Questions & Answers: Dealing with Grief

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“I lost a dear friend recently. How do I deal with the grief?”

The death of a friend is one of the most difficult trials you can face. Grieving is a normal feeling after such a loss. You feel sad because you cared for your friend. “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die” (D&C 42:45).

Some of the difficult feelings that can come during the grieving process include sadness, anger, hopelessness, fatigue, loss of interest in activities, and feeling overwhelmed. But at the same time, people who grieve often feel peace as they seek the Lord and draw near to Him; they are receiving His promise: “Blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (3 Nephi 12:4). Grief hurts, but it also heals.

As you work through your feelings, try to focus on the positive. Treasure the good memories you have of your friend. Pray to feel the Savior’s peace and comfort. Find hope in Heavenly Father’s love, goodness, and plan of salvation.

Feeling grief doesn’t mean that you don’t have faith. President Thomas S. Monson spoke in general conference about the loss of his wife. He said, “To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth of my feelings.” He then spoke of trials and concluded: “We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us” (“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 85, 87).

In what ways could your friend’s death inspire you to be better?

Combine Grief and Faith

Grieving is not a bad thing. (It can become bad, however, if you’re constantly depressed.) Combining grief and faith is the best way to adjust to the hardship of losing a loved one. Think about your friend now, in the spirit world, and what your friend could be doing. He or she loves you and wants you to be happy. Learning about the spirit world can increase your understanding of the plan of salvation and bring peace, hope, and faith. Don’t forget to pray to Heavenly Father for help. Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, know exactly how you feel and will help you if you ask sincerely.

Mary G., 14, Virginia, USA

God Loves Your Friend

Even though it’s hard for you to deal with grief, our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation can comfort you through the Holy Ghost that someday you can meet your friend again. And remember that life here on earth is just a very short moment for us to be tried and tested. Our Heavenly Father is providing a place for your friend. God loves His children.

Marvin S., 16, Metro Manila, Philippines

Be Happy for Your Friend

When I have lost people I love, I try to remember that our Heavenly Father has a plan for them and that I can see them again. We can be happy for them because they do not have to suffer the afflictions of this mortal life any longer. It hurts that they are not physically present anymore, but we can look forward to being with them again.

Ariadna T., 19, Mexico City, Mexico

Find Help in Scriptures

A good friend of mine recently died in a tragic car accident. I have found comfort through coming unto Christ. I had to gain a testimony of Christ’s love for each one of us; I had to understand who we are as children of God; and most importantly I had to understand God’s plan and will for His children. As I turned to Him through scriptures, church, and Church materials, I was able to gain that testimony and feel peace and comfort. Especially helpful was the youth lesson titled “How can I find comfort when someone I care about dies?” All of the scriptures, articles, and videos referenced in this lesson are amazing and have changed my life.

Madilin N., 18, Iowa, USA

Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as official pronouncements of Church doctrine.

About Suicide

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

M. Russell Ballard

“The act of taking one’s life is truly a tragedy because this single act leaves so many victims: first the one who dies, then the dozens of others—family and friends—who are left behind, some to face years of deep pain and confusion. …

“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth.

“When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth. …

“Suicide is a sin—a very grievous one, yet the Lord will not judge the person who commits that sin strictly by the act itself. The Lord will look at that person’s circumstances and the degree of his accountability at the time of the act.”

From “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 7, 8.

Death Is Part of God’s Plan

“It has been hard for me to live on earth and see these young men upon whom we have leaned for support and comfort taken from us in the midst of their youth. Yes, it has been hard to be reconciled to these things. I have sometimes thought that I should have felt more reconciled to have been called away myself if it had been the will of God; yet I know we ought to be still and know it is of God, and be reconciled to His will; all is right.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 178.

Upcoming Question

“Some of my friends think that going to church is a waste of time. How can I help them see that it can be a great blessing?”

Send your answer and photo by March 15, 2015.

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Responses may be edited for length or clarity.