A Note On How Christians Suck At Death

by Dawn W

It has been 36 hours since my Mama died and I have come to the conclusion that the way Christians do death is stupid. 

Let me elaborate. 

No one wants to say that she died. She’s gone, or passed away, or gone to be in glory. All of these things are true. But also, she died. It’s crass and ugly and so is death. This is really just a symptom of the bigger problem. 

It seems that Christians focus so much on what happens after death that we forget life. People from her church that offer their condolences are offering platitudes about how she’s free from pain and rejoicing with Jesus. “Don’t be sad,” they all tell me, “she’s in a better place.” Again, this is true. I am beyond thankful for my faith–and hers–in Christ and that her eternity is sealed. But really, this is not about her. It is about me. It is about us. Those of us that are left. As Hazel Grace Lancaster said, “Funerals, I had decided, are for the living.”

Her happiness and freedom from trouble does not erase the life she lived or the memories she left behind. It does not change the fact that I had to call my Grandpa and tell him his daughter was gone. It does not change the fact that my mother will not be at my wedding or meet any children I may have. 

She left a hole in the lives of many and dammit, we are allowed to be sad. So while the peace of God is keeping me from having a mental breakdown; please don’t remind me she is in a better place. Acknowledge my grief. Let it be okay with you. If you want to say something, tell me that you love me. Tell me that the situation sucks. If you knew Mama, tell me your favorite story about her. Just please don’t tell me to be happy.