A number of things have come up lately that have caused me to think more deeply about loss. For one thing, my child is going to Kindergarten in a couple of weeks, which causes an eruption of emotions from me, and is not exactly a loss but a change. (But then, if change is a rearranging involving losses and gains, what's the difference?) But I have experienced loss in my life, and also borne witness to losses that others have experienced recently: a marriage ending, a brother passing, a mother passing, a foster child moving on, a beloved dog dying. We must all wrestle, eventually, with loss. We must wrestle with what remains.
Here is a litany that is a meditation on loss and a prayer for grace and comfort in the experience of it. Feel free to choose the reference words (things, people) to suit your situation. In the case of the loss of an animal you might use "friend."
God of comfort, restorer of all things,
We look to you in times of trouble.
Something (someone) has been lost
Which (whom) we held dear.
We feel emptiness and sadness at this loss.
Comfort us with your presence.
We understand that within the confines of time,
All things must end.
We understand the cycles of life and the seasons,
Still we find the changes painful.
We acknowledge that we feel entitled to keep things (people)
By virtue of having been given them.
And that we feel affronted and angry when the time of our keeping runs out.
Give us grace to be grateful for the gifts of life, however long we get them.
We accept the gifts you give,
And the potential for pain they arrive with.
We understand that holding tightly to a thing (person)
Is sometimes not the best way to love it (him, her).
We are reminded that you hold all life within your gracious love
You are gathering all things to yourself (1).
You have power over death, are author of life, and are first to resurrection.
We trust you to care for what we have lost.
Help us as we stumble around
Overwhelmed by pain;
And in our human experience, during which loss is inevitable
Help us to see the divine.
Ephesians 1:9-10. I really like Eugene Peterson’s translation of this: “He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”