The Behavior of the Bereaved

Many people talk about the stages of grief, what it should look like, how it can be timed. The truth for those of us out there who have experienced a journey fraught with loss is that there are no stages, no set time lines. Grief can swing around, come full circle, dragging you forwards and backwards on its own whim.

While everyone around you might be thinking it is time to move on or that you have finally begun to cope or “normalize”, you may be churning with turmoil and only beginning to understand the magnitude of what you’ve really lost.

While you outwardly carry on, getting dressed with socks that match and opening your home with a house key instead of trying to cram a car key into the lock, you may be inwardly struggling to survive. This can stretch into a long period of solitude full of self-reflection. The well-meaning friends and family in your life might inadvertently discourage any open grieving, encouraging you to “be happy”, “think positive”, or “move on with your life”.

This form of rejection can cause you to retreat into yourself as you pull away from those around you, isolating yourself on purpose. Often times it easier to be alone so you can express your pain rather than constantly trying to cover it up or be told to put it away by those around you.

I want to outline this today as a gentle reminder to others that when a griever seems to want to be alone, that it is perfectly normal and acceptable. It often is nothing to do with you or what they think of you as a person. They are not trying to subtly tell you they dislike you or prefer the company of someone else. They are not being selfish or refusing to cope, nor are they in denial. They are simply grieving and behaving normally for someone in that much pain. Sometimes being alone can be the most helpful thing for them.

When the magnitude of the loss becomes too great, it can bring us to our knees. We need time to think, to ponder, to go over the details of our loved one’s life and death over and over again in our minds until we can find some measure of resolution on some aspect of it.

Please understand that asking the griever to do the work – to call you or to stop by your place or to make all the effort to connect – is asking too much. They are the ones hurting and will need you to make the effort. After all, if you saw someone injured on the side of the road, wouldn’t you stop and help right away rather than ask them to call you later when they are ok to let you know if there is anything you can do?

Even in times of isolation and sadness it is important to let the griever know you care. While they may not want to see anyone, a simple email, note, text, or phone call saying you are thinking about them and still care can make a huge difference. I personally kept every phone message and email I received from people, including the ones I never had the chance to reply to. Sadly, for months, this was most of them. I still read and listen to these from time to time when I am feeling low. They are a beautiful reminder that I am loved, thought of, cared for.

In particular, a friend I had lost touch with over the years sent me a song that she said reminded her of me and what I was going through. The song ended up being one I played over and over, listening to the lyrics, touched by not only the thought that went into it, but how much I connected the music with my own struggles. A coworker sent me a poem that had helped him through the loss of his own wife. I carried it around with me in my wallet for months, not because it was necessarily a poem I would have chosen, but because I was so touched by the wonderful sentiment behind it. They didn’t have to find the perfect words in their own hearts, they just shared something they had found that they thought might touch mine.

Simple gifts can also go a long way. Giving to a charity in honor of the person they lost can mean a lot. The gift of housekeeping services or a certificate to a spa or massage can make a big difference. Perhaps stepping up to mow their lawn or drop off some groceries are viable options. Even if the griever prefers to be alone, do not be discouraged. There are still many, many ways you can let them know you care and are thinking about them.

Often we on the outside can inadvertently assess the griever’s actions, trying to decide for ourselves where they are at and how that stacks up to where they should be. I know this because I have been both a widow and someone on the outside, watching someone I know become widowed. We have the best of intentions, but we can’t help seeing them through our own assumptions, ideas, and beliefs about grief.

Rather than looking at the griever’s behavior and trying to decide if it is normal or not compared to your own feelings, understand that they are in a position you cannot even imagine. As tough as it sounds, your ideas about what is ‘normal’ behavior for them are misguided, at best. You may think you can imagine what you would do in their position, but that is actually impossible. Instead try to accept them for where they are, and know that their pain is too deep and overwhelming for you to understand without having walked in their shoes. Be the listener they need rather than the giver of advice. Remember, no matter how many losses you have faced, they know far more about grieving than you do right now.

And above all, do not hold their behavior against them later on down the road. While you may never understand why they chose to be alone at certain times or why they seemed so sad for so long, or why they never returned your phone calls, their behavior was still completely normal and a part of their own personal journey.

As difficult as it may be, you must remind yourself that it is not about you. It is about their loss. This is their experience and it will be unique to them. Simply offering your own time and support can be the most amazing gift, and can help them on their road towards healing.  Just remember to honor and respect the unique path that they chose.

Our thanks to guest author Emily Clark for sharing her story here with us.  You can read more of Emily’s journey through young widowhood on her blog.

Photo credit.


  1. Evelyn said on July 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm ... #

    So true, everything is true’ thank you for sharing that truth.

  2. Jenny said on July 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm ... #

    A wonderful truth and wishing so many would read your post. After 23 months of losing the love of my life, I go through periods of wanting to be alone so I don’t have to “pretend” I am okay! I am weary of putting on the smiling, happy go lucky mask that just doesn’t fit every day.
    I love what you wrote and will print your post as my reminder that I am not alone and I am okay.

  3. webmamma said on July 14, 2012 at 4:53 am ... #

    Thank you for this poignant entry. I have done just as you said, put on an outward show but secretly turned inward. Grief is so private and difficult, it is easier to push everyone away so you can heal.

  4. Jennylyn said on July 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm ... #

    If only they really knew how much damage they do by helping maybe they. Wouldn’t help so much

  5. Wanda said on July 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm ... #

    My husband & I lived with my Mama – or she wit us – for MANY Years. Then , I 1997, the 3 of us movies to Austin together, built a hose, & settled into an easy routine. My husband was medically retired from Coaching early in 2001. While I continued to teach at the same High School where he had Coached, he & my Mom were together all the time & became even more close than they had ever been! They were ” running buddies” & went everywhere together!

    I lost him, suddenly, on May 25, 2005, to an undiagnosed condition. Then, Ilost my Mama on January 23, 2006 – lacking 2 days being exactly 8 months apart!

    I had been very I’ll in the Spring Semester of 2005. I finally got to the correct doctor the middle of May & was Diagnosed with a variety of intestinal ailments including Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s disease. The next week, my beloved husband of 34 years suddenly died! Then 8 months later I lost my precious little Mama!!! All of this when my doctor was afraid I would die too!!!

    It has been a little more than 7 years now since I lost Coach Rick – & coming up on 7 years since I lost my Mama! I am still grieving!

