a strong religious belief can help he bereaved

Apart from gender, how we grieve is also determined by
culture, and, while not as prominent now as previously,
religious belief is an intrinsic part of Irish culture. It was
certainly a strong part of Irish culture in 1990, and it was
deeply embedded in people like Mary and me, born in the
mid-1940s. Religion can have a positive or negative impact
on how we grieve, but some evidence suggests that parents
with a strong religious faith fare better in grieving terms than
others. They suffer less anxiety and depression. Some feel that
giving back the child to God is his will, and that he will be as
good a parent as they were. It is inconceivable to most parents
that their child is not in Heaven, and hence it fosters a belief
in the existence of Heaven among them.

A strong anger at God may co-exist with strong religious
faith. Sometimes this anger may last a long time. Apart from
feeling anger at God, the bereaved may lose their faith on the
basis that a loving God, and a God who was loved by them,
allows such tragedies to happen. The negative thoughts
following a tragedy may even cast doubt on the existence of
God, and this loss of faith may continue for many years. On
the other hand a strong religious belief may sustain the grief-
stricken. The Christian faith is not only based on the love of
God, but on the suffering of Christ, and the bereaved may
feel that they are sharing in that suffering. I certainly felt like
that at times, although I’m not sure that it ameliorated the
pain I was feeling.

When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family. Published by Veritas

Posted in Bereavement Grief and Loss, Complicated Grief, Death of a Child
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