In 2010 my parents moved into an assisted living facility near my home and I couldn’t avoid frequent contact. My father demanded 24–7 access to me, making petty requests and expressing constant disapproval. My counselor suggested I needed “skunk medicine”—something to keep dangerous people away.
Less than two months after my parents moved nearby, my doctor discovered a malignant melanoma on my left shoulder blade. When John heard the diagnosis he blurted, “That’s where you’ve been stabbed in the back.” The surgery was successful, but after much self-reflection I realized I needed protection from my father; the toxic relationship was killing me. John stepped in as an intermediary and I was grateful the cancer served as my skunk medicine.
During one visit I had an amazing talk with my father. He was contemplating eye surgery at age 92 and I said maybe God wanted to open his spiritual eyes. He looked like a little boy as he sincerely asked me how. I did my best to explain Jesus’ love and forgiveness and he seemed receptive until a dark shadow crossed his face and he started raging, blaming Christianity for all the problems in the world. I left bitterly disappointed.
A year later my father entered hospice care. Near the end he was in a state of “terminal restlessness” which meant biting, kicking, spitting, and cursing. The nurses discouraged me from visiting. But once he was sedated with morphine, I was told to come right away to say goodbye. John was out of town so a friend went with me to pray. My father greeted me brusquely with a complaint, but I prayed and sang and anointed him with essential oils and told him there was an open door into heaven and, if he wanted, he could go through it. Instead he said, “Can you get this thing off my back?”
I put my hand under his shriveled body, thinking he was uncomfortable.
“No!” he said, “get this thing off my back!!”
Then I thought perhaps he had something he needed to say, to get off his chest.
“No!!” he practically screamed. “Get this thing off my back!!!”
Suddenly I remembered the monkey I’d seen ten years earlier. I told my father I knew Someone who could free him. In the name of Jesus I took hold of that demonic monkey and threw it into the fiery pit.
My friend said the room filled with light. My father became peaceful and never spoke again. He died two days later.
This experience gives me hope, though I won’t know the outcome until I myself enter heaven. It makes me wonder about demons and the moments near death. The Bible teaches that demons need a live host: Jesus sent 2,000 demons into a herd of pigs. Perhaps when dark angels sense their host is dying, they start to withdraw their claws, creating an opportunity for deliverance and freedom before death.