A guest post written by Susan Spears
Whether fast and unexpected or slow and prolonged, death can be an agonizing struggle for those seemingly left behind. I experienced this struggle with the death of my dog and the sudden death of a friend.
Our dog cared for and loved our family for sixteen years, and at the end of her life she started a slow decline. Finally we had to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep – we were leaving for a Christmas visit to relatives out of state and at this time she needed constant care to stand, be fed, etc. It was strange to come back from vacation to find an empty house and no happy dog to greet us. For weeks I worked on knowing that she was always in her right place and that nothing had really changed for her. She expressed companionship, loyalty, and love, which had come from God. And in fact she did not lose those qualities when she died.
The death of my friend, on the other hand, was shockingly sudden and disturbing. I had already been working on the limiting view of loss and grief when my friend died. I went through some pretty wide-ranging feelings of grief and denial. There was absolutely no way that what happened – had actually happened. In my head I knew that she could never be separated from God. But I felt like my heart had not gotten the message.
Someone else mentioned that they felt comforted because this friend was now with God. I thought about this and came to the conclusion that this is not a comfort. First of all, if she is with God now, then was God not with her when she was alive? And second, is God actually in a location where we can be close to or far away from him? This brings to mind the Greek gods living on Mount Olympus, looking down on mere mortals and giving gifts or curses on a whim.
This is not God. And we are not the concept of a limited man. In Christian Science, man in God’s image is perfect and eternal, not mortal and material. Grief may take time to heal. But I know that healing will come. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans)
This is why I am grateful for Christian Science. It teaches us to see beyond the merely physical to the infinite. “Unfathomable Mind is expressed. The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy)