Grief

At some point in our lives, we will each experience the loss of someone important to us. Grief moves, shatters, and changes us in various degrees.

In our faith tradition we often hear words of promise like those from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, “Where, oh death, is your sting?” but in the midst of grief these words can sound like piercing daggers because we are all too aware of the sting that death has brought to us.

In grief, we continue to come back to the promises of our faith. Even Paul, in saying “Where, oh death, is your sting?” was making the argument that because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, death no longer has the last word.  We have been given the gift of eternal life in heaven with God.  But even with that promise, when we are mourning the death of a loved one, we still need a God who knows the pain of loss.  And our God does know the pain of loss; the Psalms remind us that God hears our pain: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). The beatitudes remind us that mourners are not forgotten: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). And even Jesus wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus.

The promises of eternal life are to be a comfort to us, but the Bible is also clear that when you are grieving, God also weeps with you, God mourns with you, God seeks to hold you through the long and difficult journey of grief.

At Christ Lutheran we also seek to hold you through the long and difficult journey of grief.  Our pastor and youth minister are available to walk with you through this time. Just call the church office for an appointment.

 

We also hope the following resources may be of use or bring some comfort to you.

Local Support Groups/Centers:

Children’s Bereavement Center 

Books:

“A Grief Observed”- C.S. Lewis

In April 1956, C.S. Lewis, a confirmed bachelor, married Joy Davidman, an American poet with two small children. After four brief, intensely happy years, Lewis found himself alone again, and inconsolable. To defend himself against the loss of belief in God, Lewis wrote this journal, an eloquent statement of rediscovered faith. In it he freely confesses his doubts, his rage, and his awareness of human frailty. In it he finds again the way back to life. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

 

“A Time to Mourn, A Time to Dance” – Margaret Metzgar

Association for the best book in the psychology/self help category, was written as a comforting resource for those experiencing loss and grief. This beautifully illustrated book approches this subject with sensitivity, recognizing that those trying to understand and cope with loss have an impaired ability to concentrate during this time. Margaret Metzgar encourages the reader to proceed slowly, giving oneself the gift of time, even when it comes to reading this book.

 

“After the Darkest Hour” – Kathleen A. Brehony, PH.D.

This inspiring guide to coping with the loss of a child combines the author’s own story with the experiences and wisdom of others who have gone through this tragedy.

 

“Deeper Still: For those who Grieve”- Paul Ginsburg

Is there aything to gain from loss? Deeper Still is about people who have drunk deeply from the cup of suffering. One of them being God himself.

 

“Grace for Grief-Daily Comfort for those who Mourn”- Michael and Brenda Pink

This book contains 365 Bible passages from GOD’S WORD with heartfelt, “prayer-like” responses that express the anguish of the soul and cry of a grieving person during their first year of loss.

 

“Healing After Loss” by Martha Whitmore Hickman

For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, here are strength and thoughtful words to inspire and comfort.

 

“If I Could Mend your Heart”- Mary I. Farr

Filled with words of comfort and compassion to help ease the pain of grief and loss, this book opens the heart to healing. Soft to the touch and warming to the soul, it offers inspiration to those who need it most.

 

“Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs”- Tomie DePaola

This autobiographical picture book was one of the first to introduce very young children to the concept of death. Given its graceful treatment of a difficult subject, it has been a parental staple ever since, and a new generations of readers will be glad to discover this timeless tale in a lovely new edition.

 

“Seasons of Grief and Healing- A Guide for Those Who Mourn”-James E. Miller

Drawn from Jim Miller’s best-selling Winter Grief, Summer Grace, this book includes the helpful features of the original-a compassionate exploration of feelings; inspiring passages from the Bible, poetry and great literature; and simple renewal activities that help readers move through stages, or “seasons,” of grief at their own pace and in their own unique way.

 

“Signs of Life” – Natalie Taylor

The emotional memoir of a young woman’s way back from the dark place of loss.  “Signs of Life proves that even in the worst of times, under the most difficult conditions, things still grow, and even thrive, in the broken places.” – Laura Zigman, author of Animal Husbandry

 

“Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living through Grief when an Adult Brother or Sister Dies”- T.J. Wray

When T.J. Wray lost her 43-year-old brother, her grief was deep and enduring and, she soon discovered, not fully acknowledged. Despite the longevity of adult sibling relationships, surviving siblings are often made to feel as if their grief is somehow unwarranted. After all, when an adult sibling dies, he or she often leaves behind parents, a spouse, and even children—all of whom suffer a more socially recognized type of loss.

Based on the author’s own experiences, as well as those of many others, Surviving the Death of a Siblinghelps adults who have lost a brother or sister to realize that they are not alone in their struggle. Just as important, it teaches them to understand the unique stages of their grieving process, offering practical and prescriptive advice for dealing with each stage.

 

“Tear Soup- a Recipe for Healing after Loss”- Pat Schweibert

If you are going to buy only one book on grief, this is the one to get! It will validate your grief experience, and you can share it with your children. You can leave it on the coffee table so others will pick it up, read it, and then better appreciate your grieving time. Grand’s Cooking Tips section at the back of the book is rich with wisdom and concrete recommendations. Better than a casserole! Hardbound; 56 full-color pages. Affirms the bereaved. Educates the un-bereaved. A building-block for children….. WINNER! of the 2001 Theologos Book Award, presented by the Association of Theological Booksellers.

 

“The Faithful Gardener”- Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PH.D.

Told with graceful simplicity, deep feeling, generous humor, and profound optimism, The Faithful Gardener is, at its captivating core, the story of an open-hearted child who listened well to her old-country elders and who grew up to remember, to bear witness, and, as one of the premier storytellers of our times, to remind readers and listeners of all ages of “that magisterial life force within all things that strengthens us in times of turmoil or transition, that faithful force which can never die.”

 

“The Tenth Good Thing about Barney”- Judith Viorst

My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them….

But the small boy who loved Barney can only think of nine. Later, while talking with his father he discovers the tenth — and begins to understand.

 

“Turn Over Any Stone”- Edna Hong

A personal journey through the mystery of suffering and faith.  When Edna Hong learns that her three-month old grandchild is severely brain-damaged, she questions a God who appears silent and indifferent.  For her own sake and for her daughter, the child’s mother, she attempts to unravel the mystery of suffering and pain.  She discovers no easy answers, but in the image of Jesus on the cross, she finds God’s affirmation of life, an acceptance of life’s difficulties, and a way to live with hope and love.

 

“Winter Grief, Summer Grace”- James. E. Miller

James Miller has written this book for those who are in the passage of grief. It is replete with poetry, reflection, and color photographs of nature scenes that communicate peace and quiet assurance. The promise is that God walks alongside the stricken.