Some of you may have heard about the tragic accident that happened to Isaiah Simao, the nine-year-old son of a pastor's family we are friends with. I wanted to share this post his oldest sister wrote and posted on Facebook this morning with you all.
Our dear dear Church family, friends, and loved ones,
A few of you have heard the latest news on my little brother. Last night and today, for hours and hours on end, the doctors at Harborview performed all of the scans necessary to determine Isaiah’s brain activity. He has no brain activity. He is still currently on life support, and his hands are warm as we press them, his forehead is warm as we kiss it, his little heart is still fluttering beneath the bandages and tubes. But his brain is not functioning or responding at all. He cannot feel anything, and so is not in any pain. Nor was he even in pain yesterday, on the ground in our arena, when he was still struggling to fill his lungs with air, all on his own.
Our family and many good friends were able to see him again today. We sang hymns together over his bedside. His favorite is Nothing But the Blood of Jesus. When we have our morning Bible times and it is his turn to pick the song, that is always his favorite request. We sang it for him tonight, and many other songs, crying, and praying, and holding him close. Maya played beautiful songs on her violin for him. He always loved music so much. He knew all the composers and soundtracks to his favorite movies, and often times we would hear him plugging away at his cello in the bedroom before he came out to breakfast in the morning. The same couple notes, again and again and again, scratchy and shaky as these were his first couple weeks, but he never gives up.
Many of our family and friends were able to say their last goodbyes this evening. My parents are spending one last night with him, before my siblings and I join them again in the morning to spend the day with him and say goodbye. We want to offer tomorrow afternoon for anyone who would like to visit him in his last few hours on this side of his glory. Tomorrow evening, we will be turning off the machines. Tomorrow will be the best day of Isaiah’s life.
This time is unspeakably hard for all of us. There are no words. There is only a dull, weary ache in every part of our bodies and souls, and sometimes, this sharp, sudden pang as the needle of reality pricks into our hearts. The painful realism is sweeter than the dull ache, but God is with us through every moment. There are so many things I want to say, but all that comes out is broken sobs, and a screaming in my soul, and the thought: I miss you. I miss you. I love you so so much, little brother.
We are so thankful for the time God gave us with our sweet Isaiah. We kept telling stories of him and sharing memories in the hospital around his bed. There was much laughter and tears. He is such a sweet, caring boy to all of us sisters, offering us his seat and putting his arm around his little sisters when they were frightened. He has this dry, literal sense of humor and liked to share jokes with us he “made up himself.” Tonight during dinner, my siblings and I remembered as many as we could, and never have we smiled more from them.
Looking back, we can see the hand of the Lord preparing his heart for these very moments. Lately, he has been so interested in learning all he can about heaven. A few weeks ago, during family worship, he said very suddenly, “I can’t wait to die.” We all just sat there for a moment, looking at him in sadness and confusion and wondering what was going through his mind and heart to speak those words so suddenly. We told him that it is such a good thing to look forward to heaven and an eternity with Jesus, but that we must enjoy and be grateful for all the time He gives us here too. He just kept smiling and saying, “I know. I know. But I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go to heaven. I wish I could go there soon.”
It is moments like these that bring us to our knees before the Lord, knowing that from the very beginning, He has been working a very special gift in Isaiah’s heart. Some of his favorite books are the Chronicles of Narnia, and his favorite character in these stories was the brave mouse, Reepicheep, a heroic knight. In the last book, Reepicheep leaves Narnia, and goes to Aslan’s country. When he gets there he says, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”
On the last page, Isaiah had a very favorite part that he liked to tell to us. It said: “But the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they lived happily every after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Our Dad was sharing at his bedside about a time a few weeks ago, when we went to Port Gamble as a family. The kids were full of energy and he set up a race across a grassy field, to a tree and back again. All of us kids got ready, and when Dad called we took off running. Isaiah was lagging behind a little and we kidded him after that one of his little sisters got in a few paces ahead. Now this is the race that Isaiah wins before all of us. He gets to the goal first. He will wear the victor’s crown and receive his reward and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come enter into the joy of your Master.”
God was not surprised by Isaiah’s accident. From the beginning of time, He had counted and ordained each of Isaiah’s precious moments and has loved and chosen him from before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Pastor and theologian, Ian Hamilton put it this way: “The best proof that God will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.” The Bible says in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” His love for Isaiah was the same before creation, as it was at his birth, and now in these last hours, and it will be the same tomorrow, when my little brother sees for the first time, the God who has always seen him.
Death is a terrible, terrible thing, and we are right to grieve, for it is a part of our broken and fallen world. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We are in a story that is to big for us to see, but God is the one who is writing each page, and who is constantly reminding us, that this is not how the story ends. There is a final battle, in which death will die, and all sad things will come untrue. The King will return. This is the shadowlands. Real life hasn’t begun yet.
The apostle Paul said in Romans 8:18 that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
Sometimes, in our pain, God lies the scales from our eyes, allowing us to see past the transitory things of this world. To those who don’t know Christ, joy is temporary and pain is fundamental. But to the one who trusts in Jesus, pain is temporary and joy is fundamental. All these things will pass away. We look back to a Cross where pain and death and suffering were defeated, and look forward to a day of triumph when that victory will be made complete. Death and pain will be no more. And there will be no more tears.
We do not serve a God that is just a sovereign author over a cosmic story. We serve a God who, while remaining the Author, became a Character and entered into His story. He walked with His creatures and spoke with them, He healed them, He rejoiced with them, and wept with them. He became flesh and dwelt among us.
This is God’s answer to all evil and pain. He does not stand aloof, nor does He try to understand or attempt to sympathize with our grief from afar. He takes our pain onto Himself. This is the God who Authored a Story where He bleeds, and He dies, and He lives again; where He becomes a Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief and suffering; where He not only sympathizes with our weakness but takes them onto Himself.
This is the God who takes up all of the sin and sickness and pain and death in this world, and He swallows it whole by letting it swallow Him. Our King killed the Dragon, by allowing the Dragon to kill Him.
Mary and Martha did not weep alone at the grave of their brother, and neither do we beside ours. God weeps with us.
But He weeps as an Author with a great and wonderful plan, and He promises to direct all things to an ultimate and victorious end. He is all-good, and never, never, does evil. His ways are perfect, and when we cannot trace His hand, we may trust His heart. He does no evil now, but instead, reminds us that He has conquered all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and He promises that He will come again, to deliver us from evil into eternal joy and glory. Isaiah will be there waiting for us there, as we cross the Jordan and see him again.
He gets to spend Christmas in heaven with his King and Savior, who came to this earth at Christmas with Isaiah in His heart and perfect plan. As we enter this Advent season, beginning with our day of Thanksgiving this Thursday, we are so blessed in clinging to that promise. As my Daddy said through tears tonight, “We have so so much to be thankful for. This will be the best thanksgiving ever."
Isaiah’s story is not over. It is just beginning. It is us, in our grief, who must remain for a while longer in the land of the dying, before we can meet him again at last in the Land of the Living.
“In God’s great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power, until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuine of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
Thank you all for your love and prayers during this time. God’s love is with us, Isaiah, and each and every one of you. He holds us all and will never let us go.
With great love and in His bountiful mercies,
Sydney, for the Simao Family
Please continue to pray for this family, as well as all of us who had the incredible blessing to know their precious son. My younger brother, William, took this news really hard since he was probably the closest in our family to Isaiah. I can't imagine how difficult it is for him to reconcile himself to the fact that he will never get to play with his friend again.
Thank you to those of you who have been praying and continue to do so. It's greatly appreciated. <3