Showing posts with label Bereavement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bereavement. Show all posts

When Bereavement Gets Painful


The death of a loved one can have far-reaching and terrible consequences. It can, on the other hand, tap into hitherto unexpected inner resources. 

When grieving leads us to question our faith or trust in God, it may take a long time (if ever) for us to accept the death of a loved one, especially if the death was unexpected, such as in the case of a sudden heart attack, an unexpected death by accident, or the loss of a child. 

For numerous causes, the discomfort persists: There was no time to say goodbye; the way of death left things unsaid; guilt for being the one to stay alive; failure to do enough while the deceased was still alive; the living and the dead parted on poor terms. 


Even the Dalai Lama admitted in an interview with Howard Cutler that he had a lasting sense of remorse in addition to the anguish he felt after his brother's death. 

‘I was away at the time he died, and I believe there was something I could have done to help if I had been there.' 

As a result, I'm filled with remorse.' If one of the most revered religious leaders can acknowledge to such thoughts, then those of us who are less spiritually advanced might take comfort in knowing that even someone as spiritually elevated may experience regret for things left undone. 


While sorrow is a normal reaction to loss, Frances Wilks argues that it is an emotion that "needs the application of considerable imagination to resolve." 

  • ‘We grieve them until we're ready to let them go in order to come to grips with this loss.' 
  • Grief is a gateway from one condition to another, and it is necessary for growth and transformation.' 

Nonetheless, we discover that no other aspect of human life may cause as catastrophic responses as mourning and its overpowering feeling of loss: 

  • Physical: The physical pain of knowing that someone will never be a part of our life again; that we will never be able to communicate to them or explain our actions to them. 
  • Mental: Coping with bereavement's stress, as well as its aftermath and if-onlys. 
  • Emotional: A deep sensation of loneliness or emptiness, frequently accompanied by guilt.
  • Psychological: The loss of a close family or friend can have long-term consequences, particularly if any normal feelings of guilt are allowed to take hold. 
  • Spiritual: A denial and/or fear-based rejection of religion or spiritual belief. 


The end result  is we feel guilty for everything we should (or shouldn't) have done and said. The priest/religion may become the scapegoat for all of the grief and shame that comes with losing a loved one. We might also sense that God has turned down our request for mercy: a miracle.



You may also want to read more about Spirituality and Healing here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.