    I am much better now, but still have days when I wish I could just sit down and cry! But, they are coming less & less often now than they once did!

    I have been healing all along the way, but I still have “those days” or sometimes. “those moments” when, out of the blue”, grief floods over me! The thing that has gotten me through all of this & MUCH, MUCH MORE that has happened to me since then is my Faith in God & his “carrying me when I am too weak to walk on my own”! And, He has taught me, along the way, to remember the good times & the happy times & to treasure my multitude of WONDERFUL memories! So, I dwell on those things instead of my profound losses! This enables me to have a smile on my face & in my heart rather than letting the grief get me down!!!

    Does sadness still come? You bet! But God helps me in thoses times now to replace it with great, funny, pleasurable, & cherished memories & hence survive the moment & continue on my road to recovery with a smile on my face & joy in my heart!!

  6. Betty said on July 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm ... #

    Thank you for your great words of wisdom, I lost my husband July 17, 2008 and I have really had a hard time with it, I go through the motions and at times am truley happy but most days are very difficult for me, after reading your words I have come to the conclusion that I am normal, I was begining to wonder? couldn’t understand why I just can’t shake this feeling of abandonment and sadness, I was seeing some one for a couple of months and thought that it might be a good thing, but when he made the statement that I needed to “get over it” all I could see was red and I haven’t talk to him since. I thought that I might not be handling it the right way but I have had a lot of support from friends and family and after reading your words, feel a bit better, thank you

  7. Barb Grunder said on July 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm ... #

    Such an insightful & touching explanation of grief!! Those who’ve never walked in our shoes cant possibly understand the raging, desperate feelings of loss & isolation!!! I was married 54 yrs to the love of my life and its been 17 mo, Ive been told to “move on”, “get over it”, you[re dwelling on it too much!! I’m so tired of not being able to be open & honest about how gut wrenching this thing called grief really is!!! I only hope, for the sake of those yet to come, that society learns how and when to speak & what NOT to say, Please!!!!

  8. Jean Woodrow said on July 15, 2012 at 6:44 am ... #

    Thank u so much for sharing this. I lost my loving husband 5 years ago this month & it still seems like only yesterday at times. I have not really had a chance to deal with it poperly as things happen in life we cannot control. But I do go through the same thing as people telling me to move on get over it. Nothing hurts more then that I just want to be able to talk about him not to be told we don’t want to talk about it..He was my love my life..

  9. Hope M. Holt said on July 15, 2012 at 11:25 am ... #

    Thank You SOOOO much for this article. Although I am 2 1/2 years in I still feel the pangs from grief and loneliness from time to time. I keep this to myself as most people assume that I am “over it”. How can you Love someone for 17 or more years and grieve only a year? Yes as time progresses and I find out who I am now it does hurt a bit less. The ragged savage raw grief has passed but like a broken bone it will never be the same. A broken heart is still after all a broken heart. It is how we choose to live this life changing who we were into who we are now much like puberty. But no one will ever tell me how to live or grieve it is my right and my broken heart that I mend.

  10. Misty Young said on July 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm ... #

    So, so true and you put it words exactly. Thank you and hope you don’t mind my sharing it on my facebook for my family to read and understand how I feel.

    God Bless,


  11. Esme said on July 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm ... #

    totally agree – there is no set time for grieving, no pattern to follow, each person has to do it there way and in their time. People can support in various ways without being intrusive. I am an older person, married many years, widow for 3 years. Family and friends love and care but they are not in your shoes. Take comfort from happy memories and from the little things in life from people who do not even know but show kindnesses

  12. Jas said on July 26, 2012 at 11:32 am ... #

    I lost my dad 3 month ago…now my nephew 27 yrs 3 days ago..two brothers in 2007 and 2004. Mom in 1995. I am so sick of death now. My nephew death has crushed me…how do I deal with it…

  13. Ami said on July 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm ... #

    I cannot put into words how grief has affected me nor what it has taught me – even now, 7 years later. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Chris Baker said on July 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm ... #

    This article touched me like no other ever has! Thank you so much for posting this! No One can ever understand a widows grief until they actually walk in those shoes themselves. Many who are quick to judge cannot understand the pain, the desperation, & hurt these women feel, so do not ever tell them what you think they need to do to make their lives easier unless you truly know what you are talking about. It is so hurtful & actually makes these victims feel worse because you just don’t have a clue what this indiviual went through to have enough strength to get up out of bed,try to put on a happy face, walk out the door, & hope & pray you can actually make it through the day!

  15. Brenda said on July 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm ... #

    My husband died July 15, I hurt so much. I feel so alone and confused, he had been fighting cancer for a few years, then he developed a brain tumor which killed him, there are days when I don’t want to leave the house, but I force myself to go. I don’t know if this pain will ever get better,

  16. Christina Smythe said on August 8, 2012 at 11:07 am ... #

    It’s sad to hear about your stories; but I am inspired at the same time. I see a lot of you are still grieving even if your loss happened a year ago already. I understand how you feel.

  17. Jacklyn Johnson said on August 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm ... #

    This story is very touching. I can relate so much with you guys. Thanks so much for the heads up on the Evertalk page Christina. I will try to visit it.

  18. autumn said on September 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm ... #

    Ill never forget the day I lost my 7 week old daughter Olivia. it was almost 6 am. My boyfriend and I had went out with friends that night for the first time since she was born. Olivias grandparents babysat that evening and Johnny and I were staying in our camper outside his parents house. AT 530 AM I heard the roosters growing so I got up to go inside to check on Olivia. and I found the most disturbing thing I will ever go through in my life. my daughter whom I thought was asleep had passed of sids. sometime from when her daddy feed her last at 330am till around 530am when I found her lifeless cold body. I instantly began to scream we began do CPR the rescue squads came she was taken by helicopter to the hospital and pronounced dead. I lost it. I held her for hours. it was so hard tolet them take her from me that day.planning her funeral was the hardest thing I thght I would ever have to do. but I was wrong. I can’t open her bedroom door. I cry I ding wanna get outta NEC I quit my job because my anxiety is so terrible. she was the live of my life and I can’t seem to move forward with my life. I feel guilty sad angry confused depressed empty and alone.And then wam. it was 2 in the afternoon on June 112012, I get a phone call from my aunt sue my dads sister who both live in Minn. she told me I needed to.sit down that she had bad news. my heart instantly sank and I dropped to my knees. she then told me my dad had committed suicide and that my grandma had found him. I cannot take much more of the pain its like being hit over and over. not to mention I’m my fathers only child and he wasn’t married. so now I am the only error to his estate. which his home is 3 hours from mine. 5 weeks apart I planned 2 funerals of the most important people in my life. I ding know how to find myself again the person I use to be. I feel as if they took a huge chunk of me with them when they left. I miss them so much. I’m trying to deal with all of these feelings but I don’t know how. I see a counselor but sometimes I just sit in the house and can’t eat sleep or get outta bed for days. with all the loss.anger thing n sadness I don’t know if I will every b okay again. thank u for letting me share… Autumn, I will love and miss you both everyday until we meet again. Olivia mommy sleeps with your monkey everynight and I play your lullabye it makes me feel close to you..

