Perspectives on grief during Lent

Grief is a terrible, personal experience—everybody goes through it at some point in their life, but it must be processed by each person individually, personally, and privately. Your experience of grief is different than mine, and vice versa.

Grief has been on my mind this week. Not because I’m grieving myself right now, but because two prominent online writers have been chronicling with heart-wrenching openness their experiences with death, loss, and grief. Both accounts are worth reading, and highlight the ways that one’s spiritual worldview affects the way you process the unspeakable pain of losing a loved one.

The first is a series of articles by Meghan O’Rourke (a critic at Slate) journaling her experience of grief after the death of her mother. O’Rourke’s essays are fascinating and moving. While she doesn’t spell out all her religious befiefs, she seems to be writing from a generally agnostic perspective.

The second such account can be found in the ongoing blogging of Amy Welborn, a popular Catholic blogger whose husband died unexpectedly earlier this year. I’m amazed at Welborn’s ability to write so eloquently and publicly about such a painful experience, but I’m glad she’s doing so: her accounts of her family relationships, church interactions, and personal faith in the aftermath of her husband’s death are profoundly insightful. Her account is spread across many blog posts, but many of them can be found here. See in particular her post about what it means for her to “give something up” for Lent after her loss, and another about learning when and how to share “the cross you bear” with others.

Both accounts are worth reading, and as Ross Douthat recently pointed out, they make for interesting counterparts: one approaching death from a secular perspective, the other from the perspective of Christian faith. As Lent continues, and as we think and pray about the grief, loss, death, and hope that marked Easter, it seems appropriate to ponder these things.

(For more resources to help you through grief and loss, see the grief page at

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