor talked of how we could see Dillon again someday: “Even though Dillon is not in this world anymore, his spirit lives on in heaven.” There was no doubt in any of our minds that he was right.
Dillon lived his life with a light and passion that could not be explained through any other means. He hadn’t had the best time growing up. Life was hard for him, yet he lived each day with a passion that could only come from God. The pastor talked about this light and that there was no doubt in his mind that he will see Dillon again in heaven.
The death of my brother was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, but I know that I will see him again someday. There will be many people who will see him again someday. I know this because at Dillon’s funeral, 28 people accepted Christ into their hearts and their lives. They wanted to live with the same light that Dillon had, and so they did.
When Dillon died, it caused a lot of pain. He was too young, and he had a lot of people who loved and cared about him. Knowing that he is in God’s hands — and dancing on streets of gold — is enough to bring me peace six years after his death.
Amber Wibbenmeyer is a student at Greenville University and a writer for theodysseyonline.com.1