Thanatophobia is a Real Phobia Suffered by Many Individuals

While reading up on this phobia, I found this article on Wikipedia.

Death anxiety is anxiety which is caused by thoughts of death. One source defines death anxiety as a “feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to ‘be'”. It is also referred to as Thanatophobia (fear of death), and is distinguished from Necrophobia, which is a specific fear of death or dying persons and/or things (i.e. others who are dead or dying, not one’s own death or dying).

Additionally, there is anxiety caused by death-related thought-content, which might be classified within a clinical setting by a psychiatrist as morbid and/or abnormal, which for classification pre-necessitates a degree of anxiety which is persistent and interferes with everyday functioning. Lower ego integrity, more physical problems, and more psychological problems are predictive of higher levels of death anxiety in elderly people because of how close to death they are to dying.

Predatory death anxiety

Predatory death anxiety arises from the fear of being harmed. It is the most basic and oldest form of death anxiety, with its origins in the first unicellular organisms’ set of adaptive resources. Unicellular organisms have receptors that have evolved to react to external dangers, along with self-protective, responsive mechanisms made to guarantee survival in the face of chemical and physical forms of attack or danger. In humans, predatory death anxiety is evoked by a variety of dangerous situations that put one at risk or threaten one’s survival. These traumas may be physical, psychological, or both. Predatory death anxiety mobilizes an individual’s adaptive resources and leads to a fight-or-flight response: active efforts to combat the danger of attempts to escape the threatening situation.

Predation or predator death anxiety

Predation or predator death anxiety is a form that arises when an individual harms another, physically and/or mentally. This form of death anxiety is often accompanied by unconscious guilt. This guilt, in turn, motivates and encourages a variety of self-made decisions and actions by the perpetrator of harm to others.

Existential death anxiety

Existential death anxiety stems from the basic knowledge that human life must end. Existential death anxiety is known to be the most powerful form.It is said that language has created the basis for existential death anxiety through communicative and behavioral changes.[11] Other factors include an awareness of the distinction between self and others, a full sense of personal identity, and the ability to anticipate the future.

Awareness of human mortality arose some 150,000 years ago. In that extremely short span of evolutionary time, humans have fashioned a single basic mechanism through which they deal with the existential death anxieties this awareness has evoked—denial. Denial is effected through a wide range of mental mechanisms and physical actions, many of which go unrecognized. While denial can be adaptive in limited use, excessive use is more common and is emotionally costly. Denial is the root of such diverse actions as breaking rules, violating frames and boundaries, manic celebrations, directing violence against others, attempting to gain extraordinary wealth and power—and more. These pursuits are often activated by a death-related trauma, and while they may lead to constructive actions, more often than not, they lead to actions that are damaging to self and others.

Thanatophobia

Sigmund Freud hypothesized that people express a fear of death, called Thanatophobia. He saw this as a disguise for a deeper source of concern. It was not actually death that people feared because in Freud’s view nobody believes in their own death. The unconscious does not deal with the passage of time or with negations, which does not calculate the amount of time left in one’s life. Furthermore, that which one does fear cannot be death itself, because one has never died. People who express death-related fears, actually are trying to deal with unresolved childhood conflicts that they cannot come to terms with or express emotion towards. The name Thanatophobia is made from the Greek figure of death known as Thanatos.

Wisdom: Ego integrity vs. despair

A developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, formulated the psycho-social theory that explained that people progress through a series of crises as they grow older. The theory also envelops the concept that once an individual reaches the latest stages of life, they reach the level he titled as “ego integrity“. Ego Integrity is when one comes to terms with their life and accepts it. It was also suggested that when a person reaches the stage of late adulthood they become involved in a thorough overview of their life to date. When one can find meaning or purpose in their life, they have reached the integrity stage. In opposition, when individual views their life as a series of failed and missed opportunities, then they do not reach the ego integrity stage. Elders that have attained this stage of ego integrity are believed to exhibit less of an influence from death anxiety.

Terror management theory

Ernest Becker based this theory on existential views which turned death anxiety theories towards a new dimension. It said that death anxiety is not only real but also it is people’s most profound source of concern. He explained the anxiety as so intense that it can generate fears and phobias of everyday life—Fears of being alone or in a confined space. Based on the theory, many of people’s daily behavior consists of attempts to deny death and to keep their anxiety under strict regulation.

As an individual develops mortality salience, i.e. becomes more aware of the inevitability of death, they will instinctively try to suppress it out of fear. The method of suppression usually leads to mainstreaming towards cultural beliefs, leaning for external support rather than treading alone. This behavior may range from simply thinking about death to severe phobias and desperate actions.

