COVER SUBJECT | WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES—HOW YOU CAN COPE
Loss of a Loved One
Ronaldo, in Brazil, was in a car accident that took the lives of five family members, including his mother and father. “I was in the hospital for two months before I was told that they had died in the crash,” he says.
“At first, I could not believe that they were gone. How could they all be dead? Once I realized that it was true, I was shocked. I had never felt such pain. In the days that followed, I felt that life was not worth living without them. I cried every day for months! I blamed myself for letting someone else drive the car. If only I had been driving, they might still be alive.
“Sixteen years have passed, and I have been able to get back to my routine of life. However, their tragic death has left a void in my heart that has yet to be filled.”
COPING WITH TRAGEDY
Grieve over your loss. The Bible says that there is “a time to weep.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) Ronaldo says: “Every time I felt like crying, I allowed myself to do so. Fighting back tears was futile anyway, and I felt relief afterward.” Of course, not everyone grieves in the same way. So if you do not outwardly display sorrow, this does not mean that you are suppressing your emotions or that you should force tears.
Avoid isolating yourself. (Proverbs 18:1) “I tried not to give in to the urge to remain socially isolated,” says Ronaldo. “People visited me, and I welcomed them. I also poured out my feelings to my wife and close friends.”
Remain calm if someone says painful words. These might include expressions such as “It was for the best.” Ronaldo recalls, “Some comments that were meant to comfort me had the opposite effect.” Rather than dwelling on sayings that hurt, follow the Bible’s wise advice: “Do not take to heart every word that people say.”—Ecclesiastes 7:21.
Learn the truth about the condition of the dead. Ronaldo says: “At Ecclesiastes 9:5, the Bible shows that the dead are not suffering, and that fact gives me an inner peace. The Bible also teaches that there is going to be a resurrection and that those who are dead will be brought back to life. So I think of the loved ones I have lost in death as if they were away on a trip.”—Acts 24:15.
Did you know? The Bible promises a time when God “will swallow up death forever.”a—Isaiah 25:8.
a For more information, see chapter 7 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?