People experience bereavement in different ways. We all let go of a loved one in our own characteristic way. People are not all psychologically similar, and we come face to face with bereavement in different circumstances. Nonetheless, sorrow has common features for everyone, with the loss of a loved one always causing pain.

Some people prefer to bear their sorrow alone. But usually talking to someone helps people deal with difficult emotions and find new possibilities. The support of family and friends in a situation such as this is often indispensable.

Ministers and other church workers are also happy to help. Talking to people is part of their work and something they have been trained for. Do not hesitate to ask them for help if you think it might be good for you.

Many parishes organise bereavement groups, in which you can talk to people in a similar situation and receive peer support. You can enquire about bereavement groups at the parish office or from church workers.

A perspective of hope

All things must pass, with our time on earth being limited: ‘Human life is but a breath.’ Christian faith brings a perspective of hope to the transience of human life. Everything does not end with death – there is something on the other side. The belief in resurrection and eternal life is one of the cornerstones of Christianity.

This belief gives meaning also to this life, helping those who have lost a loved one to carry on with their lives. We all have our task on earth, and when we have fulfilled that task we are called home to our Heavenly Father.

A Christian burial makes a full circle of the journey that starts with baptism and ends with departure from this world to be with God. It is a way of being part of God’s life that transcends time and death. Death cannot separate us from God’s promises, resonant with the message of love, comfort, and hope.