Condolence wishes can truly bring us comfort. They communicate that others share our grief. The word “condolence” comes from the Latin word meaning “to feel pain”. But others cannot truly feel how deeply we are suffering. They cannot know the conflicted feelings within us. Their expressions of sympathy can only go so far in easing our grief. And yet, their wishes do serve to remind us that we are not alone in our sorrow, that others also cared for and will miss our departed spouse (friend).

When my husband of forty-five years died suddenly, I received many such expressions of sympathy, letting me know how much he would be missed. Condolences were expressed his visitation and funeral, in phone calls and in cards. Many of the condolences were from people who had known him from his work or hobbies or service activities – people I didn’t even know. Each time I heard from someone, I felt God easing my sorrow.

Of course, there is one person who truly knows the pain you feel, someone who suffered everything that you can possibly suffer and wants to walk with you and share the burden of your grief.

Enter into a time of silence, opening yourself to God. In your mind, picture Jesus, looking into your eyes and reaching out to you. Rest under God’s loving gaze. When ready you may conclude your quiet time with:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your love. You alone can see into my heart and know what I am going through. You endured all the pain that I am suffering and more. But the death of (my spouse … friend) has left me feeling weak and alone. I ask you to stay by my side Open my heart to others who reach out to me along the way. Hold me in your love and guide me. Lord Jesus, be my saviour and my friend. Amen.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. – Psalm 34: 19