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Ask the Patriarch 126
On Grieving

from Jodi

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Although I may not have known what the term “Agnostic” meant when I was a child, I’ve always found it impossible to believe in the unbelievable. Yet, after the unexpected passing of my father I feel transformed from a 31 year old independent woman to a little girl who needs her Daddy now more than ever.

I feel the need to believe in something, to let me know that there is more than just nothingness after death.

I’m an Agnostic and no religious sermon is going to preach away my concerns and as of yet I haven’t heard of any scientific proof that there is life after death. I feel like I’m in some kind of mourning limbo. I’d like to ask for some profound explanation that will bring me comfort, but I know that doing so would be asking the impossible.

How do Agnostics find comfort when they have lost a loved one?

The Patriarch replies:

Jodi:

I am sorry about your loss of your father, and that you are having a difficult time dealing with it.

As you noted, there are no easy answers, and I think that even many of those with religious beliefs have difficulty coping with an unexpected death, particularly when it is before the person's time. "God's plan" is not a satisfactory answer even to some of those who believe God has a plan.

At the risk of sounding platitudinous, I think we have to find our comfort from friends, family and memories - and this applies regardless of religion.

Some resources I will suggest:

  1. In our Clergy resource site, there is an article written by Tanya Hannis on grief counselling which may be useful - Counseling the Terminally Ill and the Grieving
  2. From Web4Health - How to Get Over Grief
  3. From Helpguide - Coping with Loss: Guide to Grieving and Bereavement