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Mourning & Life In The Aftermath

Luke 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Throughout human history walls have been constructed for protection and for separation. Arguably the most impressive wall ever completed is the Great Wall of China, which according to experts is an outstanding 13,170 miles long. The most famous one in “modern” times of course, was the Berlin Wall. That barrier cut a city in half and stopped German citizens from traveling freely.

Walls of all kinds can be built, concrete, barbed wired, brick, etc. Yet walls that human beings build are not the only kind of “wall” that can be made. Sometimes humans build invisible walls around themselves in order to feel secure, or to keep others from getting too close. Sometimes these individuals can be imprisoned in their own self-destructive barriers that threaten to suffocate their souls.

These types of individuals harbor resentment or discourse with the world and because they don’t want to deal with their emotions, they put up invisible walls and/or fences around their hearts. I’m going to bring to you a case in point–A man named “Fred.”

Fred lost the love of his life four years ago and wanted to share his story online. He is a fan of TBL and asked me personally to write a bit about what he went through. He didn’t want an “interview” though. But said it was okay to talk about his grief in this story, just in case someone was going through what he went through. I agreed, and he was over the top pleased that I would do it.

So, for anyone suffering right now with a loss, Fred wants to let you know, it will be okay. Somehow, you will get through it, one foot in front of the other, second by second. But you will get through it. Fred’s only regret is that he lost touch with God during his valley. So here is a brief description of what he endured. And he wanted it to be to the point. So here goes.

Fred and Audra had been married 20 years, and their union produced two children. Fred became a “young” widower so to speak. He was forty years old and didn’t like facing the world without his ” bride.” His personality went from vivacious and actively engaged with society, his children and friends, to being an embittered “loner” and pulling away from just about everyone in society.

He gave up going to church and became depressed and lonely due to his unexpected loss of Audra. He refused help or interaction concerning his behavior. He hardly went out at all. And worked from home. His only company was Audra’s beloved Siamese cat, Ling-Ling. The only constant in his life was this precious cat who he bought for Audra on her twenty-ninth birthday. She adored Ling-Ling, and so did Fred, and she became his only companion.

The Walls around Fred continued to erect to even higher heights as the months grew into years following the death of Audra. Until one evening Fred had a moment that truly pulled him from the grips of a “living death.”

He was in the closet going through Audra’s clothing and as he picked up one of her blazer jackets, a note floated out from the pocket to swirling gently to the floor.  Upon retrieval of the note, he immediately recognized her feminine flowery handwriting. A pang of longing stirred at his heartstrings, as he began to read:

“Dear Father, God, I am so grateful for this life I am living. I have a wonderful and loving husband, two beautiful children, and am so in love with You for gifting me with this life. I feel loved and needed and have a purpose, because You give me a purpose for all I do. Father, if I were to die today, I come willingly into Your Kingdom, and look forward to serving You all the days in Heaven. Please my prayer is this, if I die before my husband, watch over him and give him reasons to carry on and continue, save him from languishing, protect him, guide him and show him the way, and bless him all the days of his life until I meet him again in Your Kingdom. I pray that he will live life to the fullest and carry on with our children and make happy memories along the way. I thank You LORD, and no matter what happens, I give you glory, and honor always, in Jesus’s name, Amen.” 

The note was to be read in church for the upcoming Sunday services for things to be grateful for. I’m told Fred fell to his knees and began to cry in what he only could describe as “howling” as every bit of sorrow flowed out from his heart, body and soul. Within minutes he felt different, much lighter and the ache was gone…as if he could actually “breathe” again. He was blown away at the faith his loving wife had. The note was written hours before she died in her sleep from a burst aneurysm. It was as if she knew and wanted to leave a message for Fred to carry on. It took four years for him to find that note. He often wondered what might have happened had it found it years ago.

My husband and I told him, that it was all about timing. Perhaps there was a reason for his “alone time.” Only God knows that answer, no one knows at this time. One day maybe, but not now.  His children are ecstatic to have their father “back.” And Fred in turn was pleased to be back as well.

God works in mysterious ways most times. We just have to accept it and know it somehow will turn out for our good. The death or loss of an individual can have repercussions that reverberate not only within their own selves, but for family and friends too. A person who is wallowing and pulling away from others is disturbing on many levels, especially to those close to the person undergoing such tough times.

Sometimes it helps to go to a grief counselor and be a part of ‘group therapy’ for those going through the same thing you are. Most times, time is the best healer of our hearts. But with God helping it makes it a lot easier.

Fred had a hard time pulling through this valley. He truly built a solid wall around himself and locked it up three times over and just about threw away the key!  But that is how he got through it. There really isn’t a time limit on grief. Nor is there a cookie cutter solution as each person heals and mends according to who they are. Nor are there right or wrong ways to handle issues. The truth is grief is a progression and a whole big process. Some heal sooner than others.

Concluding on a happy note. Fred wanted others to hear about this part. Audra was a fine dresser and had a lot of pretty clothes in her closet. An array of business outfits, to fine casual, and also some gowns. Plus, many beautiful Sunday outfits too!

Fred, along with the help of his children emptied her closet and packed them up neatly and brought them to a shelter.  Most of the women living there needed nice clothes for interviews or for church. And some teenagers living with their moms at this shelter needed gowns for proms!  So, Audra’s outfits made a lot of young women very happy. And in turn that filled Fred and their children with joy! After their encounter with the shelter, they decided that their garage would make a great place to give those in need clothing, in Audra’s honor. Kind of like a “Second chance at life” organization. Fred is thriving with this local project. H said he can almost hear Audra’s approval!

Isaiah61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

It’s good to have the “old Fred” back at church and back among the “living.”

“Dear Father, may those who are hurting right this moment find comfort in You and Your promises, and Your pure love and grace, in Jesus’ sweet name, Amen.”


C D SWANSON is an Author of 22 plus books, freelance writer, contributor to various websites, including The Bottom Line Ministries/Faith News. She's an active member of Faithwriters- and has her online website/ministry for over 15 years. It is her greatest joy to write what’s in her heart, and thus her favorite form of expression is in her devotionals. She and her husband share a deep love of God and dote on their fur baby Mickey. Retired Director from Long Term Healthcare Industry, she continues to be an advocate for many. To check out other writings of this author you can go here:

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  1. What a change Fred had! Coming out of a darkened room within his heart to a place of peace and joy. Only the Lord can do that!
    Indeed we cannot know the workings that the Lord allowed to take place but it is to a testimony to others that there is hope when it is found in the Lord.
    He spoke a message in to Audra’s mind to put her thoughts into writing which He would use to break the chains of darkness and open up His light into the mind of a burdened soul.
    The Lord had this purpose as well; that he chose you to encounter Fred and share his story of being an overcomer. It may bring help and healing to others who are trapped inwardly but can be transformed by His marvelous grace.
    Now Fred could let go of the things he clung to and would be useful to the Lord to bring some happiness to others.
    The Lord does turn ashes into beauty.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hello Cora,

    Thank you for your beautiful heartfelt comment.
    And yes, God is amazing. His love brings about the best solutions and outcome…always!
    Fred is a fan of this ministry, as mentioned, and no doubt this story will touch someone right this moment who needs encouragement and comfort. I was happy to bring the story forward.

    Fred is back amongst the living!

    Have a blessed day my friend~

  3. This is such a beautiful reminder of the redeeming love of our Father who never forgets those that He loves and has called for a purpose. And what a great purpose He has planned for Fred. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us, Camille.


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