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In Memoriam: Tribute on the First Anniversary of My Sister's Death

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

in-memoriam-means-in-memory-of

It has been an entire year since my oldest sister went from labor to reward unexpectedly on May 13, 2021.

My sister was the matriarch of our family when she left this earthly life at the age of 79.

What I Never Say

I never say I lost my sister, Mrs. Katie Lee Alma Jackson Taylor because I know where she is. She is not lost. She is absent from her body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

I never say she died too soon because that would be telling God He made a mistake, and God doesn't make mistakes. He knew her before she was born, and He knew when she would die. Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, "There is a time to be born and a time to die." God also knows when she will be resurrected from the dead the same way God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That's because God is omniscient.

I never say God took Katie away because He needed another angel or flower for His garden. Those sayings are myths and not biblical.

I never say Katie is in heaven having fun talking, laughing, and spending time with my mother, father, two brothers, niece, cousins, and other family members and friends who preceded her in death. That's because all of us will go to heaven at the same time, whether we are dead or alive when Jesus comes for His people during His Second Coming. The dead in Christ will rise from their grave and those still alive will be caught up in the air with Jesus who will take us all to heaven at the same time. That phenomenon is known as the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

What I Know

I know enough about the Bible to give me great comfort. I know that my sister is resting in peace. That's what RIP means.

I know that while Katie was alive, she celebrated her birthday on February 23 every year, but there are no birthdays in heaven. Time for Katie ceased to exist when she took her last breath on this earth.

I miss picking up the telephone to call her and tell her some interesting news. I know I can't talk to her any longer. I let her rest in peace by not telling her what is going on here on earth or asking her for advice because necromancy is a sin. The Bible does not forbid honoring and speaking ABOUT the dead, but to summon the spirit of the dead for any reason is an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 1 Samuel 28:3–25).

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When I see a beautiful butterfly or bird, I know it is not Katie because that would be reincarnation. God did not turn my sister into a butterfly or bird or anything else after her death. Katie does not appear to anyone on earth as a ghost or as an angel.

What Comforts Me

It comforts me that Katie was a born-again believer. She believed that Jesus died for her sins and God raised Him from the dead on the third day (Romans 10:9-10). I know Katie knew that because we talked about it often. We also talked about many biblical things. She enjoyed my teachings and taking my online Bible quizzes.

It comforts me to know that Katie enjoyed being the wife of the love of her life, Oliver Lee Taylor for 57 years on earth because there is no marriage in heaven.

I am glad Katie lived to see her only son, Oliver LeShelle Taylor grow up to be an adult with four children of his own: Omar, Donte, Olivia, and Khalil. Katie and LeShelle talked every single day.

I am glad she had a special, but different relationship with all of her 11 sisters: Mary, Margaret, Blanche, Fannie, Gladys, Lois, Evelyn, Helen, Linda, Peggy, and Corliss as well as her two brothers Bennie and Garland before they died.

I am glad that she loved her church, Gillis Memorial Christian Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland where she was a member for 51 years and worked in various capacities. She had a fondness for being the leader of the greeters' ministry and a senior usher. She also supported other churches and pastors in the Baltimore area. For many years after moving to Maryland, she returned to her childhood church, Calvary Baptist Church in Yale, Virginia on the second Sunday in August for its annual Homecoming Service.

Even though our family misses Katie, I am comforted according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 which assures me that as believers we do not mourn like those with no hope. We do have that blessed hope that has helped us through the last year.

There are other scriptures that give me comfort in reference to Katie's death, but the one that gives me the most comfort was penned by Paul.

"While we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8)

I believe as much as Katie loved us, she would rather be where she is waiting for us to join her at the Second Coming of Jesus than to come back to this world.

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