If there ever was a season designed to help us move through grief after a loved one’s death, that season would be Lent. Just like the stages of grief we all must go through, Lent involves a series of passages: from darkness to light, loss to gain, fear to trust, sorrow to joy, and ultimately, from death to life.

Lent is a season that is deep and wide with passages that can help us walk through our grief. We’ll look more closely at some of those passages and see how they help us move through this time of bereavement.

Moving from darkness to light. While it may seem far away as Lent begins, and far removed from the depths of grief, the hope and the faith that there is more than this earthly life, that death does not have the final word, does bring light into our darkness as we move through this season. Look toward the light and hold on in hope!

Moving from loss to gain. We should also remember that the measure of our loss is the measure of our love, the measure of our pain is also the measure of our gain, in the sense that our grief reveals to us the many ways our life has been blessed by the gifts and presence of our loved one. Grief affirms not only what is lost but also what remains—the love, the gratitude, the memories, and the hopes.

Moving from fear to trust. When you feel caught in the grip of fear or anxiety because of your loved one’s death, remember that Jesus too had his night of great fear and anxiety, his night of anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. Perhaps remembering his response—entrusting himself completely to God’s care—can show you the path to take with your own fear.

Moving from sorrow to joy. Faith reminds us that joy is available even in the midst of our grief and loss because in God’s hands, nothing and no one is ever lost. Separated from us for a time, yes, but not lost.

When we walk through this season with the support of loved ones, spiritual resources to nourish us, and an abiding trust in the goodness of God, we will indeed reach our own Easter Sunday of healing and wholeness. Though we may start our season of grief in ashes, it will be completed by our rising to new life.

Excerpt from “A Lenten Journey Through Grief” by CareNotes.

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