  19. Willa said on October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm ... #

    Thank you so much for this article. God is my strength but knowing others are out there grieving as I am is comforting. I lost my Angel on earth, my oldest sister last week and it has been difficult. Sites such as this one helps. God’s peace to all.

  20. Leigh said on October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm ... #

    I constantly search online for sites like this as i feel unable to express my grief or relate to anyone just now. It’s been 20 months since my partner was tragically taken and no-one, not even those closest to me understand my grief and my behaviour. I have completely withdrawn from everyone and friends soon lose patience or are just too busy with their own lives. Your words have enabled me to realise that i’m not going mad but that my feelings/behaviour etc are a normal response to an abnormal situation. I hope that passing this on to the people who know me will also enable them to understand to some extent why things are so different now. It gives me some sense of comfort to know that i’m not completely alone. I don’t believe my heart will ever heal but I pray for the strength to carry on.
    Thankyou for sharing,
    God bless you all x

  21. Sue said on December 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm ... #

    My day died died suddenly 2 months ago, when you are a positive person you want to cope but the grief is just immense, I do feel as though I am going mad and yes if friends would just sometimes acknowledge me rather than steering clear, I returned to work after 6 weeks off, you can tell the people who are discussing the fact that you should be getting on with it now, just makes the stress worse. I dont want to comply and keep them happy, because i cant!
    Whilst coping with my own grief, I struggle with my 18 year old daughters grief, they were so close. I lost my mum 20 years ago 1 month ago, I know it gets better, feels strange that my grief is near enough all for my father!
    You drive and the tears fall, in a restaurant, at work, so needing it to all go away.

  22. Lynette said on December 24, 2012 at 6:56 am ... #

    It is SO nice to read something and think “finally…. someone gets it.” My heart goes out to each and every one of you wonderful people.
    I was with my husband/the love of my life/best friend for 30 years(high school sweethearts) and I lost him after a 3 1/2 year awful battle with cancer. We were never able to have kids (numerous miscarriages) so right before he was diagnosed we decided to adopt—not knowing the news that was coming. Well– of course adoption didn’t happen because he was stage 4 from the beginning. Part of me died right along with him and I’m not sure if that spot will ever be filled again. I feel SO empty.
    We have always put all our heart into our furkids. We had 4 rescued Collies—One which gave up his own fight and passed away 4 days after my husband. I believe he held on for my husband…… per my husband’s request they are buried together–side by side for eternity like it should be.
    My mom was fighting the same type of cancer as my husband at the same time so I had to suck up my grief to go help her(in another state) the best I could. My mom and husband were my everything—the 2 most important people in my life. Being their caretakers and my dad’s(2003) as they all passed has left me with awful survivor’s guilt.
    2 months to the day of when my husband passed we lost a dear friend to cancer and a few weeks later my mom took the same journey.
    Standing in that reception line of the same funeral home for 3 different people within 3 months was just too much to comprehend for people…… the pity “deer in the headlights” look is the only way I can describe the look and they didn’t know what to say. One girl said “I don’t know how you do it, girl. If my husband died I don’t know how I would do it without kids. Without my kids my life would be meaningless.” OUCH—I know people don’t know what to say, but seriously—everyone knew how badly we wanted to be parents???
    A few months later another one of our Collie boys lost his fight which was right before xmas last year. There are SO many milestones and triggers.
    So– here’s another xmas and everyone thinks I should be “healed”. It makes me SO angry that people don’t understand I’m really hurting, but in a way it’s my own fault because I put on the public face so others don’t feel uncomfortable.
    Losing my husband, my mom , a friend and 2 of our 4 Collie boys leaves me confused and wondering where I fit in this world. No kids or grandkids, a widow in my 40’s,no parents/grandparents and slowly by slowly I lose friends. I think the hardest part was losing my huband’s family. They judged my grieving and said the most hateful things to me at the worst time of my life. Now they try to be part of my life like nothing happened, but my wall has gone up…. and I don’t think I can ever forget nor forgive them…. it was one painful thing after another with them… true colors…. WOW!!!
    I felt like a failure until I read some of the above stories so thank you for letting me know I’m “normal”. Dang– I can’t even grieve right according to some people. I had a “friend” tell me I need to get down on my knees and beg God for fogiveness the rest of my life (or I’ll go to hell) for killing my husband and mom with chemo. I know there is no truth in it, but those are words that just don’t leave your mind.
    I feel like my mind is mush and can’t even do the most simple things. I’m paralyzed in grief…. I don’t understand the automatic comments from people: “I know exactly how you feel”, “everything happens for a reason”, “they are in a better place” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. I feel bad for quesioning God’s plans, but I still don’t get it and find myself struggling with my faith. I held the hand of two of the most important people in my life as they passed,held the paws of two of my precious furkids as they passed and my friend asked his family to call me as he was passing. I don’t know what to do with all the emotions. I am sick of people trying to “fix” me…. I just want them to let me talk or let me be alone without them thinking I would hurt myself.
    I still find myself stopping dead in my tracks and say out loud… OMG— their dead!!! I feel the pain knowing they are gone each day, yet I say something like that… makes a person feel crazy some days.
    The stories you shared are beautiful and my heart goes out to each and every one of you and your words will always be in my mind and I will keep you in my thoughts as you walk your journey.
    Thanks for letting me share my story….sorry it got so long, but it feels so refreshing knowing I’m chatting with people who won’t judge me for breaking down in the marshmallow aisle as i’m hugging a bag of a new flavor…. just because they were my husband’s favorite and my first thought was “he would love these…I better get them.” :-(

