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.

                            End Of Document

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