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Help! Someone close to me has just died!

Is there life after my loved one has died?
How can I survive it?
How can I move on from the darkness that seems to
surround me?
Why has God let this happen?

This verse from the Bible stresses the nearness of God during a time of mourning and that God really understands the grief involved in death. His own beloved Son Jesus Christ died in his early thirties.



Bible Quote

As Christians how do we deal with loss and grief? And how do we comfort others?

Our society encourages us not to discuss death, but as we all know, it is the one thing that is certain, other than God.

As a minister working in the old copper village of Oakamoor in Staffordshire, I deal with many people coping with the loss of loved ones and friends. I have had personal losses too.

In December 2014, recently ordained and graduated through the Integrated Training Course with the Congregational Federation, I was thinking about what I could do for the general community. A friend mentioned that I might consider CRUSE, the bereavement care charity, to work in the capacity of a Bereavement Volunteer.

After considering, praying, and being selected, I began the volunteer course known as ABC (Awareness in Bereavement Care foundation training) in January 2015. One of the many good things about CRUSE is their ongoing training. We learned about sudden and traumatic death (including suicide), grief in children and vulnerable adults and other important subjects that will help those who have lost loved ones. CRUSE trains volunteers and ‘provides its clients with a consistent and reliable high quality service’.

CRUSE BereavementWhy CRUSE?
The name ‘Cruse’ is derived from a passage in 1 Kings 17:14-16 where the widow of Zarephath’s jug of oil miraculously replenished itself to supply Elijah during a famine. A cruse is a small earthen pot for holding liquids. The cruse never ran out, thus signifying that support would be given as long as it was needed and there would always be a drop of comfort available.

Is there life after my loved one has died?
Yes yes yes!

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. [Psalm 23:4]

We have a Saviour who won’t let you down. Trust in Him.

How can I survive it?
Take each moment in the presence of God. Let him remind you of his promises. Give praise to Him.

How can I move on from the darkness that seems to surround me?

Talk to someone you can share with and who has experienced bereavement. Our trained volunteers are honoured to help.

Why has God let this happen?
It is a new reality: but a reality that you do not have to face alone.

Jesus died and rose again so that those who believe in him can also be resurrected in heaven. Death, as I said before, is the one certain thing that happens to us. We cannot know when it will be, but trusting in the resurrection of the dead will take the sting of death away. Bereavement always follows a loss. Instead of blaming God we need to ask him for his comfort and peace at times like this.

God is faithful and can be trusted to hold us tight in the despair we will feel.

As I was returning home from a CRUSE training session I heard the song, The Living Years by Mike & the Mechanics.

Its refrain: Say it loud, say it clear/ You can listen as well as hear/It’s too late when we die/To admit we don’t see eye to eye (written by B A Robertson, Mike Rutherford © EMI music publishing). It reminded me that it is sad when so many people do not know how to open up to one another and so often things unravel as time goes on and as their children have similar problems to themselves.

The song made me think of my mother and the close relationship we had experienced until she began exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

My mum knew how I felt about her, although we had a difficult relationship, at the onslaught of dementia; I persevered to find my true mum even though she became a changed and a very difficult person. I can still feel the loving care she gave to me and how I am a true product of her passionate Celtic Christian self.

Through counselling, I realised that dementia had had a terrible effect on her, stealing away her happy positive attitude to life. When I thought about this it made me feel so angry. However the last time I saw her, six weeks before she died, she was smiling and happy, and the care workers told me she maintained her Christian attitude throughout. As that was the last time I saw her, it was an exceptionally wonderful time that my four children and I had with her. Sadly I could not be there when she died. But she died knowing, as she had all her life, that Christ was her Saviour and she went into his arms. Praise the Lord!

Talking to a counselor really helped me understand my grief. Don’t wait if you need to talk to someone. Call Cruse today.

Joy Leathers
Oakamoor, Staffs