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Does having your faith help you deal with loss of a loved one?


26 replies to this topic

#1 mum2jp

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:04 PM

I am christened but was not brought up going to church. I do class myself as a christian, if asked what religion i am. DH is religious, he has strong faith and believes when you pass away you go to rest in a better place. This seems to bring him and other people i know with faith comfort when having lost someone. I want to believe i really do. I wish i had faith but i just can't without any doubts believe 100%. I love the idea and hope in my heart it is true but i have no way of convincing myself of this. I hate that i always feel this doubt, i tell my young son that people have gone to heavan and i feel like i am telling half truths as i don't fully believe this myself.

#2 Angelot

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:24 PM

I think it can help you deal with loss, but it's complicated.

On one level, death is the ultimate confrontation with meaninglessness, and I think that's where faith helps because faith is - in part - about finding meaning.  

But at the same time, everybody - faithful or not - grieves.  And faith doesn't take grief away or make it any less hard, although sometimes it helps you find meaning in your grief.  Sometimes people of faith make the mistake of thinking that their faith means that they shouldn't or don't have to grieve, and their faith can actually become an obstacle to something they need to do for their own well being.

Maybe it would help you to do some reading on ideas about heaven, and see if you can identify which bits seem helpful to you, and which you would reject?  Being less vague about what "fits" for you and why might help you reduce the doubt?

#3 CountryFeral

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:33 PM

My Dad had a strong faith - but he seems to have lost it completely along with Mum.

He was doing CPR on her for quite a long time when she had her heart attack - and they were trapped by a storm and blocked roads so no medical help could reach them.

My sister and I suspect her asked his God for help and feels that he didn't come.  Now he can't forgive him.

He cannot understand why God would take this wonderful woman from him, and from us.   It is so very sad to witness.

#4 item

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:50 PM

I was agnostic before my daughter died. Her loss has shattered any beliefs I may have had about a god or heaven (was brought up Catholic). I now consider myself an atheist.

I feel deeply envious of those who have faith and who genuinely believe in a heaven or life after death; they often seem to have a measure of peace about death.  I wish I could bring myself to believe that my beautiful daughter still existed somewhere and that I will see her again and get to hold her.  But I just don't. I found it incredibly hard to accept this about myself.

#5 Ehubrydd

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:00 PM

OP have you considered taking a leap (of faith wink.gif ) and asking God in prayer for the gift of faith? It can't hurt, right?

#6 Owl_Little_Girls

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:01 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 03/12/2012, 09:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it can help you deal with loss, but it's complicated.

On one level, death is the ultimate confrontation with meaninglessness, and I think that's where faith helps because faith is - in part - about finding meaning.  

But at the same time, everybody - faithful or not - grieves.  And faith doesn't take grief away or make it any less hard, although sometimes it helps you find meaning in your grief.  Sometimes people of faith make the mistake of thinking that their faith means that they shouldn't or don't have to grieve, and their faith can actually become an obstacle to something they need to do for their own well being.

Maybe it would help you to do some reading on ideas about heaven, and see if you can identify which bits seem helpful to you, and which you would reject?  Being less vague about what "fits" for you and why might help you reduce the doubt?


Great post.

When I lost my mum, my faith grew. To some point I think it was because I wanted to believe she wasn't alone. While we grieved for the loss of such a beautiful person, and still do, she is no longer in such awful pain. For me, knowing she is no longer feeling that, helped in a small way. I also have faith that one day we will meet again.

Edited by Owl_Little_Girls, 03 December 2012 - 09:03 PM.


#7 Ehubrydd

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:02 PM

QUOTE (item @ 03/12/2012, 09:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was agnostic before my daughter died. Her loss has shattered any beliefs I may have had about a god or heaven (was brought up Catholic). I now consider myself an atheist.

I feel deeply envious of those who have faith and who genuinely believe in a heaven or life after death; they often seem to have a measure of peace about death.  I wish I could bring myself to believe that my beautiful daughter still existed somewhere and that I will see her again and get to hold her.  But I just don't. I found it incredibly hard to accept this about myself.


I'm so sorry your daughter died sad.gif

#8 mitty82

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

I dont really say i have faith, Im  not sure I even believe in God as such but I think there is a heaven or something greater. I guess I feel I have to believe it cos it would hurt to much to think that after our loved ones die they are no longer in any way or form.

I was in yr 4 when i lost my younger sister didnt really know what happened or was happening. I have since lost my lovely grandfather and then my oldest brother committed suicide so therefore i couldnt blame god.

Not even a year after we lost my FIL and then my grandmother and just recently my husbands aunt who was more like my grandmother. And I just dont know about god, after we got the news Sunday morning about our lovely Aunt I turned to my husband and asked him 'why do all the good ones go, why?''.
I do believe there is a heaven and they are all up there partying and enjoying themselves waiting and watching us live until we get to see them again.

It is the only thing I can hold onto at the moment. sad.gif

#9 feralangel

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

My mother has.  It gave her a profound sense of comfort and peace when she was facing her own mortality. We (the family) were hysterical with fear, but she was unafraid, the epicentre of calm.  Her faith informs every part of her life and she wasn't going to abandon or question it when things turned bad.

