Written by: interview by Sophia Roman
Article source: JOY! Magazine

They ask, ‘How are you doing?’ but what they mean is, ‘Are you over it yet?’ My lips say, ‘Fine’, but my eyes tell a different story, my heart sings a different tune, and my soul just weeps. Grief is a period of deep sadness. Death forces one to face a new abnormal.” This is the new reality for Alana Wessels. Losing a loved one is sad, but losing your mom, dad, aunt, grandma, and both twin brothers within months, and some within days, is just unimaginable. How abnormal can this reality be?

Reality hits home
Alana remembers vividly how her dad, Pastor Alan Thomas from Window of Heaven in Strandfontein, was admitted to hospital for a minor operation on his neck last year. While he was in hospital her mom, Merle, posted on her Facebook daily about how much she missed him, and shared their joyful WhatsApp video calls online. She was so excited for her husband to come back home. Unfortunately, just before Alan left the hospital, he contracted Covid, which he brought home with him…

Alana’s mom and dad, as well as her brothers Warrick and Wesley, all contracted Covid and were hospitalised. Alana was baffled during this difficult time, as she received so many insensitive comments from others, such as: “You must just find intercessors to pray,” “Aren’t your parents vaccinated?” and “You must pray correctly”. Most of the questions from others were seeking information, rather than offering support. As time passed, Alan, Merle, Warrick, and Wesley did not make it through this struggle with Covid… There are so many questions, but Alana wants to remember her family’s legacy. Her mom’s joyful spirit, and her dad’s love for God, family, and the church. She also loved her brothers deeply. Alana and her remaining siblings – Marcel, Shalane, and Maroween – have grieving hearts, which are so raw.

“Never compare your grief. You – And only you walk your path.”

Q: How do you cope?
One day at a time. Our church family is so supportive, and the grace of God has been sufficient. My husband Ricardo has also been amazing. I have my bad days and endure a deep sense of loneliness. We, the remaining siblings, check in with each other daily. I have pictures of my family everywhere in my home to keep their memories alive. Mom was our pillar of strength, our rock, the joy of the family, and our life coach.

Q: Where do you think God was in all of this?
I always knew that God was there, but I questioned Him a lot and still do. Why would my family be wiped out just like that? I am in deep agony and don’t understand God’s plan. With dad, mom, Wesley, Warrick, and Aunt Judy gone, was I going to be next? This has been the worst time of my life. Fear grips me when I think about my husband and children.

Q: What are your final words?
Covid did not kill my family, God called them home. Their assignment was done.
I came through and made it because my assignment is not done. I have decided to move forward. Even if it means I must crawl, cry, or fall – forward I will go.

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Date published: 15/03/2022
Sophia Roman is a pioneer, visionary and life transformation coach. Sophia and her husband Theo pastor the West Reach AOG Church in Mitchells Plain.

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