  23. michael king said on March 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm ... #

    June will be 7 yrs since i lost my wife….still so hard…helps to see im normal…

  24. Carol Weiss said on March 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm ... #

    My Step~Mom forwarded this to me today ~ we have been discussing the issues other people have in determining “how they thing you should be handling” your grief ~ It has been 10 yrs since my son Andrew died this July 13th and 9 yrs since Margaret(my step-mom)daughter died. Even though Margaret is 86 and I am 61 we share similar views about how we deal with such a horrific event in our lives ~ I can no longer be naive about how this has totally changed my life ~ I tried very hard to come back to some aspects of my life ~ but the truth of the matter is I will never be the same ~ there is no job ~ trip ~ relationship ~ hobby ~ or pill that “fixes” this kind of pain ~ you just get better with “dealing” with it. But it does help to get some validation when you read an article like this ~ it is so…..on target. I would love to send it out to some of the people who “think” they know how I’m doing because it has been such a long time (particularly in their eyes) since I had to bury my beautiful 17 yr old son ~ I would love to teach classes in the 10 top things you should never say to a grieving parent ~ but then I would sound rude!!!! Like I tell my husband and my son Devin ~ we have done our best and we should be proud of how we have conducted ourselves and honored our son ~ that is what I would say to anyone in grief ~ you must travel your own path and just do your best ~ no one should tell you to do more. Thank you!

  25. Olive Green said on April 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm ... #

    Beautifully written. I totally agree with letting the bereaved off the hook when it comes to social obligations. I pushed myself to do too much right after the loss of my daughter and I regret it. I wish I had just taken that time to heal instead of pushing it down.

  26. Melissa said on May 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm ... #

    A lovely post. I can relate to the inner struggle to survive, along with many other references. I lost my dad only last Wednesday and it feels as though my world has turned upside down..I question a lot of things already about the point of an existence..I love the people in my life so much but we’re a small family. I only had my parents, two sisters, my husband and my kitties. I lost my grandma in 2008 and now my father who I was so close to. My one cat has pancreatic cancer so his day will arrive soon as well. I love everyone so much but each time someone passes, a piece of me dies and that happiness I once had in droves as a child, dies too. What happens when the others leave me too.? I’m developing anxieties over this..I don’t know how people find a reason to keep going and if they do, is it a bearable existence when happiness is such a far reach.

    I’m thankfully able to sit at home for now, but do contract work here and there, with the expectation to attend this event on Saturday. I feel mind is mush. I can’t remember things I do 2 seconds ago. I open cupboards and walk away, forgetting to get a glass. I dread this Saturday, putting a face on for people that would expect me to be warm, friendly and upbeat. These are clients after all and society dictates that we never reveal our personal hurt.

    My heart goes out to everyone on this site but in particular I really felt sad and concerned for Lynette. She’s essentially surviving through my greatest fear, and living in such isolation. Lynette, I suspect you’re not reading this but if you are, please seek counseling at the minimum. I really really hope that one day you can post on this site that you’ve found a way to be happy once again, giving all of us hope.

  27. Elise said on July 29, 2013 at 9:38 pm ... #

    Thank you for sharing this- and putting into words for me exactly how i feel. My daughter died just before birth in May 2012 & it is such a difficult journey. It would be so helpful if those close to us would read this or do an ounce of research into what is truly helpful/not helpful. It seems absurd that the grieved also had to teach the helpers about grief- especially at at time of such diminished
    Capacity. as commented above it is so good (yet, unfortunate) that someone completely understands.

  28. Marty said on August 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm ... #

    Your take on one of the many types of grieve makes total sense, because my girlfriend is going through the same process. Your writing has helped me understand the behavior of her, and I kinda use the steps you mentioned as a guide line to give her time and space. Even though at times it pushes for it pains me to see her like this and all I want to do is lose my temper or breakdown, but then I come back to this article to calm myself down and take one day at a time. I just get extremely tensed and worried if this kind of behavior will effect our relationship in the future. Thank you though.

  29. ROBERT T. DE NORMANDIE JR said on September 8, 2013 at 10:35 am ... #

    Elisabeth said no you are “ROB” … after 35 years of grieving the term still has not made it’s way to our community of grieving parents.
    Authored April 2013 “PARPHENT”
    blending orphan/ parent as an English word.

  30. A N Other said on December 12, 2013 at 7:04 am ... #

    It’s good to read things like this, particularly Marty’s recent comment (I concur), as it helps to give me a little bit of perspective. My girlfriend recently lost her grandfather who she was very close with and her grieving has been fairly tough on me (though nothing by comparison on her) because she often shuts me out when I just want to be there for her. I know I need to give her space and let her grieve properly in her own time, by her own admission she just wants to be miserable which is understandable, but I don’t want her to push me away when she may need a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold. I am a friend as much as anything at the end of the day but having never lost anybody close to me – nor really had a close family like hers – I’m finding it a little tough to know how to support her. I don’t want her to think that by giving her space I’m simply ignoring her, but I don’t want to overwhelm or burden her when she wants space.

    I suppose it’s all just a huge learning curve at the end of the day – unfortunately it takes something as tragic as one loss to learn it.

  31. Valarie said on December 18, 2013 at 9:13 am ... #

    Thank you for this. I’m grieving the loss of my son who was stillborn 2 weeks and 3 days ago. In addition to losing him, I feel like I am losing my partner (I can’t even call him my fiance any longer- it doesn’t feel like we are on the path to marriage anymore). He was emotionally present and took care of my physical needs leading up to and following our loss, but in the last few days has withdrawn from me. He says he wants to be alone, he doesn’t want to be touched or talked to. I am trying to give him space, but considering that I’m grieving too, I really need his physical comfort. Thank you for sharing the thought that him wanting space isn’t his way of saying he doesn’t want me, but more about his own healing.

  32. JD said on January 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm ... #

    Someone in my circle is being very hateful. It’s grueling to walk the path of grief with someone like this. This person is wounding others with words.

    Empathy ricochets right off of them. They will not admit that yes, we have had gobs of loved ones die and we understand their pain. They say mean things and hang up the phone on me, after choosing to phone me in the first place.

    They had an empty spot in their life before this death, and now there is yet another hole. (I have not explained this to them, because that would be unhelpful.)

