This page is here to provide a starting point in understanding grief. Listed are a few resources to jump-start the process. (If you have any additional electronic resources, we’re open to seeing them; send them our way).
One local support group option: GriefShare.
Focus on the Family (note the additional links at the top of the article)
The Five Stages of Loss and Grief (some, like Westberg, break it down to 9 different stages).
Christian Book Distributors (for those who want to go deeper)
Good Grief by Granger Westberg (a short but good read)
Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey (and outstanding popular level read that addresses these questions).
Pastor’s Note to the Grieving
Let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. Then for your own sake I’d encourage you to proactively get help. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling your close friends, family or church what it is you need. They can’t read your mind, and they might be completely lost as to what you want. Those that love you ache for you and want to help. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling your intimate friends you need them near you. Sometimes you need professional help. In either case, please take the initiative.
As far as Scripture goes, the Psalms are full of David’s honest and angry cries to God. You can express your grief, your hurt, your anger towards God. It’s not “un-Christian,” or somehow less than acceptable.
Pastor’s Note to Those Near the Grieving
When tragedy strikes someone we know and they’re grieving, I suspect every single one of us wonder what we should (or shouldn’t?) do. That’s normal.
Let me recall my own personal experience in the hopes that it provides some insight. It’s not definitive–it’s just what we experienced.
When Wendy and I were grieving our loss, we wanted our close friends to gather around us. Badly. Quite honestly we didn’t want nominal friends around, but we definitely wanted our trusted and intimate friends near (if you are a casual friend–a heartfelt sympathy card might be enough).
Here’s the catch, though: we were too proud to reach out to them and tell them we needed them. But if they asked, or reached out to us, or just stopped by, or even called and told us they were coming by (i.e., they didn’t ask–they announced), we appreciated it. We deeply appreciated it.
If you have a close friend who’s grieving, you’ve already earned the right to be there. In many ways, you’ve incurred the obligation. Make your presence felt frequently. They need you.
One more thing: don’t ever feel like you have to have answers. Sometimes there aren’t any. Don’t ever feel inadequate because you don’t know what to say. Say nothing; that’s fine, maybe even preferable. Your presence is the most important thing.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget when a good friend of ours came over one afternoon. He didn’t say anything. He just broke down and cried for our loss. That might rank as one of the most powerful moments of my life.
Just my thoughts.