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How can I learn to accept that the death of our only child was God's will?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
God helps those who help themselves. Do your best, God will do the rest. I am a practicing Catholic.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To have financial freedom to do what I want most, travel, inspire others to make the most of themselves and the circumstances around them.
I have always tried and still continue to be a good Christian, no matter what challenges are posed on me. The most unbearable challenge however was the death of our much wanted well loved only child, Mary Jo in 1997. The pain at times can be so raw and makes me feel so hopeless and feel life is so unfair. How can I really learn to live again and fully accept her death is Heaven's will, so I can live a fully transformed and meaningful existence?
Maurice's reply
Maurice Turmel
I understand that some Christian traditions serve up platitudes like "This is God's Will." To me that serves no purpose whatsoever. That does not soothe your hurt, feelings of loss, and perhaps other feelings, like guilt.

You have not grieved yet, my dear woman. You need a grieving program that will guide you through the emotions and experiences that accompany the grieving process. I can proudly say that my book How to Cope with Grief and Loss will do just that. It is not the only course of action for you, but it did come out of my 25 years of experience working with people who had recent losses and some that dated back 20 and 30 years.

Grief is an emotional wound. Emotional wounds do not heal through our intellect. Simply put, we need to cry our hurt out and a process that helps you do this is the most beneficial. I would recommend 1) a grief support group in your area; 2) a grief therapist for the short term; and 3) a grief resource like How to Cope with Grief and Loss as a handy reference you can turn to anytime.

Too many people like yourself are stuck in the emotional rut called grief. As a part of life, death arrives to teach us lessons. One of them is "we don't have control over everything" And we cannot control when one of our children will be hurt or killed, even if we think we should have.

Let's turn the tables for a moment. If you had died and were looking down on your daughter still grieving you after 12 years, what would you want to tell her? Well then, what do you think she wants for you?

One final point. Just because you're going to set out to heal yourself now does not mean you will ever forget or stop loving her. Quite the opposite. You will then begin to think of her and smile, feel the love in your heart (which is permanent) and remember that beautiful person that graced your life for a time, as you did hers.

Time to heal, my friend. Time to get on with your life. The tools you need are all around you. Reach out for them and heal yourself.

Read more questions on this topic


Luis Aguilar (September 2009) comments:
I lived an experience back in 1983. My beloved brother passed away after going through an automobile accident. He left behind two daughters, eleven and nine years old. At that time I came to think that life was unjust, cruel and indifferent to us. He was my best friend, confident and counselor. I was, during several years after the accident, without consolation and I saw the world as a very cold place to live, where everybody has to keep on going by their own merits and strengths; it took many years of frustration to arrive at a certain day during which unexpectedly I burst into tears while I was driving my car to a nearby city.

After that living experience, I came to be in peace with myself. I used to claim the responsibility for my brother’s death, since the day of his accident, he asked me to accompany him during his traveling on the road, an invitation I did not accept. But now, many years after, I am at peace with myself, and definitely know that life is filled with mysteries and unknown situations that appear constantly in front of ourselves. No, we definitely have no control on the facts of life, we can only try to respond on ways that allow us to continue our life journey, carrying on with hope and joy. To gain character, to have courage and to never give up on our fight for existence, is our destiny and our quest.

Darlene Welch (September 2009) comments:
To the woman who lost her only child, and who is a Christian wanting to understand if this is God's will... Life is and will be unfair and we deal with them each day. As Christians ourselves and dealing with a loss of an only child also, we have found comfort and experience the love of Christ thru this valley. God gives his word to find the answers we need. We will never truly understand His will and how things happen daily. We do know that he has given many promises, those are promises of Hope and everlasting life to the believer. Being in a Christian group has helped us, and has given us comfort being with other believers who have experienced the same loss. I would encourage you to seek a Christian based group. And to look to those who have experienced a loss. Blessings.

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