    Years before the death occurred, this grieving person was already someone who had no hobbies besides TV, reading the actual newspaper in print, shopping, talking to people on the phone, and owning a dog. This person accepted only a fraction of the invitations they got to social events. They resisted suggestions that they join clubs or engage in hobbies like frisbee, hiking, fishing, golf, knitting, etc. They attended few, if any, of the free pubic speaking events and concerts that occur in the community.

    Their circle of people is small and we who are in it are greatly fatigued.

  33. Amy said on January 6, 2014 at 7:08 am ... #

    It was really great to read this! My boyfriend lost his mother tragically and we hadn’t been dating that long,he isn’t able to really explain his emotions yet which is perfectly understandable, but for me to be the best I can be for him it helps so much to read these kinds of posts so I can continue to be loving and supportive in any format he needs. So thank you :-) do you have any other tips for me?

  34. Meg said on January 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm ... #

    I lost my only sibling, my beautiful sister Beck 19 months ago.
    She was only 33yrs old. Her death was totally unexpected and I miss her everyday. My grief over missing her is only one part of it all.
    There’s also the grief of watching my mother struggle with her grief, the fact that now I am an only child and mum only has me now. My husband and I have gone thru 3 failed IVF cycles during this time so I’m also dealing with grief there too. My life changed so much when my sister left us.
    On top of all this my marraige is struggling to survive. We’ve become so distant from eachother. My grief has driven us apart and I’m not sure if we’ll make it. He finally admitted yest that he distanced himself from me as didn’t know how to support me and he feels he lost me when I lost my sister. I can’t argue with that, a part me did die with beck and I’ll never be the same person I was before.
    I can’t help but wonder can our marraige survive all this?
    If the person I loved most can’t deal with my grief what’s the point in staying in this marraige?

  35. Nicole said on March 11, 2014 at 9:11 pm ... #

    At 7:00 am this morning, i lost my dear aunt Barbra to esophogial cancer, me and my grandmother ( barbras mother ) had taken care of her since her health had started to decline. I am a stay at home mother to a 5 year old little girl, so i was fortunate enough to be there in her care every step of the way, and was there as she took her last breath. My grief right now is basically numb, and i cant imagine what my poor grandmother is going thru, that was her daughter she watched waste away. Last year i lost my step dad to the same type of cancer, and was also there every step as well, they both had the privlage of dying at home. I know when it comes time for my grandmother ill make sure i will care for her in her own home as well. The pain is immense, and i know this is just hours in since the loss of my dear aunt, lost at age 50. I love her and miss her, and i know this will be a long road for everyone involved, but i have to be strong for my little girl, i miss you aunt barbra so very much but i take comfort in knowing that you arent hurting anymore as you suffered greatly, your with God now and papa duck, and with little ricky ( RIP my little 6 month old nephew). It hurts and i know realization hasnt even begun yet. You almost made it to my 30th birthday.

  36. Atikah M said on March 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm ... #

    I have lost 2 leaders, one in 2010 and 2013. Both of the leaders are helping me to show my way to the future. I feel like I’m giving up hope in sharing my emotions to others, NOBODY understands so far. Now that I’m about to graduate, I feel like my future is so blur, I’m finding it hard to move on. I feel like my heart is broken that I’m pushed ashore real hard. I am still experiencing this like this is my first time it hit me. How can you heal the wounds to move on without betraying your loved ones? I’m planning to study abroad but it’s just so hard to study away from the memories that you can’t touched, I just afraid that I might forget. Do you think being in a relationship with a boyfriend, which I’m a girl will help me stop grieving? How will I ever move on because I know I can’t be under my parents arm-pit, I want to explore after my graduation but like I said again, my heart is still broken. I’ve lost the meaning of love. I’m so new to this! So new to the lost, with no one to understand, even my best friend is tired of hearing me talk about who I’ve lost over and over.. flashbacks never fail to tear me into two. So new to finishing school. I’m getting my diploma in my graduation day, I don’t understand how grieve works. But on the bright side, I am blessed that god allows me to be happy whenever I’m with my friends and family but I am hurt inside. I want to heal inside-out. :( How do you actually heal?

  37. Sharon said on April 24, 2014 at 6:08 am ... #

    Thank you Emily for putting this awful pain so eloquently. I lost my mam last November. She was my best friend, my soulmate and the love of my life. I’m finding it so hard without her, I pray every night when i go to bed that I don’t wake up in the morning.

  38. Rosalind Wong said on April 24, 2014 at 7:10 am ... #

    I lost my husband , he dead of heart problem , it have been so hard each day to bears the inner grief pain , I do cried everyday and most of the time , sometime my mind can bring me to think of how we were togethers , the place that we go too, how he was in hospital over 12 years in and out of hostipal , I know my husband for over 23 years the bornof love that we have for each other is very closed to the hearts , I love my husband and I know he love me now I just do not know what to do without my husband , grief is so painful everyday , I cried myself to sleep most of the time , fine myself hard to sleep too , the more I cried my body is too painful to get up of bed I can be inn bed for days till the pain stop , why is grief to painful to the heart it make me feel weak , most of my friend is very angry with me for not movie on , I wish I can tell them that I want the inner pain grief to stop , i wish they know of my pain of grief , it’s hard to say it out ,

  39. Beth said on April 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm ... #

    I thank you all for making me realise that what I am feeling is nothing to be guilty about. My partner passed away 10 months ago very suddenly, and I feel as if my world has ended. I was with him for 31 years and we had our share of ups and downs but he was my life. I do exactly what Emma says, I get up get dressed, go to work and come back to …..nothing. There is no life here now and I just want him here. I don’t want family or friends telling me “he wouldn’t want you to be like this”‘, all I want is my partner and my best friend back with me. It’s true your mind does replay some things over and over. I have so many regrets about what I did and didn’t do. I have had my share of people being embarrassed when I have cried in front of them, so now I make sure no one sees me crying.

