When someone we love dies, it is natural to question. Over the years, I’ve counseled dozens of people who have gone through crises of faith after someone they loved dies. One woman had gone to church every day of her adult life. Every day. But when her mother died, she was so confused and angry. Some days she forced herself to go, telling me that she was desperate for some sign from God that he was still present in her life, that he didn’t hate her. Other days she couldn’t go because of her anger. This was interesting to me. Her mother was 100 and died of natural causes. For someone on the outside, it’s hard to understand how she could question her mother’s death, but question she did…for over a year. She eventually came to some peace and returned to going to church every day. As a counselor, it’s not my job to talk her into or out of her crisis. It’s my job to walk alongside her as she seeks her own answers. What she realized was that she was taught to believe what she believed, but had never questioned it – had never looked deep within her own heart and her own soul for what she really believed was true. Her mother’s death forced the issue. Her questions were: Is there really a God? Who do I believe God to be? Do I really believe in an afterlife? Will I see my mother again?
We all have our own questions. Some are based on what we were always taught. Some are based on what we think we know. Some are based on our personality and our experiences. Regardless of where the questions come from, know that it is natural to question and that most questions don’t have a solid answer. Sometimes grief is learning how to live without the answers.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC