In our ASK THE DOCTOR section of our website, we recently received the following question:
"Why is the sting of death so difficult to deal with?"
Bob P.
I answered:

Dear Bob;
I assume that someone important to you has died. That death may hurt for several reasons. Among them are:

* The death of a loved one is a major loss. If it was your wife who died, your grief will sting deeply. When someone who intimately shared your life is gone, it can feel like your heart has been ripped out of you.

* Social scientists who study stress have found that the death of a spouse is at the top of the list of major causes of emotional distress.

* Whether the deceased was your wife, a parent, child or friend, your pain will be made worse by any regrets, guilt, frustrations or anger you may have.

* The death of someone close to you forces changes into your life. If change is difficult for you under normal circumstances, it will be even more stressful under these circumstances.

* You may have to change such things as your daily routines, move to another house, make do on a reduced income or modify your self-identity. For example, you are now a widower and no longer a husband. You have entered another season of your life.


Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 tells us, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born. A time to die." The season for your loved one to be in your earthly life is over. And now you are experiencing the time to weep and mourn. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

The fact that your grief is so painful can also be a testimony of the quality of love you had for the deceased. If you had not loved deeply, you would be indifferent, relieved or even happy about the death. If you loved, then you were blessed and your love blessed the life of the person you now mourn.

Allow yourself to cry, otherwise you run the risk of developing physical illnesses. Find friends who will allow you to talk about how you feel about the stressful changes in your life. However, don't wallow in your grief.

Balance your weeping and mourning with prayers of appreciation that God allowed your loved one into your life. Write in a journal about the qualities and experiences of that person that you truly celebrate. If s/he positively impacted your life, praise God for it. If there was any negative impacts forgive that person. Otherwise, your anger will prolong your pain.

God promises to comfort those who love Him. Pray and ask Him to comfort you. Remember, "God makes all things work for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Given what you are feeling right now, it may be hard to imagine how He will do it, but trust Him. God keeps his promises.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Helen Mendes Love, MSW is a Christian Life Coach, Author and Speaker. She is a former Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California and at Pepperdine University. She is President of Mendes Consultation Services which she founded in 1976 to help people cooperate with God in effectively dealing with their challenges of everyday life.

She may be contacted at or e-mailed at