Q: My mother died recently after suffering for years with cancer. The hardest part has been having people tell me what a blessing it was that she died, since she’d suffered so much. Well, maybe so, but don’t they realize how much I miss her? Hardly anyone ever expresses any concern for my loss. — N.R.
A: I can certainly understand your feelings; I’ve often seen this happen, both in my own life and the lives of others. Don’t conclude, however, that your friends are unconcerned about you or don’t understand your grief. Many do (even if they don’t express it very well), because they too have lost loved ones.
People often feel inadequate or awkward in the face of death, and they may not know what to say to someone who has been touched by the loss of a loved one. Their words may be well intentioned, but (as you’ve discovered) they may not always be well chosen. Sometimes, I’ve discovered, it’s best to say very little when we first meet a bereaved friend; simply being there will be a great comfort to them. Later God may give us opportunities to speak more fully with them.
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But listen: Even if others don’t understand your grief, God does — and he wants to assure you of his constant love and presence. If you have never done so, turn to Christ and welcome him into your life. You can trust his promise: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
In addition, don’t hesitate to share your grief with a few close friends or relatives. They’ll understand your hurt, and they’ll want to help share your burden. The Bible says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.