Category Archives: Death and Dying

The Monster Is Dead

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I just got a phone call from my cousin. It seems that Harry, my biological father, died yesterday. He was 93 years old. I haven’t seen or heard from him in about forty years. Basically he wanted nothing to do with me, and had made me persona non grata to him. It felt like I had ceased to exist for him.

As far as I’m concerned it was his loss.

This news is a bit of a shock to me, and I find myself a bit unsure of what to do with it right off. I’m fairly certain that he wasn’t saved, though I prayed for him on multiple occasions, that God would send laborers across his path to minister the Word to him. I believe God answered those prayers, but as long as I knew anything about him, he was an atheist. I can only hope that any seeds that were planted bore fruit before he breathed his last. I have to trust that God did exactly that, because He’s the One who makes His Word bear fruit,

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. ~ Isaiah 55:10-11, NLT.

As I said, I don’t know what to do with this information just yet. While he was alive, I had the hope that I’d be able to reconcile with him, that I’d be able to tell him that I’d forgiven him for everything that he did to me. (For those of you who don’t know what that means, my post, Am I Afraid of Anger, or Do I Get Angry at the Fear?, will explain it to you.)

I find myself feeling kind of fragmented and jumbled up as I think about this. For one thing, I find myself feeling more grief at Harry’s death than I ever felt when my mom died. It’s not that I loved Harry more than I did Mom, not at all. If anything I loved him less because he made himself so incredibly unloveable. I always felt a great deal of ambivalence about both my parents, and about my stepdad as well. Even when all three of them were alive I felt like an orphan most of the time, and now that they’re all gone, at least biologically, I am one. Spiritually I’m not, because God said He would be a Father to the fatherless, and I can always feel His presence with me,

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. ~ Psalm 68:5, NIV.

I’m wondering if the reason I feel more sadness with Harry’s death than I did when Mom died is because I was able to resolve things with Mom much more than I was with Harry. Plus Mom always wanted me around, and Harry didn’t, so I spent many, many years desiring a relationship with him ~ a desire that I was never able to bring to fruition. Plus I’m fairly certain that my mother is in Heaven, where I don’t have that certainty at all with Harry.

Now that he’s gone, my prayer is that God will grant him mercy in His dealings with him at Judgment Day. If he must end up in Hell, then let him go to a level that’s not as bad as it might be, if such a thing is possible. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll end up in Heaven ~ just maybe!!

I can only hope, and I trust in God’s goodness and mercy.

You are My Everlasting God and Constant Hope

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I’ve been trying to get a post written for almost two weeks, without success. I just can’t seem to get focused enough to write coherently. It’s extremely frustrating. Hopefully by the end of this post, all that will change.

So I think I’ll just start writing. About anything and everything. But thus far it’s not going very well, mostly because I’m trying to do too many things at once. Things like watching TV and writing, or playing games and writing, or looking at my mail and writing. Obviously if I combine any of those activities with writing, I’m not going to produce anything but a blank page. So I have to turn off the TV, put down my iPad, and get rid of the mail ~ and focus on the WordPress app on my laptop! Which is what I’m doing now, and why these sentences are finally being written.

PHEW!!

What a relief!!

I’m actually writing something down! Of course now, when I’m actually making progress, is when Lily decides she should come and sit in my lap, and lick my hand.

Looks like she changed her mind. Another sigh of relief. I mean, I love her dearly, but there are times when it’s better for her to leave me alone, because I can’t get anything done if she’s perched in my lap, other than pet and stroke her ~ which I’m sure is exactly what she wants. She loves being the center of attention!

As this is turning out to be a stream-of-consciousness post, I’ll continue to write about whatever comes to mind, and what I’m thinking about at the moment is that Reinhard Bonnke died earlier this week, on December 7th. For those of you who don’t know, Reinhard Bonnke was an evangelist to Africa who regularly had over a million people attend his crusades. He was called “the Billy Graham of Africa” by some because of his record-setting crusades.

The reason I’m writing about Reinhard Bonnke is because his death hit a good friend of mine particularly hard when she heard about it on Monday. In fact she was so upset by the news of his death that she texted me about it at 5 a.m. Monday morning. This friend is a solid Christian, and she knows that Bonnke is with Jesus in Heaven. She was hard-hit with his death because she’s been following his ministry, Christ for All Nations, for quite awhile. When Reinhard Bonnke retired in 2017, he appointed Daniel Kolenda to take his place as head of CfaN, and Karen has been following him as well.

When a Christian dies, I find myself thinking more about the idea that they’ve gone to Heaven than about the fact of their physical death. My reasoning is that when a Christian dies and goes to Heaven they get to see Jesus face to face,

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12, NKJV.

I can’t think of anything more amazing, marvelous, or beautiful than being able to see Jesus face to face, and knowing Him as He knows me now. Can you imagine that, how wonderful that will be? It’s beyond my wildest and best dreams, and the thing I hope for more than anything else,

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. ~ Philippians 1:20-21, NLT.

