Your beliefs may be challenged as you question the meaning of the loss. Some people find comfort and strength in their spiritual beliefs, but others feel abandoned at a time of great need.

If your faith has been important to you, this can be one of the most unsettling aspects of grief. However, you may find that your search for answers eventually leads to spiritual growth.

Whatever your beliefs, even if you are agnostic or atheist, it can be helpful to explore questions about life and death with someone you trust. This process of ‘meaning-making’ can allow you to work the loss into the story of your life and find a new way of being.

Tips for exploring the spiritual impact

  • Draw on your spiritual resources in whatever way is best for you. For some, this will mean praying or going to a place of worship. For others, it will be a walk on the beach or in the bush, or listening to inspirational music – whatever reminds you of a different perspective on life, and a larger way of seeing your situation.
  • Talk about your feelings with a spiritual care practitioner (pastoral carer, chaplain or religious leader). There will usually be one on the palliative care team. You can also ask the hospital social worker if there is someone you can talk to. Accept that having doubts or concerns may be part of a process leading to a stronger sense of your own spirituality.
  • If it feels right to you, follow the mourning customs of your religion. Some people find these provide a reassuring structure for their grief.

This information was last reviewed in April 2017
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