Death, Dying & Bereavement
Most of us, at some stage in our lives, lose someone we love. The pain of our loss can leave us feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.
During this period of restrictions to our normal flow of daily life, this can be particularly difficult. Perhaps we are geographically distant from the person who is dying or from our grieving families, perhaps we cannot be with the person we love when they are in hospital because of the restrictions, perhaps we cannot attend their funeral service, or perhaps we simply do not know what the implications of the lockdown will be. Saying goodbye to the dead and the dying is even more difficult at the moment than usual.
A pandemic like Coronavirus can also make us more aware of our own life and death. We are confronted by death every day, on the news as well as in our relationships. As others are facing death, we are reminded that we must all, one day, follow.
We can also at the moment be reminded of loved ones that died some time ago. Sometimes the journey of grief can be prolonged, can be up-and-down, and can seem very lonely.
The Chaplaincy is here for any student or staff member who is saying goodbye to a loved one, mourning their death, or asking questions about our own mortality. The Chaplaincy can also help if you have practical questions about death, such as if you are organizing a funeral or would like to hold a memorial service when lockdown is over.
Whatever you are going through, please do get in touch if you would like to speak to a Chaplain.
May you find comfort and peace in knowing that you are not alone.
A passage from Kohelet; a book from the Tanakh - the Hebrew Bible.
These Hebrew writings are translated into Greek and English as 'Ecclesiastes' and it is also used in Christian liturgy.
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Islam - News of Death
When the news of death in the family reaches the relatives and friends, the first thing that they should say is the following Qur'anic verse (2:156): "Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un [Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return]."
DO NOT DESPAIR - "Do not lose hope of Allah's mercy, for verily Allah (can) forgive all sin." Al-Qur'an 39:53
Islam - Patience
Relatives of the deceased are obliged to be patient, practice self-restraint, and gracefully accept Allah's decree, because Allah has already promised mankind that He would test them.
"Verily I will test you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life, and the fruit (of your labour), so give glad tidings to the patient ones." Al-Qur'an 2:155
Islam - Bereavement
To grieve is to love, and the deeper one's love is for someone or for the community at large, the deeper the grief for his or her loss. When we mourn the death of a loved one, we feel raw, angry, anguished, vulnerable ... you name it. The pain can manifest in a variety of ways, and the coping mechanisms vary from person to person.
One seeks great comfort in Allah (S)'s wisdom and justice when such tragedies hit, as stated in verses 155-157 from Surah Al Baqarah:
“…but give glad tidings to As‑Saabiroon (the patient ones). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones."