At 5, Uri is increasingly becoming contemplative of songs he listens to.

“Daddy,” he began once, “I heard a song say: Loving can hurt.” “Loving does not hurt!” He was disagreeing to Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph“, which was in our car music playlist.

“Let’s see,” as I helped him with his query, “did you love Goldie, Eyeball, Move & Freeze?” These were the kids' first kingyo pets, goldfishes that died of fungus infection just recently.


"How did you feel when that happened?"


"There you go. Sometimes, when people or things that we love are taken from us, we feel sad. So, I guess the song is right, that 'loving can hurt' sometimes."

What a coincidence that Uri would get curious with this because we did not just lose goldfishes recently, we lost a loved one’s battle with a virulent disease.

My brother had been taken ill by a very aggressive tumor outgrowth, which had been taken out last year but had grown back. His biopsy tested negative at first, but it was really cancer. So, for the family, we had long been in a cancer and COVID crisis.

Last July 23 was Mom’s 79th birthday, and we had been coordinating and planning for her special day, when two days prior, my brother flatlined as a result of his worsened condition. The doctors were able to revive him at the hospital and stabilize him for a time, but his body remained very weak and he remained in agony.

Still, God gave my brother the strength to hang on and join Mom’s virtual birthday party, allowing us also to extend our prayers and encouragement to him. He held on for another two days before finally breathing his last.

As her song is sung from far and wide, Mom prepares to blow her candle, virtually.

Loving can definitely hurt. A lot sometimes.

But it was during this crisis that God taught us the value of time and relationships, even allowing us to experience His grace in the midst of sorrow. He gave us the opportunity to really appreciate and nurture our family, to give our mother a most meaningful and heartfelt tribute despite our physical separation, and to honor – personally and collectively as a family – our brother before his passing. We continue to take comfort that while he has physically left us, he is now fully healed and full of joy in the presence of our great God.

Cancer and COVID are dreadful, but I am convinced that none of these can ever be what many call the Big C. That will always be Christ, and Christ alone. He alone is the Conqueror of sickness, the Conqueror of the death, the Conqueror of sin.

However bleak, God is in Complete Control over all this chaos, and He indeed Causes all things to work together for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

“I raise my hands and praise the God who gives, and takes away.”