People of faith don't always accept their losses quietly and calmly. A faithful person’s heartaches and pains hurt them just as much as someone who doesn’t count on spirituality or religion in their lives. When someone you love dies, grief is a natural reaction to loss no matter what you believe in. Getting angry at God and questioning your faith after your loved one's death is also very normal as part of the struggle to make sense of the death of their loved ones.
Faith and Grief
Grief affects all of us differently. Some people grieve over lost time with the one they lost, while others grieve over the future they never got to have. Some people deal with losing their spouse or partner and others lose a parent or sibling. A married person's grief is particularly intense when the partner passes away. The surviving spouse grieves for the memories and the person they had loved for decades.
Faith is always one of the most important things in a person's life, but faith goes through different changes and growth in response to loss, which is why losing a loved one can be so difficult.
It's hard for to comprehend how someone can lose faith in God, but for some people that is exactly what happens when the death of a loved one occurs, especially if that death was unexpected.
The Struggle to Make Sense of Death
Death is a natural consequence of living. Every one of us were born with the promise that we would die one day, and the prospect of that can cause dread and anxiety. How can we not feel betrayed and devastated when a loved one dies? How Do You Deal With Grief? There’s no right or wrong way to grieve but there are ways that are healthier than others. Being depressed is not a good option, as those who wallow in depression cannot find relief from their pain. What makes grieving easier is to go through the process of grief in a safe, caring environment.
Finding Comfort in Faith
Faith is a constant belief and knowledge of God in a person’s life. Faith can be seen in stories, poems, books, icons, temples, and religious buildings around the world. The big question many people have when a loved one dies is “Why?” But faith is a healing place in life where your loved one is not gone from your life forever. Faith can keep you connected with the past, present, and future. It can provide comfort in a loss that you may not know how to deal with. It is important to believe that people do go to heaven, even if we cannot experience it here. Faith helps us to believe that our loved ones are always with us and helps us keep the memory of our loved ones alive by honoring their memory.
Acknowledging the Role of Religion in Your Grief
If you feel as though God and religion aren’t offering any help during a time of loss, it can be really hard to feel connected to the God who has always been your rock. You’ll likely feel as though you are the only one who has gone through this sort of loss. When someone you love has died, the people around you want to offer support, not challenge your faith. It’s OK to think about or talk about death and the need for a person to be with God. Even when you can't feel God's presence, faith tells us that He is, indeed, there.
On Being Angry at God
Many times, when you’re mourning the loss of someone close to you, you’re the only one who can understand how you feel. Others have, perhaps, tried to comfort you, they've prayed for you, consoled you, but they have not experienced the loss of a loved one themselves - at least not in the same way as you have. You may not feel like you can believe in God right now and are angry with Him. The fact that you don’t believe in Him doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. You can still maintain faith in God even though you don’t believe in him at the moment. You must be patient. This is all part of the process of grieving. You are going to feel this way for a period of time. Your faith will probably increase when you start dealing with the process of grief. No matter what your current beliefs may be about God, He will be there when you need him the most.
How Faith Can Help Us Heal
All of this grief can bring about a lot of deep questions about life and death. Faith helps us to see that the reality of death is not all that scary. For some people who have lost a loved one, God brings them great comfort in the wake of a heartache. Perhaps some people use faith as a way to protect themselves from the emptiness of their lives after the loss of their loved one - that is OK. Losing a loved one can bring a different kind of love into your life - for the one you've lost. A spiritual person will discover a newfound appreciation for their loved one and this can give their life meaning once again. There is also hope that you will be reunited with your loved one in the next life. The mourning process for someone who has lost a loved one is very personal and its intensity is often different for everyone.
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Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and, no doubt, the best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.