Working with bereavement and loss is one of the most challenging aspects of a therapeutic process, as death can feel so agonising and final. All deep losses feel overwhelming and excruciating. Grief and loss can suck all hope and joy from daily life, and drain away any sense of motivation and purpose for the future. During the recent period of our global pandemic; death has been stripped of that most vital component of the final days of life, namely to be surrounded by those who love us most. The chance to say ‘goodbye’ with dignity and love did not ease the grief of loss but did at least give us a sense of completion and closure. To be robbed of this has bought further devastation to an already intensely devastating experience.
In some ways this next videos is almost the most important one in the website but also has been the hardest one to do. I am well aware how very broken and painful are many of our hearts. The deep sense of questioning anger; and the outrage we feel that the people we need the most are no longer with us. I have tried very hard to be wise, sensitive and careful with my words and if by mistake a hit a raw nerve then I apologise deeply. Not with one breath would I want to add to the terrible emotional burden you are carrying already.
I have watched a loved one die of cancer in their fifties. I have watched my children’s pain at losing their father and struggle still, to some degree, to come to terms with their loss. There are no easy words here. No trite sentences to alleviate the pain. Doing that would undermine the great value of the person you have lost. To infer that you can recover quickly from the loss of one you loved so deeply, would indicate a complete lack of understanding of what death and loss actual is. They are gone and nothing can bring them back.
I have also touched on other aspects of loss here. The dreadful loss of well-being and security (and innocence if it is in your childhood) that comes with sexual abuse. The ghastly pain of an unwanted separation or divorce. The loss of trust and peace that is the pathway of those who live with addiction. These, and other situations of loss, cause deep deep pain in the life of those who have had to endure them.
Can God help? Yes. Because He will be with us through every step of this grief and pain of loss and will never leave us. He will be by our side every step of the way. His Everlasting Arms will always be available to hold us when we grieve, but also when we howl and rail against the deep tragedy of our loss. And He will want to bring a deeper place of safety and security both inner and outer.
He will want to lead to you to a local community of His family, because He does not want to leave you to cope with this alone. And if His people don’t always say the right thing; please TELL THEM! You are their best resource to help them truly get to know what it means to understand this anguishing journey. I know the church very well now. I cant guarantee they will always get it right. They are not trained counsellors. But I can tell you that the vast majority of those who truly desire to display the compassionate heart of Christ will always be wanting to get better at loving the people around them. One of the last directives Jesus gave to His disciples before he went to be reunited with his Father ( Yes; the crucifixion story has an amazingly wonderful ending!) was LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
We are all learning to care, listen, support and reach out in love. God cares profoundly, we care deeply. Do not walk this path alone.