My post today is a collection of blessings, scriptures, poems, and prayers, dedicated to all my single Christian sisters and brothers who have lost someone near and dear to them through death.
Death of a loved one is that inevitable life event that no one wants to go through, but must, to stay in the human race.
The first two years are the worst, the hardest.
The first year is getting used to missing them, functioning without them.
The second year is getting used to them not ever, ever coming back to us. Ever.
I don’t think you ever get over missing a loved one who has died, no matter what your relationship was like.
One of the girls in our singles group texted a group of us minutes ago that she’d lost her dad just today (Saturday), long after I had begun this post. I hate to welcome yet another fellow believer to the ancient and shadowy land of mourners who have lost their fathers.
You might have lost a parent or a mate through disease or an accident. You might have lost a coworker or a child. You might have lost your favorite cousin or best friend or a beloved pet.
Perhaps your good neighbor was shot, or a wayward niece finally succumbed in an overdose. One of your siblings might have committed suicide. Or a friend’s son was killed in a war.
It might have been expected, or not. The fact that death was very eminent did not make it any less painful when Death finally took your loved one.
It does not matter as much how they left, as the fact that they left. And they’ll never come back.
They left you hanging, emotionally unsteadied, stumbling, with your fingers squishing your crying eyelids and a insurmountable, inconsolable throbbing emptiness that struck all the way down to the bottom of your pulsating heart.
Sometimes you weary of crying. Then you remember a time you shared with your loved one. Something funny. And you smile. Laughter doesn’t feel right, right now. Maybe another day. But that sure was funny when that happened. I can smile about that.
You blink. The memory evaporates.
Stepping back into today… The smile fades as you look outside. Brisk and bright, or cool and cloudy, you think I miss him/her/them. I wish they were here. It hurts so much that they left before me.
The autumn months are colorful in many areas of the United States. Autumn reminds us that winter, with all its wonderful holidays and gatherings and comfort foods, are right around the corner. Yet, if you have recently lost someone, autumn and winter and holidays bring unwanted memories. The winter chill—even in Southern California, where I live—is not only outside. It’s inside your soul.
The person or pet you lost will not be with you this time around, and it stings. Perhaps you first missed them last autumn or last winter. It hurts just as much today, or at least it seems, as it did last year.
I cannot promise you that things will get better or feel better, or when you will stop missing your loved one.
I don’t think you ever really get over missing a loved one. Really. And that’s okay.
I do hope that you will find some measure of comfort in the following lines, especially if you have lost someone in the last two years.
Please note that I have included a few prayers from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish traditions to offer a connection back to the Biblical roots of many of my readers. Don’t mistake me for an ecumenical or a liberal. I’m including these prayers because, no matter our backgrounds, we all experience the same types of feelings when someone we love very much leaves us through the portal of death which we will some day also have to go through.
* * * * *
They are blessed who grieve,
for God will comfort them. Matthew 5:4 NCV
My dear single Christian friend,
May the Lord our God bless you
and gently kiss your heart,
breathe life into your shrinking soul as
crying into the night.
May He wipe each tear
gently, tenderly, into His bottle of tears which
He has made
only for your tears,
your tears of sorrow for loss.
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. Psalm 6:6 NLT
You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and
preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book. Psalm 56:8 TLB
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 NLT
How painful it is to the Lord
when one of his people dies! Psalm 116:15 GNT
If Tears Could Build A Stairway
If tears could build a stairway
And memories were a lane
I would walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again
No farewell words were spoken
No time to say goodbye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why
My heart still aches with sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one will ever know
But now I know you want me
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store
Since you’ll never be forgotten
I pledge to you today
A hallowed place within my heart
Is where you’ll always stay
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 AMPC
A prayer for the loved ones of the departed from the Catholic tradition
Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend
and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted,
grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.
Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us
lest we make hasty or foolish decisions.
Send Your Spirit to give us courage
lest through fear we recoil from living.
Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace
lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.
The Lord has given.
The Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Do not let your heart be troubled. You have put your trust in God, put your trust in Me also. 2 There are many rooms in My Father’s house. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going away to make a place for you. 3 After I go and make a place for you, I will come back and take you with Me. Then you may be where I am. 4 You know where I am going and you know how to get there. John 14:1-4 NLV
An ancient mourner’s kaddish from the Hebrew tradition
Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God’s majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel—speedily, , imminently, to which we say Amen.
Blessed be God’s great name to all eternity.
Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel,
to which we say Amen.
May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. Psalm 18:28 NLT
Mourner’s prayer from The Book of Common Prayer
Grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, and who walk as
yet by faith, that thy Holy Spirit may lead us in holiness and
righteousness all our days. Amen.
Give courage and faith to those who are bereaved, that they
may have strength to meet the days ahead in the comfort of a
reasonable and holy hope, in the joyful expectation of eternal
life with those they love. Amen.
Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand,
to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness
of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting. Amen.
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b NLT
An old Irish blessing in Time of Sorrow
May you see God’s light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall –
You do not walk alone.
For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:31-33 NLT
* * * * *
Again, my dear single Christian friend,
especially if you have lost a beloved mate in your journey
and now find yourself facing the rest of your life without him or her,
and not wanting to go on,
my heart goes out to you.
Your tears are my tears.
Your sorrow is my sorrow.
If we could sit across the table from one another
enjoying a cup of coffee or nursing some tea
all morning, I would love it.
I would love to hear your stories,
stories of how you met your honey
stories of your dates, good, bad, funny
stories of how you got engaged
funny things that happened at the wedding
how your life changed after you got married
how your life is so painfully different
now that they are gone
we could eat scones and drink tea and talk and smile and laugh
and you could show me your photos and videos
of a life well-loved
Since I cannot be there—
I say to any and all who have lost a loved one, not just a mate—
I pray that you will find a closer friend who
can share your memories with you
and thus share your burdens, if only
Please also find a group of mourners
in your area
persons who have experienced loss
like you have
perhaps even the same kind of loss
like you have
You will find them gathering in hospitals and community centers and hospice programs
cancer treatment centers and mental health clinics and people’s living rooms and churches
Please, dear friend, go join yourself to them
and share your heart with them
Walk alongside them, when you can
and when you can’t, you’ll soon find some of them
slowing down to keep up with you
They understand the painful, slow, shadowy path
you must now walk
let them share the burden with you
let them bring a measure of healing
a bit of light
a bit of life
a new courage
a new hope
and a re-introduction to a new life worth living
The day will come
when the sun won’t seem
too bright for your heart
or for your tears and memories
and you won’t even notice.
Gentle blessings on you, on your journey, on the smoldering love in your heart, as you bravely walk through autumn and winter and the holidays alone with Jesus. I’ll see you later.
Appleseeds.org. Irish blessings, prayers, proverbs, toasts, and poems.
http://www.appleseeds.org/Irish-Blessings-Prayers.htm accessed 10/16/16
Catholic Online. Prayer in time of bereavement.
http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=3142 accessed 10/15/16
The Episcopal Church. Burial of the Dead, Rite One, from The Book of Common Prayer.
thefuneralpoem.com. Famous funeral poems by Anonymous.
Reformedjudaism.org. Mourner’s kaddish.
http://www.reformjudaism.org/practice/prayers-blessings/mourners-kaddish accessed 10/16/16