© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
21 The Grief Of Death By Phil Scovell My father died unexpectedly when I was eleven years of age. One year later, to the exact date, I came home from the hospital after a dozen operations on my retinas. I had been pronounced totally blind and told I would never see again. I well remember that day and not because of my blindness. It was late afternoon when we left the hospital so mom and I stopped to pick up some hamburgers as we began the 270 mile trip back to Omaha where we lived. It was November 13, 1964. My father had died exactly one year ago. You could feel the sadness and the coldness and the grief hanging in the air in the car as we drove through the darkness that night. Over the next few weeks and months, my younger sister, Ruth, who was seven years old at the time, and my mom, became my best friends. The hardest part soon became leaving and going to a school for the blind 45 miles away and only coming home on weekends. Yet, as I said, Ruth and mom became my best friends. Sure, I developed many other friends over the years but I will never forget what my mom and sister did for me in those early days of my blindness. I started with this small amount of background information because when my mother died less than a year from when I wrote this article, I felt little sense of grief. Oh, sure, I cried at the funeral as hard as anyone and I had to be one of the speakers at the service, too. Yes, I have cried many times since my mother died some 10 months ago now. Yes, I will cry often throughout my life just as I have concerning the death of my father. It isn't abnormal but sometimes it is useful in finding areas of woundedness which needs healing. If there are indeed areas of healing to be done, your grief very easily becomes abnormal and never goes away until you are healed by the Lord. Mom had her first stroke about 7 years before she died. She recovered probably about 90 percent of her capacity but it was not quite the same thereafter. It seemed to me that I somehow realized at that time of my life that my mother, my best friend as a child, wasn't going to be around forever and I said my goodbyes to her then in my heart. Yet, as I said, I cried, and cried hard, when she died and for the days surrounding her funeral. recently, one of our old basset hounds developed a large cancerous tumor in his throat. You could feel it from the outside. He was given pain medication and seemed to be doing well but soon the tumor grew so large, it made it difficult for him to even swallow normally. It was time to put him to sleep because it was inoperable and he was beginning to suffer. Not wishing to take him to be put to sleep in an office, we paid for a vet to come to our home. I said my goodbyes to Barney, as I pet him for a little while, and walking out on to our deck and closing the door behind me, I sat down on the porch swing. I didn't want to be in the room when he went to sleep. I cried that Sunday afternoon off and on for hours. I knew some of it was due to my sorrow for my wife because she really loved Barney and it was very hard on her. I also knew there was something stirring in my emotions that led to another event in my life but no matter how much I prayed, I could not get a handle on the event. I figured when the time came, the Lord would let me know and I stopped trying to figure it out on my own. Three days later, I thought of Barney once again, as I had been each day since his death, and felt tears creep into the corners of my eyes. He had been a good dog and the first basset hound we ever had. Suddenly, I realized the pain was deep inside of me and too deep to be the emotions related to the death of a pet. I immediately said, "Lord, where does this pain take me?" I figured I would end up at my dad's death, which I often do when something needs healing, or at my days of going blind in the hospital, which also often comes up when I need healing. This is due to the amount of trauma experienced in these two events and I am not completely healed of all the woundedness in these two major events of my life as of yet. This time, however, I was surprised to discover I ended up at my mother's death. At the moment I realized I was in the very recent memory of my mother's death, I knew what was wrong on the surface. I also knew that could not be the real problem. Let me explain what I am talking about. For probably the last two months of her life, my mother could not walk, even across the room, without help. When we took her to the doctor, they felt one of her legs should be removed below the knee because there was just no circulation. It had to be removed, therefore, so she was placed into the hospital and it was done. Following the surgery, mom actually did very well, we all thought, but suddenly she had a massive stroke and all communications with her was lost. She was moved to a hospice where she died several days later; never speaking to us again. A small bit of some type of anger grew inside of me, to some degree, and sadden me in other ways. I could not determine what it was or why. However, every time I thought of mom, I thought of her dying with only one leg. That in itself seemed irrational to me so I knew that was not the real cause of my pain. Yet it had something to do with it or did it. When the Lord led me back to those recent memories relating to mom's last hospitalization, The Holy Spirit quietly spoke to me in my thoughts and said, "How did you feel about your mother's death?" I said, "I felt sad, of course." "What else did you feel?" He prompted. "I felt alone and I knew I would miss her but I was ready for it I think." "What else did you feel?" He prompted once again. "I felt like we should have done something." "Something about what?" "Something about them removing her leg." "What should you have done?" "We should have told them no." "And why?" "Because, we knew she was going to die and we shouldn't have put her through such a horrible thing." "So what was wrong?" the Holy Spirit said. "We should have taken charge." "We? Don't you mean something else?" He questioned. I said, "Yes, I should have taken charge." I knew then what my problem was. I felt a personal responsibility at the time to have said, no, we aren't removing her leg. Why did I think I should have taken charge? Because I must have known in my heart that mom wasn't going to make it through this one this time and she was going to go home to be with the Lord. Yet I did nothing. Guilt was the result. Recognizing the real truth of what was bothering me and seeing the quiet guilt that lay dormant until the death of one of our favorite dogs stirred up the emotions relating to that guilt, I said to the Lord, "Then what is your truth about this situation?" The Lord said, "You think you should have taken charge to help your mother but you were not ever in charge of that situation because I was." I was instantly released from the guilt. All I have just described took about one minute of prayer time. There are some things we need to talk about now concerning this testimony. 1. There was no sin involved at any time; not before, during, or after. 2. The feeling of guilt was apart of the grief but wasn't generated by sins committed. 3. Even this natural sense of guilt generated by a normal grieving process, would eventually have created an atmosphere whereby the enemy could have gained a foothold in my life. Why? Read the next point for that answer. 4. The guilt was a small implanted demonic lie. I know this because what I believed was not even true. If something isn't true, what is it? 5. Jesus exposed the lie. He showed me that I wanted to take charge of the situation but informed me He had been in charge of the situation from the beginning. Thus, my guilt was invalid, that is, it was based upon a lie or false information at the time. 6. I was healed. The Lord Jesus spoke to the problem, exposing it for what it was, and then took the burden off of me and placed it upon Himself. It instantly released me. I actually felt this process occur at the moment He spoke His Words of truth to me. Final Remarks Does this mean I no longer will miss my mother? No, it does not mean that. It means that the enemy tried to implant a small little bit of falsehood, or what the Bible calls a lie, into an event in my life. Why would he do this? So he could use it later against me at another time where it could do the most damage. Without the Lord's help, I never would have seen the truth about my feelings relating to my mother's death. "What about your dog, Barney. Was that of God? Here is what you really are asking. Did the Lord take your dog to teach you something? the answer is, no. Barney died due to natural causes over which we had no control. Did the Lord use this situation to bring about more healing in my life? Yes, He most certainly did. The enemy, however, also tried using it. He tried to use my sorrow and tap into the little lie he had placed in my thinking to create even more grief and confusion in my life. Why would the enemy do that? Because he tries to keep us from walking close to God and from keeping Jesus from being other than the Lord of our life. What about the grief you carry? Is it really about a pet or a friend or a mate or a relative who has passed away or is it about pain buried deep within you somewhere? Are you afraid to let Jesus the Healer see that pain? Is your Christian pride getting in the way or are you just being deceived by the enemy? It is time to hear the truth from the True Lord Jesus Christ and be healed. You can keep carrying the burden of grief all you want but you will soon learn it only becomes heavier and heavier as the years go by. Jesus died and was resurrected to set you free.