Before he died Billy Graham used to say,

“Some day you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” ~ Billy Graham Quotes

I love that perspective, and that’s exactly how I feel. I used to be terrified of dying, but not anymore, because I’m fully assured of my place before my Father and my God. I know He loves me, and I know that will never, ever change, because I know He’s always been with me, keeping me safe, protecting me from the worst of the abuse, and saving my life when it was necessary.

I never thought I’d be able to say, and mean, that God loves me, and here I am saying it with great peace and joy! I’m amazed and gobsmacked at everything God has done in my heart to heal me.

And He’s not through with me yet!

I can’t wait to see what He’ll do next…

Mom Died and I’m Struggling…

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Mom died. It happened almost three weeks ago, on March 27, 2017 at 2:55 a.m. I’ve been dealing with various aspects ~ like getting her buried (actually encrypted) next to Dad at Forest Lawn, getting her death certificate, and notifying various insurance companies and pension plans of her demise for starters. Then, once I get the forms from the aforementioned insurance companies and pension plans, I get to fill them out using the copies of the death certificate that I got from Forest Lawn ~ and I HATE filling out forms.

But it’s got to be done. Harrumph.

I’ve been flooded with a myriad of feelings since she died, and I haven’t really had any place to take them. I know I can talk about them with Karen, or Helen~Kim~Rachel~Jesse~Jacob~Rob~Isaac via email, or God via prayer. Of course, I’m talking to God about them ~ I talk to God about everything ~ but sometimes it FEELS better if I can talk to a person I can see with my eyes. And that precludes all of the above-mentioned people except for Karen, but it’s hard to think of talking to Karen, because there’s never a time when she’s not sleep-deprived and therefore struggling to stay awake as you’re talking to her.

So that leaves here. As in talking about all these roiling feelings here, regardless of the fact that here isn’t a person I can talk to face to face. Here feels like it would be the same as talking to God, because He knows my every thought even before I think it, but writing it down here feels somehow different. Maybe it feels different because I feel like I can say whatever I want and/or need to without regard to what anyone might think of me. I’m pretty certain I can do that with Karen, and with my email friends, but because of the issues already mentioned, it’s much more difficult to talk to them. Another complicating factor with my email friends is that they live all over the world ~ literally. Helen lives in Sydney (that’s Sydney in Australia). Rachel lives in Northern Ireland. And that’s just for starters.

With that said, let’s get on with it.

As I said, I’ve been flooded with a myriad of roiling emotions since Mom died. Actually, they started beforehand, once I knew she wasn’t going to survive this illness, but I didn’t really let them come to the fore until after she was gone. So I’ve decided to use this blog to process all of it. It may take several posts or it may take a few. For all I know it’ll only take one, but it may take many. I just don’t know. I only know that I have to get it out from inside of me, because if I don’t it’s going to fester. I can already feel myself getting seriously depressed, only for the first time in my life the depression has a temporal focus and isn’t free-floating, like it’s always been in the past. This time it’s actually related to something in the world that happened to me that I can pinpoint on the calendar. Which means that, hopefully, it will end at some point. Hopefully.

So…

One of the biggest things I’ve been feeling is that I hastened Mom’s death because I didn’t visit her often enough. And my fear isn’t without justification. By not often enough I don’t mean I visited her once a week when I could have gone to see her three times a week or everyday, even though there were times that I did see her once a week. I mean that, while I did see her once a week at times, most of the time, I came up with reasons and excuses to not see her at all, every reason in the book, in fact. I did pay her bills as needed, though I wasn’t very good at that either, and whenever there was a care-planning meeting for her at Monrovia Gardens I always showed up and asked questions and signed whatever papers they needed me to sign. Whenever she ended up in the hospital I would visit her everyday while she was there. I just couldn’t seem to make myself go and visit her at Monrovia Gardens on any kind of regular basis.

Mom never did advance beyond mid-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. She just kind of gave up. I know what advanced and end-stage Alzheimer’s looks like. Karen’s mother is in end-stage Alzheimer’s (I think). If she’s not in end-stage, then it’s very far advanced. Mom never got that far. She was still able to talk and feed herself when she felt like eating. She was no longer ambulatory, but she wasn’t yet bedridden, and she could still socialize and interact with other people when she so desired. Karen’s mom hasn’t been able to do any of that for a very long time. Karen says she can understand what her mother is trying to communicate, even though she’s completely nonverbal.

As I said, Mom just seemed to give up. She stopped eating and drinking, and then she ended up in the hospital because she got dehydrated and came down with pneumonia. At first her doctor told me he thought she’d recover from that illness, but that she’d fairly quickly become ill again, and that she wouldn’t recover from the second illness. As it turned out, she didn’t recover from the first illness. She died two days after coming home from the hospital.

I had started praying that God would take her Home right around the same time she stopped eating and drinking. I just felt like her quality of life was such that she wasn’t happy, and wasn’t at peace, and I couldn’t really ask her about it because she wasn’t able to communicate on that level anymore, and hadn’t been able to for a long time. And the point of it all was that she wasn’t going to get any better, but rather would only get worse over time. So the overall picture was fairly bleak.

On that note I’m going to end this post and continue with this in my next one…