End of Life and FaithGrief and FaithSuffering and Faith

When Your Loved One Dies Young, What can we say?


Their first Christmas without him was almost unbearable. When my friends lost their child, they were devastated. Who wouldn’t be, and especially during the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas? It is certainly the most tender time of the year because of our memories of those we loved who have died.


Anytime someone we love dies, it is painful, but when someone we love dies at an early age, it hurts more and begs more questions. When someone passes on who is eighty or ninety years old, we grieve and miss them, but our sorrow is softened by the memory of the many years we had with them.


But when a teen or child dies, we not only feel sadness, we also feel confused and sometimes victimized. Nothing is more unnatural than a parent losing a child. We sense something terribly wrong and unfair has happened. Our hearts cry out, “Why?  This was not fair. Why so early?  Why so young?  I don’t understand. Why?”


No matter where you look, you will never find an easy or simple answer to such questions. It is love, not answers, that helps most. God knows your pain Those who have experienced such loss can find comfort in focusing on God’s love for us in sending his son to suffer and die for us on the cross.


“Just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 We also find comfort from knowing that life is not best measured by the length of our lives, but by the way we use our lives.


Many outstanding people died when they were young. Jesus died young. St. Francis died young. Martin Luther King, Jr. died young. Ann Frank died young.


Ann Frank, a German-born, Jewish diarist and writer, was one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust because of her wartime diary, The Diary of a Young Girl. It has been translated in many languages and has inspired other books, poems, plays, novels, and films. It documents her experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. She only lived fifteen years but made a significant impact on the world.


None of us know how long we will live on this earth, but not knowing the length of our days challenges people of faith to live every day as if we could go home tomorrow. Let’s be grateful for the lives of those we loved and lost. And let us be grateful for the promise of our coming reunion with them in heaven.


It is the season to be joyful and grateful.


Bill Nichols