Talk with others who are also grieving your loved one who has died. As you travel from place to place on your pilgrimage, try to connect with family and friends who also miss your late loved one and engage in conversations about your mutual grief. Don’t judge or criticize them if they haven’t yet healed as much as you’d like to see. Keep in mind that people grieve differently, according to their different personalities, the relationships they had with the deceased, and how well they’re able to express their feelings. Make it safe for them emotionally to open up to you. Listen to each other, accept each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. When talking with children who are grieving, acknowledge their grief, respond openly and sensitively to their questions, encourage them to share their memories of the person who has died, and give them extra affection.

Reflect on your trip with other believers. After returning home, share stories and photos from your trip with people from your church and other Christians you know who can encourage you as you continue to heal.

Live the rest of your life with an eternal perspective. As you get back into your normal routines after your pilgrimage is over, remind yourself often about the reality of heaven. Base your decisions on eternal values and do your best to make choices that will help you use each day that God gives you to the fullest, and build a legacy that pleases God and honors the memory of your late loved one. Look forward to reuniting with your loved one in heaven, and especially to meeting the One who cares for you and everyone you’ve loved: Jesus.

Adapted from Grieving: My Pilgrimage of Love: Engaging Grief for Healing and Hope, copyright 2012 by Gary L. Crawford, D. Min. Published by Bridge-Logos, Alachua, Fl., www.bridgelogos.com

Dr. Gary Crawford served as Senior Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida, for more than 30 years. He has led faith-based and business organizations on the national and international level and has conducted more than 20 mission trips in 14 countries. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Florida and his master's degree and doctorate are from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: November 14, 2012