Living in the Aftermath of Death

We all have different ways of coping and healing during the aftermath of the death of a loved one. For some, it might take longer than others to heal and adjust to life after the death of a loved one.

Contributing Writer
Published Jul 12, 2022
Living in the Aftermath of Death

Living in the aftermath of the death of a loved one is a huge undertaking for anyone. Whether we are young or old, coping with the death of a loved one is difficult and filled with daily challenges. It is normal and healthy to grieve the loss of our loved ones. Even though grief manifests in different ways for different people, it is still needed in order to cope with the absence of our loved ones.

Having to Live in the Aftermath

When we lose a loved one, it changes our life. Whether we lost a parent, a sibling, a partner, or a friend, it causes great pain and agony. To live without that person in your life is unbearable at times.

In my own family, I don’t have many members left. I have my two sisters and my dad, but everyone else has passed away. My grandparents on both sides have passed on as well as my uncle, our family dog, and my mother.

Each of these losses has affected me, but by far, the death that affected me the most was the passing of my mom. If you have lost your mom, you know the pain that comes along with the death of a mother.

Our mothers are supposed to be our safe places and the person we can talk to over anything. After they pass away, we don’t really have that “one” person that is like our moms.

Sure, we can talk to friends, other family members, and therapists, but it’s not the same as talking with our moms.

Losing our mothers is difficult, but it is equally different to lose other special people in our lives. I know after my mom passed, I felt as if no one could relate to me. People would give their condolences, yet I felt it was all rehearsed and fake.

None of these people had known my mother the way that I did. Therefore, in my mind, I felt no one truly understood the pain I was feeling. I was in my first year at college at the time and from my limited perspective, all I saw was everyone living perfect lives with their perfect families.

I didn’t fit in with my severed family and the lacked joy in my heart. I felt alone, isolated, and crestfallen as did my sister when we walked the halls, holding a pain that could never have been fathomable to us in previous years.

In other words, it was hard to heal when everyone around you couldn’t relate to what you were feeling. In this way, I personally felt alone.

Not As Alone

Over the years of grief and healing, I have learned that I’m not as alone as I first thought. Many people I’ve known have also lost loved ones in their lives. One of my close friends lost her fiancé due to an unexpected accident.

My friend exhibited great strength and grace through her loss. She never once became bitter toward anyone else because of her loss, and sadly, I could not say the same about myself.

I grew quite bitter through my loss, and it was not until the past few years that I have been able to not be as callous and cold.

It has been hard for me personally not to feel bitter when I see families together with their mothers because inside of me, I wish I still had my own mother to talk to.

Maybe in your own personal loss, you feel the same way. It can be hard not to feel bitter at times, but it is vital that we follow my friend’s example rather than allow bitterness to grow in our hearts.

It is also vital to remember that while we are living in the aftermath of the death of a loved one, God is always with us (Hebrews 13:5). He will never leave us nor forsake us. Through the bright times of life and through the dark times of life, God is always with us.

Psalm 23:4 tells us this beautiful truth, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Through every season and through every changing of the seasons, God is with us, and He is never going to leave us alone. Even if everyone in our life passes away, we are never truly alone because God is always with us.

Coping with Loss

“It's not that I don't feel the pain, it's just I'm not afraid of hurting anymore” (“Last Hope,” Paramore).

Coping with the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult. It’s not something that is going to just happen overnight. It takes time to cope and heal.

While I do not personally believe one can completely and fully heal from the pain of a loved one passing away, I do believe one can cope and heal as best as one can.

God doesn’t want us to live a life of bleary darkness and to allow bitterness to grow in our hearts. If we are always upset, broken, or bitter, we will not be able to shine brightly for Christ.

Yes, dealing with the passing of a loved one is extremely difficult, yet God doesn’t want us to stay in these dark shadows for the rest of our lives. He wants us to allow the light to come back into our lives, but there has to be healing in order to get there.

I know for a long time I was convinced that I would never be happy again. In fact, I felt guilty anytime I would laugh, smile, or have fun. I thought that somehow being happy meant that I was sinning or that it meant I had forgotten my mom.

These thoughts that I had were of course false because it is not a sin to heal nor is it a sin to laugh, smile, or have fun. I hadn’t forgotten my mom then and I will never forget her.

I do know that my mother would have never wanted me to isolate myself or grow bitter because of her death, yet I did both of these things.

She would have pushed me out into the world and challenged me to find happiness and joy again. I did find happiness and joy again in Jesus. The only reason I’m here today is because of Him. I know that for a fact.

I am able to face each day now because of Him. Knowing Jesus has changed my entire life and has given me a purpose in my life. I can use the pain and heartbreak of the past to help others feel less alone in their own struggles.

In the same way, through your past pain, heartbreak, and struggles, you can help others know they are less alone. All of our pain and suffering are not forgotten by God (Psalm 56:8). No matter what type of loss you are going through today, know that God is with you, and He will help you heal.

We all have different ways of coping and healing during the aftermath of the death of a loved one. For some, it might take longer than others to heal and adjust to life after the death of a loved one.

We shouldn’t judge those who heal faster, and we shouldn’t judge those who take longer. Grief and healing are difficult processes that shouldn’t be rushed or pushed upon someone. If you are living in the aftermath of the death of a loved one, know that it will get better.

The pain will lessen over time the more you are able to connect with God and others. I don’t personally believe the pain will ever fully go away until we are with Christ, but I do believe the pain can lessen over time.

For further reading:

How Should a Christian Respond to Grief?

What Is the Significance of ‘Jesus Wept’ in the Face of Death?

6 Loving Things You Should Say to Someone Who Is Grieving

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/standret

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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