Death and dying are parts of life. While some people fear them, others draw inspiration from death.
As nurses, it’s inevitable for us to see some of our patients die and their families deeply grieve for them. Although we can’t bring back their loved ones, there are still ways for us to provide comfort, strength, and guidance to the families our patients left behind.
How Nurses Can Help Families Cope With Loss and Grief
Don’t pretend that you understand them
Even if you experienced a similar loss, you probably wouldn’t understand how your patient’s family is feeling. Instead of pretending to know how they feel, be honest and say that you don’t. The family will surely appreciate how honest you are about their devastating loss.
Ask what they need
Because of how overwhelmed they are, the family might not realize exactly what they need at the moment. As a nurse, ask them what they need.
However, in asking questions, it will be better if you state them in a way that provides options. For example, you can ask them if you should call the other family members for them or if you can provide a medical letter for the school or their employers.
Be there to answer questions
The family will surely have questions after so make sure that you are available. They may ask you about their patient’s medical records or they may need help with the documents for life insurance.
Don’t be judgmental
People have different ways of grievings. Others may cry while others may laugh. Some people may not show any emotions at all. That, however, doesn’t mean that they aren’t going through the grieving process.
Give them the space that they need
Look out for cues that the family desires to have time with the patient who has just died. You wouldn’t want to interrupt them in their most precious time with their family member.
Say a prayer
It wouldn’t hurt to say a prayer or two for the departed. It will provide a sense of comfort to the family if they feel like their nurse actually cares for them.
Prayers for the Departed
Here are 12 powerful prayers for the departed.
For the recently deceased
In your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters.
In this life you embraced them with your tender love;
deliver them now from every evil
and bid them eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:
welcome them into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,
but fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Prayer for deceased relatives and friends
Almighty Father, source of forgiveness and salvation, grant that our relatives and friends who have passed from this life may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, come to share your Eternal happiness through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayers for the deceased for forgiveness and peace and for mourners
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother/sister.
Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother/sister his/her sins.
By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother/sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him/her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.
My brother (sister) in faith, I entrust you to God Who created you.
May you return to the One Who formed you from the dust of this earth.
May Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life.
May Christ Who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ, the Son of God, Who died for you take you into His kingdom.
May Christ, the Good Shepherd, give you a place within His flock.
May He forgive your sins and keep you among His people.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever. Amen.
Prayer for a deceased friend
I commend you, my dear [name] to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.
May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.
May he forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God, forever.
Prayer for unexpected death
Heavenly Father we know and believe that our times are in Your hands, but Lord it’s so often such a shock to us when a dear loved one meets with a sudden or unexpected death – through an accident or perhaps due to some unforeseen tragedy, which takes the life of someone they loved – long before it would be expected.
Lord, we bring before You today those who are having to go through such a tragic loss and pray that You would be very close to each one that is in mourning today over such a loss – and are perhaps confused or even angry that such a devastating occurrence has overtaken them – without any apparent warning.
You are the God of all comfort Who comforts us in time of need and we pray that for those that are facing such a difficult trial today. Uphold them we pray, and ask that You draw very close to them … raise up we pray, the right people to minister to them and to be a genuine comfort and support at this time of tragedy and grief.
Lord, we don’t understand why our loved ones should suddenly be removed from us through a sudden, unexpected death – but Lord we trust You to soothe away the hurt in time – for shall not the God of all the earth do right…. In Jesus name, we pray,
Prayer for deceased parents
O God, Who has commanded us
to honor our father and mother,
have compassion in Thy mercy,
on the souls of my father and mother;
forgive them their sins,
and grant that I may see them
in the joy of eternal brightness.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after violent death
Father, we bring before You those that have had the devastating experience of having someone close to them that they know and love, suffer a sudden, violent and needless death. Lord how we grieve for those that are having to experience this right now, and we pray that in Your grace You would look down with pity and mercy and meet them right at their point of need.
Lord, You are the one Who was sent to heal the broken-hearted and comfort those that mourn and are heavy-laden. You are the One Who promised that Your grace is sufficient for every eventuality – even for those having to face the sudden and violent death of someone close to them. Draw near to them we pray and lift them up into You arms of love and carry them during this time of suffering and grief for You have promised that underneath are Your everlasting arms.
Lord, as we lift up in prayer those that are having to come to terms with the sudden and violent death of a loved one – we pray that You would use this tragedy to be the thing that starts to draw each suffering soul into the tender arms of their Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray,
Prayer for a deceased brother, relative or friend
You are, O God,
quick to pardon and desire man’s salvation.
In Your goodness we ask You to grant our deceased brothers,
relatives, and friends everlasting happiness.
With the help of Blessed Mary ever Virgin
and all Your saints,
we ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Prayer to say on the day of a person’s death
O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee for the soul of Thy servant N…, which Thou hast this day commanded to depart out of this world, that Thou wouldst not deliver it into the hands of the enemy, nor forget it unto the end, but wouldst command it to be received by the Holy Angels, and conducted to Paradise, its true country; that as in Thee it hath hoped and believed, it may not suffer the pains of hell, but may take possession of eternal joys.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayers for Mourners
you are attnetive to the voice
of our pleading.
Let us find in your Son
comfort in our sadness,
certainty in our doubt,
and courage to live through this hour.
Make our faith strong
through Christ our Lord.
See Also: 10 Inspiring Songs To Help With Grief
Share these beautiful prayers to friends or family who need them.