How Can I Cope with the Loss of a Loved One?
The grief accompanying the loss of a loved one is as inevitable as death itself. Mourning is a painful process, but relying on God can help you get through it. Here are four ways that faith can help you cope with grief.
Allow yourself to grieve
Pain. Sorrow. Anger. Numbness. These are all natural feelings we have when we are coping with the loss of a loved one. None of these feelings are wrong or faithless. Experiencing the emotions that come with grief is part of being human.
“To every thing there is a season,” the Bible explains. “A time to be born, and a time to die … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1—2, 4). Knowing that death and grieving are necessary may not soften the pain, but it can make happiness sweeter in its season. Grief is not a weakness, an imperfection, or a sign of wrongdoing. It is a necessary part of mortality.
Express your feelings
God knows you will experience grief in this life, but you’re not meant to go through it alone. He wants you to seek comfort. “Blessed are they that mourn,” taught Jesus, “for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Relying on God and others can relieve your sorrow and give you support.
Express your grief to God
Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He prayed to God, His Father, for strength and guidance. Pour out your soul to God in prayer. He will help you feel His peace and love.
Express your grief to friends
When Lazarus, a friend to Jesus, fell sick and died, the community went to his sisters Martha and Mary “to comfort them” (John 11:19). Accept the service and listening ears of people around you who want to help. When you’re ready, it’s important that you share your loss, your pain, and your anger. Martha conveyed her frustration that Jesus had been away when Lazarus died. Jesus showed His love for her and wept with her.
Ask questions and search for answers
Coping with death can draw us closer to God, but it can also cause us to question His plan. We can take our questions to God in prayer. We are promised, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7).
In the holy scriptures, God provides answers to many difficult questions about life and death. Here are some questions you might have, along with answers found in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon:
The uncertainty of death can add to grief. But Job answered this question confidently: “Though... this body [be destroyed], yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26). Because of the Resurrection of Jesus, “in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Death is the separation of a person's body and spirit. After death, the physical body returns to the earth, but what about the spirit? The Book of Mormon explains that “the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life” (Alma 40:11). All spirits will be reunited with their own resurrected bodies and will be brought to stand before God.
Yes. When Jesus was dying on the cross, a thief who was also being punished asked the Lord to remember him in heaven. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
We can find great healing, comfort, and peace in Jesus, our Savior. Jesus knows our pain because He felt it first. He can heal us. One of the Savior's roles is “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). Pray to feel His peace and healing power in your life.
God knows how you are feeling. Because He loves you, He mourns with you when you grieve. He wants you to be happy—and He’s made that possible.
The Holy Spirit brings peace
The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter in the Bible. The Holy Spirit has the power to “comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:2). People who experience this divine comfort describe it as warmth, fullness, calmness, and peace. It is the fulfillment of Jesus’s promise, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27).
Jesus overcame death for all
Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and Resurrection, “the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death” (Mosiah 16:8—9). We will all be resurrected and can be with our families and loved ones again. In the meantime, we can find hope and healing in the love of Jesus Christ.
You are promised joy
Happiness is God’s very purpose for your life. Our joy won’t be constant, but “God shall wipe away all tears from [your] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The pain of grief is real—but so is the peace that comes from God. If you are coping with the loss of a loved one, surround yourself with every resource for support and peace. Through prayer, scripture study, and the support of loved ones, you can find real hope and comfort.