Death and dying

Death and Dying

This site doesn’t have all the answers, but it does believe that we ought to be able to talk about some of the things that we often suffer in isolation and silence.
Please seek professional help when you need it
Places you may find professional help
Your GP
Your Pastor
Lifeline 13 11 14
The Yellow pages
Look under Counselling …
Look under Organizations – Family Welfare

We live in a sinful world where bad things happen, where there is sickness and death

It happens to others
It happens in our families
It will even happen to us should Jesus not come in our lifetime

Why are we so reluctant to talk about it

Our society doesn’t talk much about death, dying and grief. It even avoids the “D” word as much as possible.

We have all kinds of euphemisms to avoid saying a person has died – deceased, passed away, went to be with the Lord, departed, went to his rest…

From the time Adam and Eve found a dead Abel beside his altar our world has had grieving people and will continue to have until the time when God will wipe all tears from our eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Scripture records

  • Jacob mourning for Rachael
  • Job, having lost his family and health -“I wish I had never been born”
  • David -“Absalom, my son, my son. If only I had died instead of you
  • The mothers of Bethlehem mourning for their babies as Herod’s soldiers depart
  • Jesus, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”
  • Jesus weeping at the tomb of one he loved

The same Jesus – “I am the resurrection and the life …”, “Lazarus, come forth …”
He healed the sick, raised the dead

His intention is that his followers be healing people in a hurting community.  Unfortunately Christians (and others) have very often been unhelpful by:

  • Staying away – “Because I don’t know what to say”
  • Talking too much – “pull yourself together”, “you shouldn’t feel this way”, “don’t be sad/cry”, “lets talk about someone/something else”, “Time heals everything”, “God is punishing you for something you have done”, “God took your loved one”
An understanding of the grief process can help us to realise that what we are experiencing is normal – that we are not going out of our mind.

The Grief process

Shock / Denial – numbness

Emotional Release – God created tear ducts. Jesus has them too


  • · Toward the person – Why did he leave me? Why wasn’t he more careful?
  • · Toward the person responsible
  • · Toward the Dr …
  • · Toward GodPrayer/Writing what you wish you could say to the person (or God) in a letter is often helpful – See Ps 13:1, Hab 1:2 for examples of Bibles writers who have done this.Talking though your emotions with a grief support group/counsellor/friendIf allowed to settle anger can lead to bitterness

Depression = often is anger turned inward

  • · Guilty about being angry with God
  • · Guilty for not doing something to prevent the loss  “If only …”
  • · Guilty over regrets – “I wish …”
  • · I did something to make God angry, God is punishing me for …, God punished …for my sin God is not like that. Jesus took the punishment for our sins.Should be temporary – part of process

Bargaining  · God, what do I have to do to get rid of this grief

Sadness · We shed tears when we get out photo albums …

Forgiveness, Resolution, Acceptance

The path to this point is not a straight line (12 months to more than 2 years is normal)

Stages in Dying –
People dying and their families go through a grief process.

  • Denial – I can’t believe it…, The results must be wrong …
  • Bargaining
  • Anger – Why me
  • Acceptance / permission to die
Supporting others through the grief process

Be there
Be there for the long haul
Listen non-judgementally (Not “you shouldn’t feel that way”, “where’s your faith”)
Encourage them to talk about the loss, to share memories
Meet their needs in a practical ways
Encourage them to remain connected to a support system
Encourage them to maintain healthy routines

Preparing for death – its called life

  • Be at peace with God
  • Make peace in your relationships – let there be no cause for regrets
  • Words of love
  • Words of apology
  • Words of forgiveness – shouldn’t all these be said now
  • Have a valid will – otherwise very stressful
  • Discuss the final remembrance of your life – It is an opportunity for you to make a final statement of love and encouragement to your loved ones
  • Talk about your wishes re organ donation …
1 Thes 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope… 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1 Cor 15: 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”