March 31, 2019

Fear No Evil - A Journey through Grief by Gloria Guest

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…. “Ps. 23:4a KJV

"He leads me beside still waters." Ps 23
My family lived under the shadow of death for twelve years when my mother was first diagnosed with cancer at the young age of thirty-six. I was sixteen, with two younger sisters and one older who had already left home.

I will never forget first overhearing the words, ‘Hodgkin’s disease,’ from my father, talking to someone on the phone. And I’ll never forget reading the words, ‘cancer’ and ‘sometimes fatal,’ when I looked up the definition of Hodgkin’s in our encyclopedia. Those words were my first steps into the shadows of death that would overtake myself and my family for the next twelve years and beyond.

It has now been twenty-nine years since mom died on a warm, sunny morning. No longer sixteen, I was now twenty-eight and a mother of two. Yet I felt as confused and fearful as I had twelve years ago when I’d first read those devastating words. Mom’s death would be one of the destabilizing forces that would send me not only through the valley of the shadow of death but the valley of depression.

Many people lose their parents much younger than I did.  So why it sent me into such a tailspin is likely due to the circumstances that I’d grown up in and how my mother had been for me, a buffer between all things bad, especially my father.

 During those hard times and in fact in years previous, he did some things that would affect us as a family up until this very day and eventually even lead to my younger sister's suicide, fourteen years after our mother died.  It was after mom's death, perhaps because there was no longer anyone to hold shut the closet door, that the skeletons in our family began to emerge, first with my own returning memories of things that I had witnessed as a child and then with my younger sister telling us of our father’s abuse of her for years. It was devastating. I had so many unanswered questions that I couldn’t ask my mother. My feelings that she had been my buffer and safe place, disintegrated. I wasn’t sure what or who to look to anymore and felt incredibly unmoored and adrift.

“…for thou art with me. Thy rod and they staff they comfort me.” Ps 23:4b KJV

My comfort would come primarily in the form of counseling. I first started in the years after my mother died and again after my sister’s death. There, I was free to be myself and share the inner thoughts that I felt were too much for everyone else. As years of pain came off in layers, Gods comfort started to become something real and not just something that I heard about in a church sermon.
It was definitely not an easy process nor is it a complete process. I struggled to come up with a sufficient end to this post and then decided it was okay not to have one. I believe I will be on this journey for the rest of my life and yes I have made much progress. Mostly though, it is a journey that I’m not on alone. God walks with me. That’s the important part.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. Ps. 5-8 RSV

Gloria Guest blogs for Inscribe and her personal blog at from Caron, Sk.


  1. Thank you, Gloria, for your beautifully moving story of your own journey towards healing after the deaths of your mom and sister. I'm so glad you have found His comfort and that you know you are not alone. As a writer, I loved how you decided not to worry about having a 'proper' ending to your post -- a good way to convey your own story that is still unfinished, still in process.

    1. Thank you Brenda. There is always more growth to come, thankful for how far I have come though.

  2. Dear Gloria,

    What I know about you from reading your blogs is that you are a beautiful person inside and out. What I didn't know was how difficult your life has been and how far you have come from the hurts, anguish, and challenges of your childhood and young adult life. Thank you for having the courage to share this story with us and also for telling us how you have made the progress you have so far.

    I especially appreciate your paragraph that begins, "My comfort would come primarily in the form of counselling. Here you tell of the time frame and the fact you hadn't dared burden anyone else with your painful story. The next part really paints the picture of your progress: "As years of pain came off in layers, Gods comfort started to become something real and not just something that I heard about in a church sermon."

    May those years of pain continue to come off, Gloria, as you allow God to comfort you and wash you until you feel more beautiful and more clean than a fresh snowfall. Each of us is a work in progress, my friend.

  3. Thanks for your kind comments Sharon. I wasn't sure about sharing this post but as I am working on a larger memoir of my life I know I need to take the smaller steps in sharing some of my story so it won't feel too overwhelming when I do finally finish my memoir. I appreciate your posts also.


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