Pablo Birriel: Life After Losing a Child
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
Pablo Birriel’s mother had just had a stroke. So he and his wife Madine loaded their infant twins in the car and rushed to the hospital.
"I looked at them in the backseat and we had them all buckled up," Pablo tells The 700 Club. "We’re only 20 minutes away, so I let them just get comfortable for a little while."
Just the day before, his wife Madine had noticed her tire was getting low on air. She says, "I need to put some air in the tire and I had forgotten."
A few miles into the trip, the tire blew.
"I was coming off the road to stop the car," she recalls. "The axle broke and the car flipped."
Pablo says, "I was dealing with the kids in the back, and my son flew out the window behind me. He said, 'Daddy,' and I went to go out the window behind him. I was the first person out the car. I ran to him and I looked at him and I could already tell he was dead. Everything was in like slow motion, and I really couldn’t hear anything. I could see her screaming and I couldn’t. I just knelt there and I couldn’t pick him up."
His wife says, "He knelt down over him, and he kissed him. He mainly kept saying, 'I’m sorry, man. I’m sorry, man.'"
"I always believed in God," Pablo notes. "It’s like having a next-door neighbor. I know you live next door, but I don’t really know you. I don’t mingle with you, so, you don’t have the freedom to come to my house and visit me."
After his son’s death, Pablo railed at God.
"I went to God, this God that I didn’t know. I said, 'Let’s have this conversation. It’s me and You. What do You want from me? Why am I still here? Why didn’t You allow me the chance to save my son?'"
Madine says, "He felt like it was his fault, because he was the one that suggested that we set the seats down and take them out of the car seat."
He took his anger out on his own body. He stopped eating and started working out hard.
"I couldn’t get to God," Pablo says. "There’s nothing I could do to God. He was out of my reach. There’s no way I could put my hands on Him, but somebody had to pay. So since I didn’t have access to Him, I had access to me. So I took it out on me."
A man Pablo worked with was a Christian and tried to talk to him about God.
"I said, 'Man, you can leave me alone. What does God want with a guy like me?'
The only thing I would do was replay this over and over again. My son needed me. That was it. That was my moment—I missed it.
It hurt so bad that I just didn’t want to live no more. I couldn’t do it no more. I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. I’m going to take this gun, rack this slide back, put this up against my head, and we’re going to call it a day."
Madine says, "I walked in, and he had the gun to his head. I stopped him and told him that I couldn’t allow him to do it. We can’t lose what we got right now. We’re family and we need to stay together."
"I only lived for them," Pablo says, "'cause that’s the only thing I had to live for."
His friend at work kept inviting him to church. Pablo says, "To shut him up I said, okay."
But something happened when Pablo walked into the church. He continues, "I went in and my heart was just open. I had been through so much pain, and I needed relief. If God had the relief I needed, I had to have it."
The pastor seemed to be speaking to him that day.
"She said something about people losing family members and how God can really rest in your heart and give you peace about it," Pablo says.
He prayed to accept Jesus that day.
"It actually felt like a chipping. Pieces started falling away, and it’s just chipping away at your heart, knocking all the hard stuff off. You can be human again. You can live again."
Madine says, "I saw more of a God light in him. He was looking at God more for peace and rest."
Today, Pablo teaches martial arts. He and Madine say they have come full circle from the tragedy of their son’s death to knowing God’s love.
Pablo says, "I can depend on God on the trials that we do go through. I can depend on him. I can get peace, and I know that He has this mercy on us.
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