One of my best friends is struggling with how to comfort her daughter’s intense grief. Her eight year old daughter, Elizabeth, is sad about the death of her best friend. Elizabeth isn’t comforted by thoughts of heaven, she wants her friend back and sometimes, even many months later, she cries like her heart is broken.
I know how she feels because Elizabeth’s best friend was my daughter who fell asleep in the Lord shortly after her eighth birthday. In the five years we fought her cancer, my husband and I dealt with the fear of death in a deeply personal way. I still cry about not getting to be with my daughter Mary Evelyn in this life and I expect that I always will, but there are better and worse ways of living through this loss and I hoping to find the better ways.
Recently, our priest suddenly reposed. Everyone in our parish had seen Mary Evelyn’s baldness and illness, but Father Jacob seemed fine until days before his death. Death and our feelings about death is a huge issue for adults and children alike and our little parish is dealing with a lot of them at once.
In an upcoming series, we will explore an Orthodox perspective on death and grief with a special focus on how to comfort children. If you have any questions, comments or resources to share, please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
photo credit: Grace Segars