  40. Anonymous said on May 23, 2014 at 1:55 am ... #

    I need help: I don’t know what to do or say or not say when my mom opens up to me and cries openly in front of me (I hear her sobbing daily on and off). She lost her husband of 60 years a few months ago. He was my father and of course I miss him, but I made peace with this already a year ago, before he passed away, because I knew I would have to have peace in order to be strong for my mother who is now living with me. I’m not uncomfortable with her crying; i just don’t know how to comfort her. I try to express empathy the best way I can. I validate her every feeling–even when she says she doesn’t want to keep on living–I reassure her that she is not a burden and that I know it’s not about me anyway and that I will be here for her when she’s ill and dying someday… she just says she doesn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I tell her she has so much to offer others: she is genuinely gracious and loving. She has pushed herself SO HARD to put on her best face and act cheerful and interested in others, but I know, and she does admit to me, that she really isn’t interested and most definitely she does not feel cheerful. quite the opposite.
    PLEASE advise me as to how I can best be supportive. I feel as though I end up talking too much and I’m very afraid that I will say the wrong thing and make her pain even worse. I fear I have already done that and I don’t know how to make it right again. THanks to Emily’s blog and everyone’s comments I understand more than before that she might need to pull away. Again, please tell me what to say/do. I’m taking venlafaxine and it makes it very difficult for me to cry or to really feel my feelings. I need it or I become extremely depressed and susceptible to suicidal tendencies.

  41. Anonymous said on May 23, 2014 at 2:02 am ... #

    PS- I will pray for all who commented here: God knows our hearts and it is He who binds the brokenhearted. There’s one more thing that I am struggling with regarding my mom: sometimes she gets on my nerves or I realize that I’m irritating her. I am anxious about this because I feel guilty for not being more patient and for being insensitive.

  42. Marie said on June 2, 2014 at 9:09 pm ... #

    I lost my dad five months ago. I was very close to both Dad and Mom and have never lived away from them (in my own house, but same city). His death was shocking and unexpected. The first couple months were unbearable and I had to take a lot of time off work. When I went back, started to feel a little better, for awhile. My Mom is still a mess and having to hear/see her cry every time I interact with her is wearing on me. With Father’s Day approaching, I am feeling as though I’m slipping back in to the debilitating stage of my grief that I experienced just after his death. My job is extremely stressful (case work) and I just can’t keep up right now. Feel like telling my boss to just fire me because I am not able to handle the workload right now. Got a little help right after Dad died (one case written up). That’s it. Everything else just keeps piling up and I am completely overwhelmed. As I said, I’m feeling a “second wave” of grief with Father’s Day approaching. No one asks how I’m doing anymore, even when I’m clearly upset. I just want to tell them all to F off, quit my job, and run away from everyone I know.

  43. Glen Parish said on June 22, 2014 at 8:00 am ... #

    Hi Emily

    Thanks for putting your blog online about this. I lost my mother last September. She was my only parent and I the only child. I probably seem to the outside world that I am functioning fine but the truth is I struggle everyday with such a huge loss. I get up, go to work, come home, have dinner. I do all the things a normal person is expected to do to get on with it. But I have found my tendency to seek space and be on my own more and more compelling as time goes by. This started to worry me as everyone around me repeatedly reminds me to go out and be sociable to help, if anything I find this gets in the way of the self reflection period I am in the middle of. I have so much in my head I need to process to be able to adapt to a life without my mother. However reading your blog it has reminded me that for some people this is a perfectly normal reaction to such a big event. So thanks for putting this online. I am sure I am not alone in thinking this has helped.


  44. amanda said on July 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm ... #

    I just had a huge argument with a close friend who is taking everything I do personally. I try my best not to say to her that she could not possibly understand the process of grieving as it seems to make it worse. . I only wish this could be given to people as a guide to family and friends. Grief has been the most difficult life lesson I have experienced so far. It rips the constucts of who we think we are down to nothing, and we must build ourselves anew from the ashes, so to speak. I am 5 years on from the sudden loss of my partner, just weeks before we had our first child. I am doing really well. I enjoy much again that in the first 2 years of grieving I could not see ever enjoying again. Yet I do believe it is a life long learning.

  45. Sandy said on July 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm ... #

    My husband died March 14th 2014. The grief overwhelms me and I find myself crying most of the time. Sometimes the tears just run from my eyes, at other times I cry and have this keening moan that feels like it comes from my soul. Nick was ill for 10 years. The last year he was on hospice and I was his caregiver. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I would do it again. However at the end he developed vascular dementia and that was the most difficult part of his dying. I think at the end I was not mentally functioning well. He died hard and brutal he did not go quietly into the night, he fought all the way. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath and gently closed his eyes. I miss the Nick he was and I beg for forgiveness for the moments I lost my patience. His dementia took away my loving husband and the person it left was very difficult to deal with. I know I did the best that I could and my hospice team helped a lot. I miss the man I married all those years ago. I am lonely and sad. I did not think I would grieve like this. I thought I was ready to let go. I am trying to move forward but I have not yet. I had to sell my home and I still have not unpacked my boxes. I cannot face the memories yet. Here is the question-Is this normal?

  46. Cindy said on October 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm ... #

    So much of what is said here is true and needs said. However, the last line is wrong. Grief and whatever path we find ourselves on due to it, is not a choice. No one chose any path associated with grief. As a Mother who had to bury her 25 year old son in May ’14, I can tell you, the word grief and choice or chose, should never be in the same sentence.

  47. Sarah said on October 23, 2014 at 8:05 am ... #

    Thank you for this article – it was helpful for me because I have been dating a guy for 2 months – long distance/ early stages.

    I think he has ‘shut down’ and hasn’t been in touch for a week because of the anniversary of his brothers death. (he usually messages every day)

    It is so heartbreaking because I can’t help but wonder if he’s met someone else – or is he really suffering and grieving?

    Your article helps me in that I shouldn’t take it personally (if it’s grief) but at the same time i don’t know if he’s just lost interest so all I can do is wait and feel completely depressed and in the dark.

  48. Anonymous said on October 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm ... #

    I’d like my boss to read this after the way I was treated/spoken to at work today. Its been six months since I lost everything, my life, my hopes, my dreams, my love. That’s enough time…apparently.

