QIs grieving okay?
aGrieving is a normal process we must all go through. Grief is our reaction to the overwhelming thoughts and feelings which swamp us when we experience a loss. When we think about grief we most commonly associate it with the death of a loved one, but we also experience grief in other ways. For example, we can experience real loss during a divorce, the end of an engagement, or other breakdowns in our relationships. How does one grieve in a healthy way? Grief is healthy when it leads people to acknowledge, understand and accept their loss. The grieving process is hard work and filled with a lot of pain.
QWhy is anger such a common manifestation of grief?
aBereaved people often express anger because they feel a need to blame someone for what has happened. In losing a loved one or relationship, they have also lost a portion of their life. Those of us standing by in support should not try to dampen or control the anger of the bereaved. Allow them to let the anger out into the fresh air where it can dissipate.
QWhen will I feel better?
aGrieving cannot take place unless we identify what we have lost. Following this, we need a mourning period in order to integrate the loss and emerge once more into life. There is no way to predict, collapse or shorten the grieving process. It must proceed at its own pace and in its own time.
QI still feel connected to the person who died. Is that possible?
aYes, this is possible! A human being inhabits the spiritual world and the natural world at the same time. Death does not separate married partners who have worked toward a true love of marriage. We remain connected to our partner in spirit until we can be reunited again after death. For this reason, married partners who loved each other tenderly often still feel connected after the death of one spouse. However, not everyone experiences the presence of his or her loved one. Whether we feel the presence of our loved one or not is no indication of how much we loved him or her. The Lord governs all things, and He knows what will be useful for our eternal happiness.
QWill I be reunited with my loved one when I die?
aThe New Church has powerful teachings about how we are united with others after we die. After death we can meet all our friends and acquaintances of this life, especially spouses and siblings, whenever we want to be near them. When we meet again, we will love each other more than we did in this world.
QWhere can I learn about what my loved one is going through?
aThe New Church draws its insight into heaven and its wonders from the theological work Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg.
“They who dwell in heaven are continually advancing to the springtime of life and to a spring more and more delightful and happy the more thousands of years they live; and this to eternity, with increase according to the progress and degrees of love, charity, and faith…. In a word, to grow old in heaven is to grow young. Those who have lived in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor become of such beautiful form in the other life.” (Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell 415)
By Rev. Mark Allais, Assistant to the Pastor at Glenview New Church in Illinois (www.glenviewnewchurch.org).