Loss and Grief for Children (and adults)

Adapted from the All Saints Communion Service on October 28, 2018

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Children’s Message on Loss & Grief

Have you ever loss something or someone special?   

Maybe you couldn’t find one of your favorite toys or perhaps a friend has moved away. 

When you loss something or someone, you will feel all sorts of emotions.   

Maybe you will feel sad. 

What do you do when you feel sad? 

Cry; anger; shocked silent (make faces and have kids mirror) 

When you lose someone or something you might feel relief, even some happiness. 

If a bully left school, you might feel relief about that.  

Sometimes when we lose someone or something we can feel guilty –  

Feeling like we did something wrong or wishing the past was different.  

That’s when confessing and saying sorry can be very healing and helpful.  

Sometimes we learn we didn’t do anything wrong at all!  

Guess what?  

All of these feelings are okay! And you might feel them all in the same day!  

At some point, we all lose something – whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a dream.  

Loss is a part of life, but the good news is that you don’t need to be alone with all these feelings. 

Jesus knows what it feels like to loss someone and will be right there with you. 

Jesus loss his friend Lazarus and was sad and wept. 

John 11:35, “Jesus wept” 

Jesus cried with others.  

Then a miracle happened. 

Jesus brought Lazarus back. 

Some people were shocked, some were happy, some were confused, and some were even angry. 

Jesus brought Lazarus back to show us that sadness does not last forever, but that after loss there is new life.  

When you lose someone or something, 

Jesus understands and will be with you, 

No matter what you are feeling. 

So, when you lose someone or something, 

you can talk to all these disciples of Jesus, 

and you can talk directly to Jesus yourself through prayer.   

Let’s pray. 

Jesus, sometimes we are sad.  Sometimes we are angry. Sometimes we are happy.  Sometimes we feel sorry for a mistake we made.  No matter what we are feeling, help us to talk to you and share our feelings.  Thank you Jesus for understanding and being with us. Amen.  

 Image result for arms outstretched letting go in dark

Dealing with Hard Emotions (for adults) 

As adults we know that It is not easy to face our emotions, especially painful emotions like guilt, anger, or resentment. 

The process of grieving calls us to sit with the hard emotions and eventually let them go.  

When we avoid the hard emotions, they usually express themselves at the wrong time or in the wrong way. 

Guilt is one such emotion that is a relatively common feeling that arises after a loss. 

Guilt around what could have been or should have been. 

The guilt can weigh us down and keep us from accepting the new life God is forming for us. 

Confession gives us the opportunity to admit any guilt we are holding, 

Whether it’s false guilt or true guilt. 

In a world with pressure to always have it perfectly together, this time of confession allow us to admit our struggles.  

The Good News is that when we bring the heavy emotions to God,  

God can lift them off our shoulders and free us to new life.  

Unison Prayer of Confession: 

Merciful God, sometimes the pain of grief is too heavy to bear.  Help us bring our pain, our guilt, our anger, and our resentment to you.  Sometimes we hide in busy chaos, fearful of what you might say in the silent calm.  Sometimes we bury our hurt until it lashes out on an innocent stranger or caring friends.  Forgive us Lord and help us to deal honestly and humbly with the pain in our lives.  In this silence we acknowledge to you the feelings we try to ignore… 

Words of Assurance: 

Jesus weeps with us in our sorrows, in time wipes away our tears, and lifts us up to a new life of overflowing love!

Honoring Our Loved Ones after Death

As Christians we believe that the crucifixion and death of Jesus was not the end of the story,  

but only the end of a chapter. 

We believe in the Resurrected Christ, the one who came back from death to show us the power of everlasting love. 

We believe in the promise of eternal love and Jesus’ offer for new life. 

The promise for new life and eternal love is not only for those who have died; it is also for us still living on earth. 

The time of mourning does come to a close and a new life emerges.  

Sometimes there is the false belief that if we mourn forever it will prove our love and devotion to the one who has died.  However, book of Ecclesiastes famously says, “there is a time for mourning and a time for dancing.”    

It is not that our loved one is replaced, but that we come to accept our new reality, a new life.  

Grief does not need to last forever, while love surely does continue.    

The shape of love might change, but Love continues, surpassing all death and despair. 

There are many ways to show love after one has died.    

How do we honor these people who have shaped us and the world in which we live? 

It can be very healing to honor our deceased loved ones by living with the blessings they brought into our lives. 

We might ponder, “if my loved one was still alive, what would bring them joy?”   

My great-grandmother loved baking brownies.  So my grandmother bakes brownies in her honor for every family gathering.  The week before my wedding grandma and I made great-grandma’s brownies in joyful memory of her. 

Perhaps your loved one enjoyed cooking, but you are so great in the kitchen – a contribution to the food bank or CROP hunger walk might be a special way to honor them.  

If she cared deeply about education and children, mentoring young people or a contribution to the Woodward House Education Program would be quite fitting.   

If she was always making friends or desired friendship, maybe it’s making a new friend at the women’s group or signing up for community emails.  

The particular means depend on your loved one and your gifts.  

However you decide to honor your loved ones,  

May it be done, not out of guilt or obligation, but in joyful remembrance of the saints who have gone before.  

In giving we join the saints past and future in the building of God’s kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven.