12.4.5.3 Coping with grief

Support for the bereaved and coping with grief belong together. Support for the bereaved serves to encourage the bereaved to speak about their loss and express their feelings. It should be possible for the bereaved to speak with the minister openly about their sadness, fear, anger, feelings of resentment toward God, and feelings of guilt. At such moments in particular, it is the minister's task to remind the bereaved of the positive and cheering experiences they enjoyed with the departed.

In fellowship with other mourners, the bereaved feel understood and accepted in their grief.

Making the bereaved aware that Jesus Christ also suffered and died is helpful in coping with grief. The resurrection of the dead is also based on the resurrection of Jesus. He shares in Christ's victory over death: "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living" (Romans 14: 7-9).

SUMMARY

The dying and their loved ones need support and comfort. (12.4.5)

Faith imparts the certainty of eternal life and eases the process of dying and taking leave. (12.4.5.1)

A dying person's fear of death must be taken seriously and not interpreted as a sign of lacking faith. (12.4.5.1)

A special element of pastoral care for the dying is the celebration of Holy Communion with their minister. (12.4.5.1)

Grieving must be allowed. Grieving individuals are offered pastoral care. This may well extend over several years. The important thing is to visit those who are grieving and impart to them the feeling of genuine sympathy. (12.4.5.2)

Pastoral care for the grieving serves to encourage them to talk about their loss and give expression to their feelings. In coping with grief it is helpful to be reminded that Jesus Christ also suffered and died. (12.4.5.3)

See also