‘Honey what’s wrong?!’ He started crying. ‘Nick passed away.’ I could see his pain.’: Brother-in-law’s sudden passing brings family together closer than ever, ‘I’m here, bud’

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“April 8th started off like any other ordinary Monday, the kids went to school, Ryan went off to work, and I went to the gym to teach two classes. 

After the gym I went home to get ready and run some errands when to my surprise, my husband is walking into our bedroom. Before I could greet him with my typical hug and kiss or tell him how excited I was he was home early, I knew. I knew something was wrong. My heart started to sink. 

You see, in the 15 years we’ve been married I’ve only seen this expression on his face one other time. Immediately I asked him what was wrong. No answer. Again , I said, ‘honey what’s wrong?!’

He started crying as he told me his dad let him know his brother Nick had passed away. 

Courtesy Tracey Ferrin

I quickly wrapped my arms around him as tightly as I possibly could without suffocating him and just held him. He cried. He cried some more and all I could think to tell him was how sorry I was. 

I could see his pain. I could feel his pain. I so badly wanted to take it all away from him, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew this was just the start of his grieving process and I knew I needed to let him go through it. 

I kneeled at his feet as he sat on our bed and asked him what he wanted to do. He said his parents were headed over to his brother’s house right now. I asked him if he wanted to go as well. 

Off we went on one of the quietest car rides we have ever had together. I drove and held his hand. I prayed that he would feel his saviors love and arms around him. No, I begged that he would. Please please let him feel your love! Please wrap your arms around him like a warm blanket. Please help me stay strong for him. 

We arrived at Nicks home, we were greeted by his roommate and the police officer. Ryan was composed and asked questions. 

We weren’t allowed into his home just yet. But we had already decided we would wait for his parents and other brother and his wife to arrive so we could enter as a family. 

Finally, everyone arrived. We all embraced each other with hugs and tears. I’ve never seen my mother in law or father in law cry the way they did. 

All I could think was keep it together for them. Let them cry, let them feel, support them. 

As a family we all walked into his home. Will, Ryan, and Sharlene went into his room where he laid, Sharlene cried. She was sandwiched between her two boys. Not by accident though, they knew they needed to hold her. I stood back witnessing this and let them have their moment. I didn’t want to interrupt. As sad as it was, there was also a sweet tenderness I felt watching them hold their mother like that. 

You see, it wasn’t all tears. We all laughed as well. It went kind of like this, cry, cry, laugh, cry, cry, laugh, cry, cry, smile. Feel bad for laughing but also understand that even in the saddest moments, there is still reason to smile and laugh. 

Nicks kitchen was pretty dirty. The guy could cook but boy did he also make massive messes while doing it. Like hello volcano eruption! 

While we waited on the funeral home to come pick Nick up, the brothers did Nicks dishes and we watched. I mean, two men doing dishes together deserves an audience! 

My in-laws Bishop (also personal friends) and his wife showed up. The funeral home showed up. And a set of missionaries from our church showed up. 

It was time. Time for Nicks body to be taken way. Ryan assisted the guys from the funeral home in getting Nicks body prepared to leave. Sharlene wanted to tell Nick goodbye, Ryan held her once more. 

On the car ride home, he told me he wanted to help move his brother. He didn’t know why but he just wanted to. I think it was his own way of showing respect and love, for one of the last times, to his brother. I think he needed to do that. As his wife standing there watching him do that, my heart broke. 

Ryan and I hadn’t yet told the kids. We didn’t want to tell them before we left only to leave them alone for hours. So, we decided we would tell them once we got home. It was late. But we rounded them up. I could tell Fayth knew something was off. She is really good at reading people and she was reading her father and me. 

In a choked up voice and with some tears, Ryan let them know. They were all sad and cried. I held Fayth and Noah. Ryan held Elly and Bubba being Bubba, sat there and cried in silence as his dad put his hand on his shoulder, as if to say, ‘I’m here bud.’

As I reflected on today, I didn’t know how I would release the hurt and sadness. All that came to me was to type. Express in words what you witnessed and felt today.

Journal a day that in so many ways, is so sad and heart breaking, yet in so many ways provided sweet tender moments of love. 

Courtesy Tracey Ferrin

As a family we pulled together to lift and support one another. Each dealing with it in our own little way and in the best way we knew how. 

Courtesy Tracey Ferrin

I have no doubt in my mind we will continue to love and support each other as a family and each individual as they work their way through the grief. 

Nick, you will be missed. We are so happy you are now pain free and no longer suffering in a body that is sick. We will continue to tell your stories and all your crazy ideas and big dreams. We will remember you well. 

Till we meet again…”

Courtesy Tracey Ferrin

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracey Ferrin, 36, of Houston, Texas. Follow her journey on Instagram hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Tracey here: 

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