How to Grieve the Loss of a Loved One
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | August 2, 2017
Death was not in God’s plan for this world.
At the very beginning, God created a world without pain, suffering and death. But when sin entered into it, death came, too. Since Adam and Eve’s initial rebellion of Genesis 3, death has become part of human existence.
But even though we know death exists, nothing prepares us for the loss of a loved one—especially one gone too soon. Grieving this loss is a process; the grief doesn’t just go away, and everyone grieves differently. But if you’re in the midst of this kind of pain, here are four things to remember.
It’s Okay to Question
God already knows your heart. He already knows what questions you’re asking. It’s alright to direct them to Him.
Asking “Why, God?” or “How could you?” may be the honest cry of your heart in this season, and that’s okay. Bring your questions to Him. Bring your doubt, your anger and your sadness. Try to remember that death was not what God wanted in this world—that it grieves Him as much as it grieves you. But also know that your emotions are safest in His hands, and He is the perfect place to pour out your questioning soul.
Understand Everyone Has Their Own Pace of Grief
Not only does everyone grieve differently—some prefer to be alone; others need to go on as normal, from the outside at least—but each person also has a different pace of grieving. It may take you longer to process what happened and find a way to remember your loved one in the way that best suits you.
If you have siblings and friends also grieving this loss, don’t compare your grief process to theirs. There is so much going on beneath the surface for each individual affected by loss. Comparison doesn’t take into account the inner battles being waged during grief.
Letting Go of Grief Is Not Letting Go of the Person
When you’re ready to move forward and time has begun to settle your heart, remember that waning grief is not waning love. Forgetting to think about your loss on a particular day doesn’t mean you’re forgetting the person you loved so much—nor does it mean you didn’t love them enough.
Letting go of grief and healing from it doesn’t require forgetting who your loved one was. You can still find ways to remember them and honor them even as you heal from the pain.
Tell Your Friends How They Can Support You
Your friends want to be there for you in this time. But many of them don’t know how to be there for you. They don’t know what to say that would actually comfort; they don’t know whether to leave you alone or to step into your space to be present with you. As hard as it may be, try to communicate how your friends can help you during this time. Let them know if you need to be alone; let them know if their presence would comfort you. It is not selfish to ask them to go out with you if you need a distraction—they want to know how to help you. They just need some direction.
This is a painful season in your life. It’s not something to be taken lightly. You’ll probably remember this time for the rest of your days. Yet even at your loneliest, the presence of God and your community is with you, bolstering you to face the pain every new day. You don’t have to do this alone.