#10 LittleListen

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

I have been a strong Christian for many years.

Since my brother died earlier this year (also a strong Christian) I have experienced very similar issues to what Ange has described. I am grieving, but I also have the assurance of my faith. It doesn't change my grief or the depth of my feelings or loss, but I have a different view on the eternal nature of that loss.

Yes, my faith helps, but yes, it is complicated. If there wasn't the potential for doubt, then it wouldn't be faith.

I think Ange has a good suggestion here. All the best OP.

#11 mibi

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:20 PM

I have faith in God and both my parents had a strong faith. We lost them both 6 weeks apart- 3 weeks either side of my DD being born. It has been a terribly difficult couple of years. I miss them every day. But both my and their faiths give me comfort. I know that their prayers were answered in the end. I know I will see them again. But that doesn't mean I haven't been angry or hurt by God. I have been and at times I still am-but that is part of the grieving process and also a part of life's lessons. Having faith doesn't lessen the pain and despair of grief, but I guess there are times when I feel God, when I know he is there and carrying me, holding me close to Him. Does it help me understand death-I don't think so. I don't understand it. And I never could imagine how much it hurts. But I guess my faith helps me accept it- that there is a greater plan in play, than just my life and my wants and needs.

#12 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:29 PM

My faith was always a bit choppy, I'm a bit of a doubting Thomas and wasn't raised in religion, but I've always felt a "pull" towards the divine. I thought it would bring me comfort in loss, as it had through other trauma in my life. But instead it evaporated somewhat when my Dad died. I just felt overwhelmingly alone, that there was no justice, there was no afterlife, there was only his cold dead body where there should have been MY dad, and if there was a God he was some kind of a*s*hole for coming up with this whole, 'oh well I'll just create you all and set it spinning, set up some rules the sit back and judge you' thing.

My heart just ached so much, I turned to the church and found the content there to be empty, just platitudes designed to make us all feel good about being the right kind of people who will be ok when we die. It disgusted me, it seemed too simplistic, too sure, I just felt in my bones that it was all much more complicated and less comforting than all of that.

I prayed, and prayed, and just felt that no one was listening. I'd always considered myself to have a relationship with the Spirit but instead of feeling the light, I just heard the echosinside my head. The Universe suddenly revealed itself to be so cold and empty and chaotic. I think my anger just closed me off. It hurt too much to try, and try, and pray and pray, and then feel unheard.

There is something in me that is still drawn to my faith, I still feel a rumble and a whisper, but I feel there is no church or spiritual home for me, and I still feel too raw to really try to have a 'relationship' with the Spirit at this time.

#13 soapy

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:39 PM

I loved reading this:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/quantum...6-1226507452687

Would be nice if it was proven right or wrong one day. I love the comments, lol.

I myself do believe the soul goes on and after losing 7 family members in 7 years it gives me comfort. There was one time I was at a special place on a loved family property that I could have sworn my Dad was there with me and my son. Another when my Nana was on her death bed. I felt her presence standing next to me. Weird I know but the feeling was so strong. It was like that feeling you have when you sense someone is  looking at you so you turn around to see them there (even though they are making no sound).

QUOTE
There is something in me that is still drawn to my faith, I still feel a rumble and a whisper, but I feel there is no church or spiritual home for me, and I still feel too raw to really try to have a 'relationship' with the Spirit at this time.


I must admit that I don't talk to 'God' like I used to since some of my close family passed. Like if he couldn't stop that then what is the point. However I still take comfort in knowing I am loved. My Mum used to listen to Christian music and sing around the house so happy when I was a kid. She was well involved with the Church. I don't think she will be the same again but I see her gradually getting back some joy in being a Christian.

Edited by soapy, 03 December 2012 - 09:41 PM.


#14 la di dah

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:40 PM

I have to answer this a little sideways.

I have faith. I believe in G-d. I believe he created the world. I have a religious perspective on the world. I identify with a religion and a culture that has a belief system I tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum for pretty much all the time. (Not always at a particular end or point of it or in keeping with the congregation I was raised in, but somewhere) So in that way, I have faith.

But I don't believe in EVERYTHING about pop-culture views of the afterlife. I don't believe that the minute you die you get a harp and wings and float around seeing if your relatives maintain annual family baking traditions or whatever. That you'll get there and everyone will be as you remember them and you will be you and your childhood dog will necessarily bound up to see you. I don't believe we become angels at all actually.

Sometimes I wish I did. But believing in G-d is not perfect comfort in that regard. Not for me. Having and observing a religion doesn't equal no loss.

I actually, I don't know if this is common, I know a couple religious people (not Christians though, I don't know that it works from a Christian mindset) who don't believe in Heaven.  They believe and they honour G-d and they PRAY... and not for an immortal life they think they're going to get in the sky. In some ways I think they're very pure. To them it's a philosophy and a commandment of how to live in life, I was told "its how to be, not what you get."