Death and adjustment hypotheses

Main article: Death and adjustment hypotheses

Mohammad Samir Hossain postulated the Death and adjustment hypotheses. With the declaration of the hypotheses, two things were postulated. The first part of the hypotheses theorizes that death should not be considered the end of existence. The next segment states the belief that the immortal pattern of human existence can only be adopted in a morally rich life with the attitude towards morality and materialism balanced mutually.

Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher, on the one hand, showed death as something conclusively determined, in the sense that it is inevitable for every human being, while on the other hand, it unmasks its indeterminate nature via the truth that one never knows when or how death is going to come. Heidegger does not engage in speculation about whether being after death is possible. He argues that all human existence is embedded in time: past, present, future, and when considering the future, we encounter the notion of death. This then creates angst. Angst can create a clear understanding in one that death is a possible mode of existence, which Heidegger described as “clearing”. Thus, angst can lead to a freedom of existence, but only if we can stop denying our mortality (as expressed in Heidegger’s terminology as “stop denying being-for-death”).

Meaning management theory

Paul T. P. Wong‘s work on the meaning management theory indicates that human reactions to death are complex, multifaceted and dynamic. His “Death Attitude Profile” identifies three types of death acceptances as Neutral, Approach, and Escape acceptances. Apart from acceptances, his work also represents different aspects of the meaning of death fear that is rooted in the bases of death anxiety. The ten meanings he proposes are finality, uncertainty, annihilation, ultimate loss, life flow disruption, leaving the loved ones, pain, and loneliness, prematurity, and violence of death, failure of life work completion, judgment and retribution centered.

Other theories

Other theories on death anxiety were introduced in the late part of the twentieth century.The existential approach, with theorists such as Rollo May and Viktor Frankl, views an individual’s personality as being governed by the continuous choices and decisions in relation to the realities of life and death. Another approach is the regret theory which was introduced by Adrian Tomer and Grafton Eliason. The main focus of the theory is to target the way people evaluate the quality and/or worth of their lives. The possibility of death usually makes people more anxious if they feel that they have not and cannot accomplish any positive task in the life that they are living. Research has tried to unveil the factors that might influence the number of anxiety people to experience in life.

Personal meanings of death

See also: Meaning-making

Humans develop meanings and associate them with objects and events in their environment, provoking certain emotions within an individual. People tend to develop personal meanings of death which could accordingly be negative or positive for the individual. If they are positive, then the consequences of those meanings can be comforting (for example, ideas of a rippling effect left on those still alive). If negative they can cause emotional turmoil. Depending on the certain meaning one has associated with death, the consequences will vary accordingly whether they are negative or positive meanings.

Religiosity’s effect

The thought of death causes a different degree of anxiety for different individuals, depending on many factors.

Other studies have found a strong sense of religion in a person’s life can be related to a lower sense of anxiety towards death. Although there has been no association discovered between religiosity and death anxiety, it has also been shown that death anxiety tends to be lower in individuals who regularly attend religious meetings or gatherings. On a recent study, one hundred and sixty-five church participants have been asked to fill out the “Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale, the Revised Death Anxiety Scale” and the results were analyzed using factor analyses, Pearson correlation, and linear and quadratic regression. All found an inverse relationship between intrinsic religious motivation and death anxiety. In short, the more religious you are, the less anxious you are about death because you may associate death with another beginning that is promised through many religions. The study also found that gender did not have an effect on religiosity and total death anxiety. A 2013 study involving people from the US, Turkey, and Malaysia found that religiosity is positively correlated with increased fear of death, meaning more religious individuals fear death more.

Children

The earliest documentation of the fear of death has been found in children as young as age 5. Psychological measures and reaction times were used to measure fear of death in young children. Recent studies that assess fear of death in children use questionnaire rating scales. There are many tests to study this including The Death Anxiety Scale for Children (DASC) developed by Schell and Seefeldt. However, the most common version of this test is the Revised Fear Survey Schedule for Children (FSSC-R). The FSSC-R describes specific fearful stimuli and children are asked to rate the degree to which the scenario/item makes them anxious or fearful. The most recent version of the FSSC-R presents the scenarios in a pictorial form to children as young as 4. It is called the Koala Fear Questionnaire (KFQ). The fear studies show that children’s fears can be grouped into five categories. One of these categories is death and danger. This response was found amongst children age 4 to 6 on the KFQ, and from age 7 to 10. Death is the most commonly feared item and remains the most commonly feared item throughout adolescence.

A study of 90 children, aged 4–8, done by Virginia Slaughter and Maya Griffiths showed that a more mature understanding of the biological concept of death was correlated to a decreased fear of death. This may suggest that it is helpful to teach children about death (in a biological sense), in order to alleviate the fear.

