Death of a Loved One

Request:

My life has been shattered. My husband of 30 years died of a heart attack last month and I don’t have the heart to go on….

Response:

Dear  _______,

My name is  _______ and I am an online mentor with this website. I am sorry to hear of the loss you have suffered through the death of your loved one.

Suddenly hopes and dreams are gone.  Your plans have been shattered.  Your desire to serve God together are gone.  So the question arises, “how do I go on?”.

Maybe you can find some help in the following comments:

Losing a loved one — whether through unexpected or anticipated circumstances — is always traumatic. This is especially true with the death of a spouse. It is one of life’s most profound losses. The transition from wife to widow, husband to widower, is a very real, painful, and personal phenomenon. The trauma of trying to adjust to this new identity while being besieged with a multitude of urgent questions and decisions can be overwhelming.

Here are several things to remember when faced with the death of your spouse. While they may seem simple, they are very important points to remember:

1. Give yourself permission to mourn.

Men and women both need to give themselves permission to mourn. Postponing a confrontation with your feelings by filling each day with frantic activity will only delay and compound the grief reaction.

2. Be aware that you may experience a range of emotions.

Your reactions to death may cover a wide and confusing range of emotions (such as shock, numbness, anger, pain, and yearning). Grief does not proceed in an orderly fashion any more than life itself does.

3. With effort, you can and you must overcome your grief.

One of the myths about mourning is that it has an ending point, that if you just wait long enough, it suddenly stops hurting. It doesn’t. It requires work. More than time, bereavement takes effort to heal. Mourning is a natural and personal process that only you can pace. It cannot be rushed and it cannot happen without your participation.

4. When needed, find the strength to take action.

As a newly widowed person, there may be urgent financial and legal decisions you must make following the death of your spouse. You have just suffered an emotionally devastating event and the last thing you want to deal with is money matters. But money does matter, now and for your future, so try to do the best you can. Postpone, however, any decisions that can be put off until you feel better emotionally.

5. Work to tame your fears.

When the first impact of death wears off, you may feel you are losing control. This is a normal part of the grieving process. Unlike mental illness, the strong feelings suffered during grief gradually and permanently disappear. Because you may experience a feeling of temporary instability, it’s important to remember that you have the ability to cope. This is a time when much of your adjustment to widowhood takes place.

6. In your own time, in your own way, you can say goodbye.

The present, with all its pain and sorrow, is the only reality you have. Memories are very important, but they cannot be used as a shield against the present. At some point in your grieving, you will be ready to try to say goodbye.

7. Stress can wreak havoc on your health.

The effect of grief on our health is just beginning to be measured. While guarding your health can be among the least of your concerns during the throes of grief, you must work toward maintaining your health as soon as you feel able. This means beginning some form of regular exercise, getting proper nutrition, and reporting physical complaints to your doctor.

Before I close, let me pray for you:

“Lord Jesus, I join _____in prayer during this extremely painful time of loss.  Even during this time of pain may she experience Your comfort, peace and direction.  Wrap Your arms of love around her.  May there be sincere people around her to give love, comfort and encouragement as well.  May she find comfort in the eternal hope that You offer to all who love You.  Shower her with many blessings. AMEN!”

****if you have confirmed that the person has a personal relationship with Christ, then you could add this or use it in a subsequent email:

Being a Christian you surely know, that death, as painful and confusing as it is, is not the end of life – John 11:25-26; John 3:16; John 14:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

God does permit trials, sufferings and death of loved ones to we might see our need to trust Him all the more – 2 Corinthians 1:9.

Leave all regrets with the Lord.  If there is something to confess, do so, but don’t dwell on it.  Accept the forgiveness and move on – 1 John 1:9.

Trust some people around you for for emotional support and encouragement.  Stay involved in your church.  When ready to do so, give thanks to God for the good times you had with the person who is now gone.  By doing so you will in time, if not immediately, learn to accept God’s will for what has happened.  In time you will be able to be of help to others who are hurting.

 

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