When a Loved One Dies

By Kelli Beaucage

As I sat and listened to my friend pour out her heart to me, I felt helpless. Four months ago Debbie lost her mother to cancer, and she was overwhelmed by a flood of grief and sorrow.

"I miss her so much," Debbie cried. As I watched the tears stream down her face, the only comfort I could provide was to listen, and to hold her. Words seemed inadequate. She needed to feel that her pain was felt and shared, even if it was hers alone. I quietly prayed for God to give Debbie peace and comfort; then I prayed that God would give me a genuine understanding of the sorrow that gripped her heart.

Death is perhaps the most misunderstood reality of life. Perhaps what is even more misunderstood - especially by those who have never lost a loved one - is grief and the subsequent process of mourning.

My struggle to empathize with Debbie has helped me learn some things about the grieving process. First of all, I've learned that grief is what we all feel when we experience a significant loss.

Most often, of course, this loss involves death. However, grief also accompanies divorce. It can result from losing a job. It occurs when someone or something we have loved and valued in our lives is no longer there. The resulting separation can be very painful.

Grief is not something you can simply "get over". We need to learn to live with it over time. Still, it is not just "time" itself that brings healing - it is what we do with that time that makes the greatest difference.

Mourning, on the other hand, is how you practically work out those feelings of grief. Each of us will respond differently. Debbie's way of handling the grief was through a spiritual journey. As a relatively new Christian believer, Debbie had many questions concerning her mother's death. Questions like, "Is there really a place called heaven we will actually go to when we die?" "Will we see our loved ones there?"

Faced with these questions from my friend, I felt inadequate to provide answers. I needed the wisdom that comes from the book I have grown to love over the years - the Bible, God's Word. This book provides the hope and comfort we all so desperately need when faced with issues like death.

As I read God's Word about death one truth became clear. Death is not the end; it is not the final event, as many believe. The Bible clearly teaches us that life goes on after we leave this earth. When Jesus told his followers that he was going to die, they had many questions. They wanted to know where He was going, and whether they could they follow Him to this place. He assured them that He was going to a place called heaven, and if they chose to believe in Him, they would indeed follow.

What a comfort that must have been for them! And what assurance that provides to us as well. Jesus said that He is the way to the Father; all we need to do is believe in Him and trust in His salvation, and we will inherit eternal life in heaven.

For Debbie, these promises from the Bible have provided the hope and comfort she so desperately needed in grieving the loss of her mother. Though she is still working through some questions, her faith in God is giving her the peace she needs each day as she moves through the pain. She has the hope of seeing her mother again in heaven.

As I continue to walk with her through this time, I know that Debbie is also assured that the hope she has in a future heaven, is the same hope that fills the void in her heart right now in this life. And that is a hope that will never fail.

Do you know God personally? Read:
Peace with God


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