Relationship between adult attachment and death anxiety

There has been much literature that supports the existence of a correlation between one’s state of coping skills, mental health, emotions and cognitive reactions to stressful events, and one’s ability to regulate affect concerning one’s death anxiety. A series of tests determined that significantly high levels of death anxiety tend to occur in close relationships with an intimate partner (more so amongst females than males).

Sexes

The connection between death anxiety and one’s sex appears to be strong. Studies show that females tend to have more death anxiety than males. Thorson and Powell (1984) did a study to investigate this connection, and they sampled men and women from 16 years of age to over 60. The Death Anxiety Scale showed higher mean scores for women than for men. Moreover, researchers believe that age and culture could be major influences in why women score higher on death anxiety scales than men.

Through the evolutionary period, a basic method was created to deal with death anxiety and also as a means of dealing with loss. Denial is used when memories or feelings are too painful to accept and are often rejected. By maintaining that the event never happened, rather than accepting it, allows an individual more time to work through the inevitable pain. When a loved one dies in a family, denial is often implemented as a means to come to grips with the reality that the person is gone. Closer families often deal with death better than when coping individually. As society and families drift apart so does the time spent bereaving those who have died, which in turn leads to negative emotion and negativity towards death. Women, who are the child bearers and are often the ones who look after children hold greater concerns about death due to their caring role within the family. It is this common role of women that leads to greater death anxiety as it emphasizes the ‘importance to live’ for her offspring. Although it is common knowledge that all living creatures die, many people do not accept their own mortality, preferring not to accept that death is inevitable and that they will one day die.

Age

It is during the years of young adulthood (20 to 40 years of age) that death anxiety most often begins to become prevalent. However, during the next phase of life, the middle age adult years (40–64 years of age), death anxiety peaks at its highest levels when in comparison to all other age ranges throughout the lifespan. Surprisingly, levels of death anxiety then slump off in the old age years of adulthood (65 years of age and older). This is in contrast with most people’s expectations, especially regarding all of the negative connotations younger adults have about the elderly and the aging process (Kurlychek & Trenner, 1982).

Measuring death anxiety

There are many ways to measure death anxiety and fear. Katenbaum and Aeinsberg (1972) devised three propositions for this measurement. From this start, the ideologies about death anxiety have been able to be recorded and their attributes listed. Methods such as imagery tasks to simple questionnaires and apperception tests such as the Stroop test enable psychologists to adequately determine if a person is under stress due to death anxiety or suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder. The Lester attitude death scale was developed in 1966 but not published until 1991 until its validity was proven. By measuring the general attitude towards death and also the inconsistencies with death attitudes, participants are scaled to their favorable value towards death.

Thanatophobia: The One Fear Everyone Has

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Supporting Others Struggling With Grief

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While going through our own Grief journey, we can still be a huge support to others struggling through their journey.

The loss of a loved one is never easy. Although it is something we all must face in life, it can be extremely difficult and often times faced with many challenges.
The journey called Grief is a journey that bars none. It doesn’t care who we are or what our status in life or society is. It enters our lives and rips it apart one piece at a time. It leaves us feeling intense and frightening emotions – including depression,
confusion, guilt, and anger.

Even if our Grief is still fresh, or it has been a few years, we can still provide comfort to someone else grieving the loss of their loved one. We should never allow discomfort to prevent us from reaching out to someone grieving.

After suffering a loss, one begins to live through the emotional turmoil involved in the process and journey. With that understanding, we can also provide comfort, kind words of encouragement and a sense of peace to those individuals whom may be suffering through a loss of their own. It always helps to have someone to lean on for support. Those of us who have suffered through our own grieving process can provide positive coping mechanisms to help someone else ease the pain and suffering they are experiencing.

It’s important for each of us to remember that Grief is a process, a journey that takes time to heal, to understand, to cope, to not feel like isolating one’s self anymore; and it is in those times, that the comfort, compassion, empathy, and sensitivity of another who has gone through this journey can be a huge asset to someone going through this journey called Grief!

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We Can Get Stuck in Our Grief

It’s extremely important to give ourselves permission to grieve, but sometimes we can go too far. Unfortunately, this will lead us to get stuck in our GRIEF!

I know this first hand. I was stuck in my Grief for quite some time and that included: Anger, Depression, Self- Pity, Unworthy, Cursed, Survivor’s Guilt, Extreme Envy and the list goes on and on.

Some of you may ask, why envy?

I can honestly tell you with complete purity. I was jealous of my husband because he had left this cruel, insane world and had gone on to a much better and happier place.

