Grief and Spirituality

When grieving, you may experience intense emotions, find yourselves disoriented and unable to concentrate, or see that you are not behaving as you usually do. You may feel physically ill, experiencing a variety of aches and pains.  And grief can also can affect your sense of spirituality. 
Whatever your spirituality, losses can really test those beliefs. One of the issues in grief is to reconnect, maybe even rebuild, a faith or a philosophy challenged by loss.

Sometimes that means looking at your faith in a deeper way.  Most religions have long encountered death and loss, and speak to human tragedy in complex ways. Spirituality can bring both comforts and challenges in trying to simplify those beliefs to bring meaning to loss.   

You may find comfort in the rituals that your faith community provides, including rituals offered during illness and after the death. Or you may feel the need to look deeper inside yourself, examining and perhaps even modifying your beliefs as you adjust to life without the person you loved. This may be true especially when the loss was sudden, traumatic, or intentional. As you struggle with questions of spirituality after a loss, the resources of your faith can be excellent guides. Every form of spirituality, each faith, has books and teachers to turn to as you try to make sense of the loss. There also may be rituals that offer comfort and assist your search for meaning. And for many, the support of a faith community can be essential. 

Books such as A Grief Observed, The Shack, or When Bad Things Happen to Good People recount faith struggles and may offer insights as well.

The inherent nature of spirituality is based on connection, which can be a great comfort during grief. 

Developed from Journeys with Grief: A Collection of Articles about Love, Life and Loss, edited by Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D., MDiv., copyright Hospice Foundation of America, 2012.