Mourning a loss
“I don’t know what to say”
How many times have we said this or heard it said? And of course nobody does, because no words are adequate in the face of traumatic loss. Grief is a lonely business.
But it does help to know that others care
People who have been bereaved say that it helps to know that others care, no matter how stumbling the efforts to express sympathy. It hurts to be avoided, so if you know someone who is recently bereaved and you don’t know what to say, at least say ‘Hello’. Some people are good listeners, others provide more practical sympathy, some just a hug, and all these convey caring.
And if you are on the receiving end, be patient with the clumsiness. And maybe make use of help which is available.
But what does the church have to offer? And where is God in all this?
We have lost part of ourselves. Of course it hurts. Of course faith cannot prevent that pain.
Bereavement leaves us confused, disorientated, making previous ways of relating to God seem irrelevant.
Bereavement is exhausting. So many times have recently bereaved people said to me, ‘I am so tired.’ This exhaustion makes it nigh impossible to pray or to worship.
So what difference does Christian faith make?
Worship in the Parish of Prestbury always in some way expresses the Christian hope.
- The Resurrection of Jesus assures us that our loved ones are now with God.
- When we meet God face to face we will know as we are known, and this does mean we will become fully aware of how much we have fallen short of being the people God means us to be. But Jesus died for our sins so we can be confident that our loved ones are safe in God’s loving care just as God loved them throughout their lives.
- God loves each one of us who are left behind and cares about our pain.
- The Resurrection gives hope to those of us left behind that there is a future with meaning and purpose for us. Real life, that is, not just existence.
- God the Creator is always working to create and recreate. ‘When your heart is broken, God takes care of all the little pieces’. As we learn to live without our loved one, God will work with us to recreate our life using those pieces in a new pattern.
OUR PASTORAL TEAM including the clergy is always available to listen and talk through issues of faith with individuals. Phone numbers are in the Bulletin and the Rock, or from the Parish office on 01625 827625
When we can’t pray ourselves others are praying for us. Those we know have died are remembered in our Sunday worship on the Sundays immediately following and our Christian friends will continue to remember us in their personal prayers. If you would like prayers for your loved one please provide details on the forms by the candles or speak to one of the clergy.
Some prayers of bereavement
For someone who has died
I commend into your hands, O Lord, those who have died, and especially (name). I know that you loved him/her throughout her/his life, and so I trust her/him now to your infinite tenderness and unfailing love.
May he/she rest in peace and rise in glory.
A night prayer for the bereaved and all in trouble
Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ, rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Sooth your suffering ones. Pity your afflicted ones. Shield your joyous ones. And all for your love’s sake.
Numb and empty
In my grief, numb and empty I come. I come to give the burden I cannot feel; I cannot feel, for to feel is now too much. Too much, for my hearts too full, too full of anger and unshed tears.
Lord, you wept, knew anger and what it is to feel alone. Let my tears spill over to fill the void of loneliness, of being on my own. Help me to remember the good times, link me with those who know this place I’m in.
Empty I come, to be filled with my tears and your love.
Rochester diocese Mothers Union
See our list of books and support organisations that you may find helpful.
For New Life
O God who brought us to birth,
And in whose arms we die:
In our grief and shock contain and comfort us;
Embrace us with your love,
Give us hope in our confusion,
And grace to let go into new life,
Through Jesus Christ.
A Child’s Prayer
Please listen, God, while we talk to you about (name) who has died.
Take care of him/her, and please take care of us too.
Thank you for the times we had together.
Thank you for Jesus, who shows us your love.
He is close to (name), and he is close to us.
Thank you, God
New Zealand Prayer Book
Why have you let this happen?
Why? Why? O God?
Where are you, O God?
Where are you,
In my pain
Which is also yours?
My God, as I rage at you
With anger and bitterness,
Hold me safe. And stay with me
Until my numb existence
Begins to feel again stirrings of life.
When its too late
It’s too late to say, ‘I love you’;
It’s too late to say, ‘Sorry’;
It’s too late to make that telephone call;
Too late to visit;
Too late to notice pain;
It’s too late to forgive, or be forgiven,
Loving God, I hand over to you my guilt and my regrets
Knowing that it is not too late for your forgiveness
And you will hold me with your love.