It is normal to have bad days. But we must ask ourselves if we have grown too fond and accustomed to the comfort and attention of others. We must also ask ourselves how is our anger with God affecting our grief journey? My anger with God was indeed affecting my grief!

Many times we can be on the path to healing and ambush ourselves by allowing self-pity to move in and take up residence in our thoughts.

There we go back down that Anger road again.

Yes, I am speaking from experience. What I tell you is coming straight from my own painful journey.

When I learned to accept God’s comfort, deal with my anger, realize time doesn’t heal all wounds, let go of the spotlight, read the book of Psalms, learn to trust God and remember he loves me, reconnect with others, monitor my thinking & behavior and realize Grief is not an identity, I was then able to move forward on my journey to healing!

Job was a man faithful to God who experienced the death of his children, the loss of his property and livelihood and then his health. At one point in time, he questioned God but then realized, with humble repentance, that his own view of the situation was limited and God knows all things, sees all things and has a perfect plan.

God asked, “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?” Job humbly replied, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand.” (Job 42:3)

The Assumption that Makes Grief Hard

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Many people throughout the years and within different cultures may have assumed and believed that life on Earth would be easy and pain-free.

The fact of the matter is; that is not the case at all.  We shouldn’t give up hope of a pain – free life and/or existence, because God has promised each of us a better place for those who trust in Christ as Saviour and encourages each of us to console ourselves with that very HOPE.

We should all remain encouraged. This journey we’re on may be a long, tough one, but it’s one that we all can conquer and know that there are greater things waiting for us at the finish line!

Oceans – Hillsong United (Where Feet May Fail)

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This is one of the most beautiful, yet haunting worship songs I have ever heard. It’s not a long song with a lot of verses, yet it’s unique as lead singer, Taya Smith repeats the main chorus several times as she brings a wave a cold chills with her beautifully trained, soft and unstrained voice. The song is performed beautifully and the audience is fully embraced and engaged in their performance. It’s one of those songs you hear and you want to hear over and over again!

According to Wikipedia: Oceans is the third EP by Australian worship band Hillsong United.

The EP released on 10 September 2013, and features four versions of the song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” 

The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Christian Songs chart at the end of 2013. Billboard referred to the band’s name as “United” on the chart.

Background:

The song was one of the first ones the band wrote for Zion. Breathecast described the other versions of the song as follows: “The latter [second] version strips away a little of the cinematic strings effect as well as the extended bridge of the original. Rather, imbued with a acerbic drumming pattern and heftier production, it certainly has the package Christian radio is looking for. The Lark Remix which is third on the EP accelerates the tempo morphing this ballad into a club-like anthem with pacey dance beats, yet without destroying the reverential mode of the song.” He said of the fourth live version: “It is the most worshipful version”

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Hillsong United Song Lyrics
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
Songwriters: Joel Houston / Matt Crocker / Salomon Lighthelm

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Capitol Christian Music Group

Click the link to read and learn more about this amazing band.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceans_(EP)

Photo credit – Getty Images

Krzysztof Komeda-Trzcinski – Music Composer for the movie “Rosemary’s Baby!” (1968)

MV5BNWExMTRmZDEtZTIzNy00YTI1LTkwNzMtOWNjNGQ4NjJjNTQ5L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTc4MzI2NQ@@._V1_For those of you who were born in the 60’s and grew up in the 70’s, you have to remember Roman Polanski’s movie “ROSEMARY’S BABY!” This true thriller movie was a huge hit in 1968, with a soundtrack by a Polish musician named Krzysztof Komeda.

Here’s a mini biography of Komeda who was born on April 27, 1931 in Poznan, Wielkopolskie, as Krzysztof Komeda-Trzcinski. He was a composer, known for Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) and Mammals (1962). He was married to Zofia von Tittenbrun. He died on April 23, 1969 in Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland from head injuries he received in a car accident.

In December 1968, Krzysztof Komeda was walking with friends in the Hollywood Hills after a late night of drinking – Komeda was an alcoholic – when he fell, hitting his head. One of his friends picked him up but dropped him again, causing Komeda to hit his head again. He told his friends he was fine and was driven home, after which he developed flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing. He was hospitalized with a blood clot on his brain, went into a coma and was at one point clinically dead. However, after emergency surgery, he resuscitated and after about a three-month stay, he was released. Komeda flew home to Warsaw with his wife,  Zofia von Tittenbrun but died there in April at the age of 38.

I fell in love with his music while watching “Rosemary’s Baby.”  The particular song I grew to love was titled “Moment Musical,” which is a soft piano playing melody that will make anyone want to sit and listen and get carried away to another world.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do!

