12.4.5.2 Support for the bereaved

Grieving must be allowed, and the bereaved must also be offered support by the minister. It is important to visit the bereaved, to express one's sympathy for them, and to pray with them. It is frequently difficult to reach the heart of a mourner at all. Ultimately, this will not succeed without the endeavour to empathise with the bereaved.

Providing comfort for relatives through pastoral care may require weeks and months, and might in some cases even continue for years after the death of a beloved family member.

Often there is a fear of saying the wrong words to the bereaved and thereby reopen wounds. It is important to impart a feeling of genuine sympathy. Despite possible reservations, persons close to the bereaved–relatives, brethren in faith, friends, and ministers–should reach out to the bereaved. "Fail not to be with them that weep, and mourn with them that mourn" (Ecclesiasticus 7:34).

See also