  49. andrew said on November 22, 2014 at 6:51 am ... #

    I lost my mother 7 years ago to lung cancer 7 years ago, whilst i knew it was terminal it just seemed to happen so fast, one morning after my ma made me breakfast i went into town, an hour later my brother called me to get to the hospital asap (i still remember an ambulance blazing past me and i wonder to this day was it her). On getting to the hospital i met my brother and a nurse took us to a room where my ma was struggling to breath and clearly in a lot of pain and was dying, my dad was holding her hand and wiping tbe blood coming from her mouth, and me and my brother just stood there like goldfish in shock. Why did’nt i go to her side and tell her i loved her and console her i have always asked myself and feel tremendous guilt for. After that day seeing my dad grieve and how sad he was, and still is so hard for me to deal with. Eventually after 2 years he met another woman (a widow herself) and my dad started having a spring in his step again (he was to afraid to tell me at first because he was worried about my reaction) but just to see him happy again made me happier, 2 years after losing my mum my dad meets someone else after 2 years of hard greiving, they book a holiday and he haves a massive heart attack and dies. 5 years on and i still live with it everyday, this whole story i relive it. I hide my emotions from people, i will smile and talk to people but i know im hiding my emotions. Its been 8 years in feb and it has just got worse

  50. Anonymous said on November 27, 2014 at 7:59 am ... #

    Thank you for this post, I needed it. My best friend’s father just passed away last week, and although we spoke briefly just after it happened, I haven’t heard from her since. I have been texting her every few days to say I’m still thinking of her, I’m there for her, offering to be with her, etc, but with no replies. I can’t even imagine the hurt she is going through, and I wish very much I could do something to help. As someone mentioned in a comment, it’s hard to know where to draw the line between contacting them for support and leaving them alone to grieve. I don’t want to overwhelm her, yet I don’t want to make her feel that I’m neglecting her either… By not hearing from her, I am just hoping to God that I didn’t say or do anything to offend, hurt, or upset her. I guess I’m feeling a little at a loss with what to do right now…

  51. sue said on November 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm ... #

    i can relate to these words, and i wish my friends could read them to, i think they tink that i am being rude, when they say..we will come the moment if i decide to see anyone, i always go to them, this way i can leave when i need to, which is somthing i cant do, if they are in my home.
    i wounder if anyone else does this?
    and yes, i have a smile painted on my face, how would like to see a sad face, no one.

  52. Vicki said on December 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm ... #

    I lost my mom last November due to cngestive heart failure, she had never been sick until May of that year. She was never a complainer and such a hard working sweet mom. Her and my dad where married for almost 63 years They did everything together! 2 months later my dad had a massive heart attack and passed away, Even though my mom was 81 and my dad 82, loosing them has been almost more than I an bear. I truly believe my dad died of a broken heart. He was so sad after mom left he just couldn’t get over it. I Ave 2 brothers and we were always such a close family! We (all of us, our kids and gradkids) got together every other Sunday, I spoke with them every morning and every night. I just still feel like ni one understands! My husband says I’m so touchy sometimes. My kids don’t say much but they think I should be getting over it and moving on. The fact is I know I’m touchy, but give me some compassion not, O she’s in a mood…stay clear, Yes sometimes I want to be alone cause this is when I cry. I try nit to let anyone see me cry. I’m just not the person I used to be and I don’t know how to move on. Sometimes I still think Omg… this is real! I want my mom and dad back!!! I just wish the closest ppl to me could understand that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Prayers to everyone on this page my heart goes ou to you!!

  53. where did I go wrong said on December 18, 2014 at 1:14 pm ... #

    I wish I could turn back time, I’m so lost, I just want to disappear

  54. izzie said on December 21, 2014 at 12:13 am ... #

    Hello all. My mother died a month ago after a very short battle (11 weeks) with brain cancer. The process so far has been waves of emotions where one minute things seem manageable to the next minute of being completely overwhelmed. There are days when I can function okay but then I also have days where I just want to cry or sleep or sit in a complete vegetative state. My partner tries to be supportive but then feels that there is a wall of emotion between us and states that I have been less patient. We try to communicate and work through the impact my grief has on our relationship but sometimes I just want to be allowed to just be. Meanwhile, my partner misses ‘the old me’ who was energetic, caring and happy-go-lucky. I honestly don’t know if my relatioship can survive this, but I can say that this is a time where I need to focus on myself and my healing. The things that seem to help are honest communication with my partner, friends, working out, my pups, going to therapy, having a ritual that honors my mom (I light 3 candles in the morning ) and realizing that I am grieving and that it is okay to feel whatever I am feeling. I wish everyone comfort during their own times of struggle. Hugs and well wishes.

  55. sue said on January 18, 2015 at 7:42 am ... #

    I lost my 52 year old best mate and husband of thirty years on December 16th 2014:4 weeks ago to an 18 month battle with cancer linked to an MS treatment he was having.We were between a rock and a hard place.We didn’t have kids and our lives together were so reflective of eachother.We were mates.He made me feel beautiful just in the way he looked at me.When I read this blog and I felt that my thought processes mirrored Emilys.Even some of my language was the same.( I started writing a journal.) Before I had read it I was already analysing and reseaching grief!I used this article and sent it to my family in the hope that it would help them to help me.They thought it most insightful.The battle we fought the last 12 months together continues now in solo.The hardest aspect is it is such a lonely path full of societal expectations that leave you exhausted when you are already shattered.

  56. Andrea said on January 19, 2015 at 9:41 am ... #

    Thank you so much Emily, for this post. My husband and I had been married 2 months shy of 18years, when he unexpectedly passed away. He was my whole life, my love, my best friend and partner in every sense of the word. He passed 3 days before Christmas 2013. We were out Christmas shopping a week be for Christmas. Despite the fact that neither enjoyed shopping, we had an absolutely wonderful day together. We weren’t home 10 mins when he collapsed. Airlifted to Atlanta, we found he had a minor stroke and the prognosis was good. Sadly, during his stay at the hospital, he had another stroke, which turned out to be massive. Three neurosurgeons told me I had a choice to make. I already knew what he wanted, as we had discussed this several times, but that didn’t make it any easier. It was the hardest decision I will ever have to make.

    So many things you stated in your article, I’ve had to deal with, especially with family. They all wanted big family get togethers, that I really didn’t want to be at, but went anyway. When Christmas came this year, I wanted it to go by as quickly as possible. My brother and his wife always have a big Christmas Eve party and I declined the invitation. For a month, my sister-in-law was relentless, thinking she knew best for fear I might commit suicide, even though I have no suicidal tendencies. People call, but don’t know what to say or say too much. I have mentioned my husband at least twice each day to anyone I talk with, since he passed.

    It’s going on 13 months and it still seems like yesterday. I still have a hard time actually believing it really happened and I remember vividly, every single detail from the day he collapsed to the day he passed away. It hasn’t gotten any easier and I know I’ve retreated into myself, for peace.

