The following is an excerpt from an email I received today. It's written by my friend Rosa, who just buried her sister, Carleen.
Rosa is a Native woman who lives in the Alaskan village I visit each summer. Carleen moved to Fairbanks a while back, but she was in the village last summer and even ate dinner with us one night. Carleen was a hoot!
She was found frozen to death the day after Christmas.
I know by experience the pain of losing a child, but I cannot fathom the grief Rosa (and what's left of her family) must work through. May the Lord break your heart with the things that break His as your read Rosa's story:
"There were five of us girls - Lucy, Janice, Ruth, Carleen, & myself. We had 3 brothers - Carl, Patrick, & Richard, but all passed on as well - all due to alcohol - very very sad.
Our dad died in 1985 with cancer of the stomach - possibly due to his many years of abusing alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Our oldest brother Carl died in 1974 (at 23) - he was in the Army and out in Germany - he was in a jeep that ran into a cliff - he died instantly - I was only five but I remember kissing him on the cheek and feeling his cheeks was like touching cold clay, he had on so much makeup.
Our next eldest brother Patrick (23)went through the ice going up to the liquor store 12 miles up - him and our cousin George Solomon. They recovered their bodies - thank God. Our baby brother Richard (25) shot himself, under the influence, the year our dad passed on.
I was with my daughter's dad Keith (23) for 7 years and was 7 months pregnant with her when he shot himself - also under the influence. Janice's son Leo (16) shot himself right outside our doorway - I found him and thought I'd die - he was also under the influence. Ruth's son Carl (26) just passed in October - that was so hard - his death was the only one that wasn't alcohol related.
Then our sister Carleen (46) froze in Fairbanks in a van - just got so drunk and was unconscious, she just froze. I've been hurt so many times - mostly due to alcohol - and I just can't tell you how much I despise the stuff.
I was just talking to a friend about all what we go through, and it seems like we get hurt so many times - we never really recover - sometimes it seems our family was cursed or something. But we keep on going, and going. Only God knows why - and we never ever question Him. We just continue to go on and pray, pray, pray - for those of us left."
I wish I could say that Rosa's family is the only one in the village that has suffered so, but that would be a lie. There's hardly an individual there who hasn't lost a relative due to suicide, alcohol-related accidents (drowning, etc.) or even murder.
Please pray for Rosa and her family. She told me in an earlier email that her mother, Pauline, is no longer able to do her beautiful beadwork (she made the slippers I wrote about in an previous blog). She's cried so much this winter (she lost a grandson and a daughter) that she can no longer see to do the intricate beading.
While you're at it, pray with me that all of God's purposes for the incredible Athabascan people would be fulfilled; that no weapon formed against them would prosper; that this beautiful people would begin to discover their destiny in Him.
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. Isaiah 61:4