When a Loved One Dies

When a Loved One Dies

“I felt helpless when my older brother died unexpectedly. Months later I would suddenly remember him and feel sick, as if a knife were stabbing me deep inside. At times, I was also angry. Why did my brother have to die? And I felt guilty for not having spent more time with him.”​—Vanessa, Australia.

IF YOU have lost someone you love in death, you too may have felt a wide range of emotions, from sorrow to loneliness and helplessness. Perhaps you have also felt anger, guilt, and fear. You may have even wondered whether life is still worth living.

Be assured that grief is not a sign of weakness. It indicates how much your loved one meant to you. However, is it possible to find a measure of relief from your painful grief?


While your pain can seem unending, you may find the following suggestions consoling:


Not everyone grieves in the same way or for the same amount of time. Still, crying can provide an outlet for fragile emotions. Vanessa, quoted earlier, says: “I would just cry; I needed to release the pain.” Sofía, whose sister died suddenly, says: “Confronting my thoughts and feelings is very painful, like opening and cleaning an infected wound. The pain is almost unbearable, but it allows the wound to heal.”


Understandably, at times you may wish to be alone. But grief is a heavy burden to carry by yourself. Seventeen-year-old Jared, who lost his father, recalls: “I talked about my emotions with others. I doubt I made much sense, but it was good just to be able to express myself.” Janice, quoted in the opening article, adds another benefit: “Talking with others was tremendously comforting. I felt understood, and I didn’t feel so alone.”


One doctor says: “The bereaved who allow friends and relatives to help them through [the] initial period [of shock] tend to continue to move with some ease through the different phases of grief.” Let your friends know what they can do to help; they likely want to but might not know how.​—Proverbs 17:17.


Tina says: “When I suddenly lost my husband to cancer, I could no longer confide in him, so I would tell God everything! I started each day asking him to help me get through the day. God helped me in more ways than I can mention.” Tarsha, who was 22 years old when her mother died, says: “Bible reading was my daily source of comfort. It gave me something encouraging to think about.”


Tina continues: “Initially, the resurrection hope didn’t comfort me because I needed my husband​—and my boys needed their father—​right then. However, now, four years later, I cling to this hope. It’s a lifeline for me. I imagine seeing him again, and it brings me such peace and joy!”

You are not likely to experience instant relief from your grief. Nevertheless, Vanessa’s experience can be reassuring. She says, “You think you’ll never get through it, but you will see brighter days.”

Remember, while the void you feel in your heart may not disappear, life is still worth living. With God’s tender help, you can still enjoy warm friendships and a purposeful life. And soon God will resurrect the dead. He wants you to be able to embrace your loved one again. Then that pain in your heart will be healed forever!