Friday, July 29, 2011


I was reading from Thomas Wolfe's 1932 collection of short stories, "From Death To Morning" last night.  What an incredible writer he was!   His stories always have some deeper meaning---themes that haunt me and make me think for days and even months following my reading of them.

The story I read yesterday was entitled "Death the Proud Brother".   It is a story that deals with death, and how it is such an important and ubiquitous part of life.  It is not something to be feared or repressed.  It should be accepted.  After all, it is something that we diverse human beings all have in common.  We may think we are very different in color, weight, height, culture, faith, and so on; but we are all going to eventually pass on through the silent halls of death.  Our final moments may come with a crawl or a pounce, but death is unavoidable and natural.

It got me to thinking about those close to me whose deaths I have experienced---my dad, my grandparents, and a few others.  Looking back on those experiences, with the 20/20 hindsight of time, I can say that, while their deaths were a sad time, I realized deep down that it was all part of God's plan.

Of course, I never experienced a death of a loved one that was tragically sudden and unexpected.  That kind of death would necessarily require a longer and more intense period of grieving.

In my dad's case, he was 81 when he died in a hospital bed, his immediate family gathered around.  He had been ill for months, his condition deteriorating daily, until the final moments occurred.

My mom stood at the head of his bed, stroking his brow and speaking soft, loving words.  My brother and I and our wives stood watching, tears slowly falling.  After we heard his last breath, a doctor came to the room to pronounce him dead.  After examining him, she asked, "Would you like me to summon a preacher for you?"

Everyone in the group shook their heads---no.  Except me, that is.  I said I thought it would be helpful to hear some words of faith.

My Mom and Dad, Circa 1943
The man of God appeared a few minutes later.  He asked about dad's life and what kind of man he was.  Then, we all joined hands and the man of God said a meaningful prayer of comfort.  We all agreed later that the man of God had been very helpful to our emotional states.  
My Dad and His Sister, Circa 1940
Death is a proud brother, says Thomas Wolf.  It is a brother of sleep.  It is with us always.


  1. Clint, this makes me want to read some Thomas Wolf! I love to read and he sounds quite interesting.
    I, too, have lost grandparents (all but one) and my Dad. In my case, Dad did die suddenly and unexpectedlly at age 61 of a cerebral hemorrhage. (Due to out of control High Blood Pressure--hint hint) Yes, it took awhile...actually it still haunts me a little, but it's just like the saying, "You don't know what you got till it's gone". I don't know that I realized exactly how much I adored my Dad until I knew I couldn't just call him to say hi, talk Bible with him, etc etc. I think most days I've accepted it, but even after 2 1/2 years, I still absent mindedly reach for the phone to call him...and I haven't been able to bring myself to delete the "Dad" & his phone number on my cell yet. Maybe I never will.
    Whew, there's a short story for ya! LOL
    Blessings to you & have a great weekend!!

  2. we could all hope for a quiet and peaceful death, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones sake...

  3. now i see where you get your good looks!;)

    death is something most of us are conditioned to fear - those who fear death are more easily controlled. i used to be terribly afraid of dying and losing my loved ones, but i'm beginning to accept that it's all part of the plan.

    being aware of death makes life more rich. when we live like any day could be our last, we truly live.

  4. Next I will be reading this short story. I loved the first short story I read of his, "The Far and the Near". Another great blog post! ♥

    Loved the pictures!

  5. The Bible speaks much about death. Here is one of my favorite passages on the subject:

    ”For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15: 53-55)


  6. Well, I have to disagree with ya, brother. According to the scriptures, death is the result of sin-- disobedience to God-- and death was never a part of God's plan, and it will be completely removed from us when all is set right. In the beginning, God warned Adam and Eve what would happen if they sinned, and they did it anyway (Romans 5). That's why Christ emphasized eternal life. He set us free from the law of sin and death. And Hebrews talks about death as a bondage. I can certainly understand your point-- that death is an expected, natural occurrence in our lives-- and it's not something for Christians to fear (Hebrews 2:15 [He delivered] them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"). We don't NOT fear death because it's natural, we don't NOT fear death because Christ has made us alive and He conquered death. I wouldn't go so far as to call death a brother or some welcoming guest. Christ conquers death as an enemy in Revelation when Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15).

  7. Your photos of your parents put a smile on my face this beautiful morning, what a handsome couple!

    Death is inevitable and you're right, when an individual dies suddenly, the grieving process is a tough one. My mother died nearly 9 years ago to the date in a tragic head on car crash. It took me years to accept her death, the feelings and irrationalities were surmounted when I finally realized that God has purpose for each one of us, we go nowhere until our purpose has been fulfilled and obviously my mothers purpose here on Earth had been completed. I was going to use the terminology "lost my mother" but we didn't lose her, I know where she is today and she's in a much better place! :-)

    I feel it's never easy to come to terms with a loved ones death, sudden or expected. I like that you turned to the words of the minister in a time of need, there's something so comforting in hearing the words of God during a challenging time.

    I read an oration by Chief Tucumseh which I'll post on my blog within the next few days. It is one that when I read it something transformed with me.

    Have a great day Clint and thanks for the thought provoking post.

  8. Clint, Thanks for sharing your pictures and story of you dad's passing.

    It makes all the difference in the world when that loved one knows Christ. You know that they are in heaven with their Lord and that all suffering and pain and sorrow are gone and you will see them again one day.

    But if you are not sure if they knew Christ that grief does not go away. The only thought that brings comfort is the assurance that God is good and just.

  9. Great post, Clint and I love the old photos especially of the old cars. Did people pose around their cars more often back then? Seems like every old photo I have we were standing near the car.

  10. I too have only lost loved ones who had lived a long life...What peace we have when we KNOW we will see them again!!

  11. Thank you Rebecca. You said exactly what I was thinking!

  12. We all wish to leave this earth with loved ones near by. Your father was blessed.
    Arkansas Patti

  13. Thanks for sharing these blog post. I remember the passing of my dad, I was young and it was terrible for me, but I always see his blue eyes and his smile on his face. He was happy and that was or is important for me. I always wish to pass away peaceful like he did.

    Have a beautiful weekend and take care my friend.


  14. So nice to read Clint.I shall read all your blog in my quiet night..very interesting!!

    thanx for not forgetting about norway...wish you a very nice weekend clint!!

  15. Lovely photo's of your parents, but not feeling well I don't want to write about Death......