Should I Feel Relief When Someone Dies?
Letting go of Things I Cannot Keep
Not every death is sudden or unexpected, thrusting grievers into shock and denial. For many, death is anticipated, planned for and welcomed in a way. For those watching and waiting, relief is a natural outcome. Sometimes those left to keep living feel guilty about the sensation of relief. They may question and doubt their love for the person who died.
I’d like to assure anyone who is reading this that the expression of relief after the death of someone we love can be natural and normal. Think about this, your loved one no longer suffers. In time, other feelings of bereavement will surface. But for now, allow yourself permission to be grateful the one you supported is at rest, no longer laboring to breathe; no longer in pain. In a while your pain will begin. And just as you lived through the process of letting go, you will live through the process of finding yourself once again. After the death of her husband, chaplain, Barbara Crickenberger, once wrote, “I must learn to let go of the things I cannot keep and cling to The One I cannot lose!” That One is the One who loves you most and will never leave you. You can count on the presence of God to comfort you as you continue on your grief journey, allowing whatever feelings you have to run their course and be healed.