#15 Angelot

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:49 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 03/12/2012, 10:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I actually, I don't know if this is common, I know a couple religious people (not Christians though, I don't know that it works from a Christian mindset) who don't believe in Heaven.  They believe and they honour G-d and they PRAY... and not for an immortal life they think they're going to get in the sky. In some ways I think they're very pure. To them it's a philosophy and a commandment of how to live in life, I was told "its how to be, not what you get."


Christian perspectives vary (when don't they?).  I think most Christians semi-consciously accept that Christianity means believing in "going to heaven," where you get to watch over your loved ones and meet up with them someday.

I don't believe that.  I don't think Christianity's foundational documents support it.  I do believe in eternal life, in a physical (but transformed) body, after a resurrection at the end of this world; but I think the people who are currently dead are more akin to being asleep in God's keeping than being angels.

And I definitely agree with the statement that this whole gig is about how to live, not earning rewards in a later life.

#16 la di dah

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:56 PM

Sorry about my whole huge post. I was thinking about it. I think faith helps a little. It helps me a little. It doesn't make everything okay.

And hearing about other peoples' faith that my relatives or whatever are in Heaven doesn't help me at all. "Oh, he's in a better place" does very very little for me. It's a well-meaning thing to say and I don't get mad, that's about it.

On the other hand, it's a good thing I don't run my beliefs by committee, other people have told me everyone I've ever loved who's died is in Hell. And that doesn't really impact my faith either. I guess disbelieving in that is really bedrocked by my faith though, so yes that is an aspect of loss with which my faith helps.

#17 CallMeFeral

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:06 PM

It gives me comfort to think my mother is not completely 'gone', even though I only half believe it... I emotionally can't let go of it. I don't know if that makes it a yes to helping me deal with it.

It certainly gives my dad comfort, he feels her still and talks to her, five years after her passing.

On the other hand, her death turned my somewhat Christian cousin into an atheist. I can see his reasoning - I certainly can't believe that everything happens for a reason, or that there's some master plan, or that things will work out for the best, since she died. Everything in our family has just gone downhill since she went.  I believe in some sort of spirituality but not a God like in the bible - it doesn't make sense.

I guess it doesn't always work the same for everybody.

#18 MamaTwo

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:11 PM

I don't think my faith has helped with deal with the loss of my darling brother but I still believe I will see him again. I had a strong faith before he died, I believed in my faith because I had no reason not to, or rather I trusted. But that has gone now and the religious traditions I keep now seem very empty. I feel i will never have the same relationship with God again, i still feel so angry amd cheated. I think the other members of my family who were previously very religious feel the same way too. It all seems a bit pointless. However, the one sibling who is an atheist is definitely struggling the most with griving but maybe it's just a coincidence. Reading the other posts has made me so sad. I hope we all find some peace.

#19 Angelot

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:14 PM

QUOTE (CallMeAliG @ 03/12/2012, 11:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I guess it doesn't always work the same for everybody.


No, it really doesn't.  People who basically believe in the same God can have very different intuitions about what is holy, or different levels of openness to change, or different approaches to relationship, or sense of purpose.  Those kinds of things shape how we construct our understanding of our losses.

I just wanted to say, too - I realise I've been posting quite dryly in this thread.  But to all the people who have posted about their losses, I'm sorry for your loss, grief and pain.

#20 CallMeFeral

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:16 PM

Item... I'm so sorry. That is my worst nightmare. sad.gif  cry1.gif

Pooks - that was very eloquently put. I totally agree. It's probably what my cousin went through too (he was VERY close to my mum).

To be honest, I cling to some strange experiences and coincidences that occurred around mum's death, as proof that she's not gone. But I'm well aware it's clinging, and not to very much.

#21 katieface84

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

I consider myself Agnostic. I was raised a Christian but I'm not sure what I believe, I do sincerely hope there is something better waiting for us after this life.

After my atheist younger brother committed suicide earlier this year I struggled so much to come to terms with it (I still am). It saddens me so much that he was in so much pain and in his mind it was going to be all over with nothing but eternal darkness but that was still the better option sad.gif

I have to believe I will see him again one day. it's what keeps me going.

Edited by katieface84, 03 December 2012 - 10:28 PM.


#22 Chchgirl

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:24 PM

In a lot of ways, yes it has helped me, although it is still not easy by a long shot..

#23 Magenta Ambrosia

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:37 PM

I don't believe in an afterlife, but I know people live on our memories and stories. I find it comforting to know it's all just the cylce of life and there is no higher being to blame or ask why. I find the idea of an interventionist God leads to much disappointment.
I like the idea that we are all just universal energy residing in human form and afterwards we just become part of that non physical collective energy again.

#24 jayskette

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:51 PM

Anyone who is influenced by external sources especially if they are positive will find comfort in such external source when something happens to them that is beyond their control.  That's why there are creation myths and religions in this world.

#25 crackles

Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:12 AM

Simple answer 'yes'

QUOTE
i tell my young son that people have gone to heavan and i feel like i am telling half truths as i don't fully believe this myself.

Considering that nowhere in the bible does it mention that u go to heaven when u die that feeling is valid



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