 

 

Titles: Komeda: A Soundtrack for a Life
People: Krzysztof Komeda

 

The Gator Creek Band – “Dirty Boogie”

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I have always been a fan of music, and have always loved Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walters in all of their movies.

The movie “Play Misty for Me” is one of the very first movies that proved that women aren’t as innocent as some pretend to be, and can be a Fatal Attraction as men can be!

Gator Creek  Band a band out of Venice, Florida recorded a beautiful dance song that was a perfect fit for the movie, “Play Misty for Me!”  This band consisted of the following:

Line up 1 (1970)

 

– Allen Beutler — sax, flute

 

– Dee Barton (RIP 2001) – vocals, keyboards

 

– Mike Deasy — lead guitar, vocals 

 

– Kathy Deasy — vocals, percussion 

 

– Kenny Loggins — vocals, guitar

 

– Ray Neapolitan — bass 

 

– Mike O’Martin (aka Michael Omartian) — keyboards

 

 – Gene Pello — drums, percussion

 

They created a fun dance song under “Mercury Records;” titled Dirty Boogie (instrumental)   (Dee Barton). One of the most beautiful, fun songs I have ever heard.

Played in the opening sequence of the movie “Play Misty For Me” while Clint is driving in his Jaguar XK150 down the coast on California State Route 1 at Big Sur and across the Bixby Creek Bridge!

I love turning this song up as loud as I can and just losing myself in the music.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did when I first heard it!

 

The Gator Creek Band and Dirty Boogie.

 

Credit: Matz Katz

 

 

As I Grow- A Poem

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As I grow to know you more and more,
your strong, masculine beauty I adore.
Your strength and grace is so amazing,
my life so great now interchanging.

Our lives together have grown so great,
my feelings will never be of debate.
My actions are truly louder than words,
saying only I like you would be absurd.

Your chiseled face shows strength and wisdom
with dark eyes to match from another kingdom
You say my lips are soft as a petal of a rose.
I thank our father in heaven that it was me you chose.

Your beautiful, kind heart I will never take for granted.
When I’m in your presence I feel so enchanted.
My prayer is for our love to grow stronger each day.

Will I ever stop loving you?
To this, I say “NO WAY!”

Jasmine D. Parker ©

Grief – The Sugar and Salt Process!

 

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When someone you love dies; often it doesn’t hit you all at once.  Often times it takes a while to register; your heart and mind are not accepting this event. Grief is a process and can appear at any time, or any place. Sometimes it creeps up on you like grains of salt or sugar. You may grieve in a happy way, remembering all the beautiful things your loved one said and places you traveled together. Remembering the many years spent together, silly things, like nights sitting by the fireplace, enjoying each other’s company. Remembering their smile, laughter, scent, their day to day activities; the love they had for their family, friends, pets, and life itself; can be so sweet that it helps the healing process, and through my Grief, I came to call this period the SUGAR PROCESS.  My memories of my loved ones were priceless and filled with unconditional love. This is why I gave this period of my grief journey that particular name.

Then there are the days that you can’t get out of bed; unimaginable pain and sorrow are just too great. Little things in life triggering a breakdown; Unable to pack your loved one’s personal effects, look at their photos, hear their favorite music, eat their favorite foods or visit their favorite places. This is what I have grown to call, the SALT PROCESS. When someone we love so much dies, it leaves a huge, gaping wound in our heart. Intense Grief can and will open that wound all over again. Creating thoughts of despair, releasing tension, anger, survivors’ guilt, fear, loss of appetite, depression and in many cases, hopelessness. It’s like pouring SALT on an open wound, not allowing it to heal. Often, it’s during this process, we can get stuck in our GRIEF! Love is Energy and we should all Live, Love & Laugh.
Enjoy your loved ones and give them their flowers while they are here on earth!

Anger With God After the Death of a Loved One

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Anger with God is always the result of a conclusion that a perfect God has treated us unjustly and that we have the right or the knowledge to judge God’s ways. We should take our heartfelt anger and pain to the Lord while holding on to the truths we know about Him. He is sovereign, faithful, trustworthy & righteous, and He has not wronged us.

We should talk to God.

God, I’ve been accusing You of things I know nothing about. You are God and Your good plan and Your perfect ways are beyond my comprehension. Someday I may understand, but for now, I will trust You.

Trusting God with our whole heart, helps mend the brokenness we are feeling and the distrust in him. He is mightier than mighty and his love is everlasting.  It may not make sense at first when our loved one dies, but in time, it will all make sense. We are only here temporarily and the lessons learned are for our own growth. We are all God’s children!