Spring is usually thought of as the season for celebrating new life. We see green grass springing up, tiny leaves unfolding and flower buds pushing from the earth. Birds begin to sing and baby bunnies abound. But for hearts grieving the loss of a loved one, signs of spring can be a painful paradox. How can the world be celebrating life when we are constantly surrounded by death?
The only way to truly understand death is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of the hope of eternal life with Him and our loved ones we can find ways to cope with the pain of loss.
Ironically, some of the best ways to honor a deceased loved one are through symbols of life. Perhaps you can plant a tree or bush in your yard or in a public place in memory of your loved one. Or you may wish to take flowers to your church or to someone who is ill or homebound.
Holidays are often difficult times for those grieving a loss. Finding someone else to help can reduce your own pain. Try gathering toys for needy families at Christmas in honor of your loved one. If he or she had a particular hobby or interest, go with that theme. For example, collecting teddy bears, trains or sports related items may be meaningful for you. You could also establish a tradition of volunteering your time to serve at a local soup kitchen or shelter each year on your loved one’s birthday.
Another way of coping with loss is to make a scrap book of your loved one’s life. Start at the beginning and use as many pictures as you can of important life events. Include favorite sayings and other things about the person that made him or her unique. Try to focus on the happy times you shared and how they helped you to become a better person. These memories of your loved one can continue to encourage you if you allow it.
Remember that life is fragile. Don’t take a single day for granted. Be aware of your influence on those around you. Forgive those who have wronged you, whether or not they ask for it. Life is too fleeting to hold grudges. “As for man, his days are like grass: he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16).
Resolving to live the rest of your life in a way that will honor the memory of your loved one is a lasting way of coping with your loss.