    I tell people, cherish the time with your spouse while they are still here. Don’t be so arrogant thinking you take care of more than the other did, because I guarantee, you will find out just how much they did, when they are gone, that you took for granted, because it was just “done”. Now it’s all your responsibility and is overwhelming.

  57. Peggy said on January 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm ... #

    Lost my son May 16, 2013. I miss him as much now as the day he passed, don’t think this pain will ever leave. He was 41 years old, the last 25 years of his life he was in a wheelchair due to an accidental gunshot wound. He died 3 times the night he was shot, 8 years later he was very ill and lost his leg at the hip. There are days he is that baby boy going in the OR for surgery on his tonsils and tubes in his ears. Some days I relive the days he was struggling in rehab. My husband and I are facing our golden years without him and I pray my memory does not go, it is all I have left of him.

  58. mark said on January 31, 2015 at 8:48 am ... #

    thank you emily for a very totching letter im man in my late 40s i lost my dad 27nov 2011 i was his full time carer well i lived with my dad all my life in the same house mom and dad was divorced when i was 13 stayed with dad my sister lived with mum. over the years was so mixed up dident under stand i wasent the best child growing up couldent seem to find myself as time went on i fell out with my mum dident like her boyfriend so i stoped going to see her over 25 years now have no feelings for her any more dad allways said to me you only have one mum i know he was right dident listen half of the time dident know how i went through a bad time in my life 20 years felt so lost dad knew me as i allways depended on him hes all i had and i loved him i really loved him he worried about me and i worried about him dad was digagnoised with cancer 2006 ive been through everything with my dad going to hosptail radio therpy my spelling is really bad one of the nurses said i can see how your so devoted to your dad i dident want to see him there wanted him to come home dad died at home with me he died in my arms 3 years on i cry inside of me try not to show my feelings
    im am on my own lonely have no kids and no love in my life i just can not get motavated and it is true if you have never exprenced the loss of someone so very close its hard it really is thanks mark x

  59. Eri said on February 5, 2015 at 9:26 pm ... #

    I read this over and again.And the words this author uses could never of said it better.This is how it is.I just loss my beloved.Who passed away 2 weeks ago.I dunno what else to say.Just know that this helps.
    Take care all who grieve.May we make it through to the other side till it is our time.


  60. Donna said on February 13, 2015 at 1:13 pm ... #

    I have just read behaviour of the bereaved, thank you Emily, you are spot on. I have recently lost my dear mum. I am all over the place, on a roller coaster & I want to get off but can’t. I know I have to ride this train as I lost my dearest dad 16 years ago & I kind of know what to expect only it all seems so different. I am the eldest of 4. I am sooo blessed to have some fantastic understanding friends but the thing I can’t get to grips with is people ignoring me. Some of the people at work have totally blanked me, it’s like I’ve got something catching & it’s the people who I thought were friends. Some have even gone about with me like nothing has happened & when I don’t smile or laugh at their jokes, I get ‘oooh whats up with you then?’ I understand it can be hard for people to say something to me through fear of upsetting me but they won’t, it hurts much, much more being ignored or being expected to forget or even feel guilty for my grief to save their feelings, especially when it’s so recent.I feel that by saying something, rather than nothing to the bereaved makes one feel that their grief has been acknowledged and that, to me, means a lot.
    My heart & love goes to all of you on here, who have lost their loved ones
    Donna. xxxxxx

  61. Mim said on February 15, 2015 at 2:41 am ... #

    Thank you! I lost my mother nearly 5 weeks ago. What you have said is what I needed to hear. I have a husband and children but I can’t go back to normal. I only discovered how to cry 2 days ago. I’ve been told to hurry my grief along. I have friends who call constantly worried why I’m not calling them back. I’m now being told how worried everyone is by my weight loss, which is making me feel angry – I just lost my mother… what does 5kg matter? I will without gain that back – but never a mother. Thank you for normalizing my bereavement.

  62. tonia dehoyos said on February 28, 2015 at 4:18 pm ... #

    My husband and I lost our three month old daughter to sids a year ago we are still together but we both are still grieving it seems like life will never change or get better I have a huge hole in my heart there are days I can’t even get out of bed there days I want to just die. I have no purpose in this life anymore. I feel let down by god.

  63. sadness said on March 2, 2015 at 5:40 pm ... #

    Just found this and it is so true. After 8 long and lonely years, with a rule of no crying in public, I sobbed my heart out as it read it, because at last I found some one who understood. I am totally alone, no children, no close family and no one I currently know ever met my husband, so how can they begin to understand what I have lost. Nice to know I’m not alone, but still don’t know how to move on, not even sure if I want to.

  64. Eva said on March 5, 2015 at 9:55 pm ... #

    My heart goes out to everyone posting on here. I am a friend dealing with someone who lost a child. I learned a lot from this article and it spoke to me. Thank you.

  65. Donna said on March 8, 2015 at 5:19 am ... #

    First I would like to say to all of you I am so sorry for your losses. My father passed 24 years ago. I still love him and miss him. My heart is tugged when memories cross my mind. No one gets over losing a loved one. We just learn to live without them. I remember that raw pain lasting for about three years. On January 15,2015 my niece suffering from post partum depression and dealing with a new baby girl 41/2 months old died. She was 28. Beautiful. Nice husband, home and beginning a new chapter in her life. My sisters only child. They had bought the house next door to her. It’s been six weeks. My sister has three fairly good hours a day. The rest she cries. Family and friends have been very supportive. Phone calls, a picture frame with a poem on it, a coffee up with her picture and her babies. Calls from a few of our friends who have also lost children in their 20’s. I was her aunt. I had all boys so her daughter was like my daughter. I swing between disbelief and gut wrenching misery. I cry in my car and at night when all is quiet. My sister will be crying for a long time. I will call her,listen and cry with her. Probably for the rest of our lives. Everyone grieves in their own way. Yet it is similar. Keeping memories alive with pictures, stories and just listening. Most people with a heart won’t judge. If they do too bad. They didn’t lose a daughter or son or husband. You did. Pay no attention to some of the ridiculous things that people say. They are uncomfortable. And truth be told there just are no words. We also lost our baby sister in 2009 to a brain cyst. 42 years old with 3 children. 18,15 and 13 at the time. My sister has her beautiful granddaughter 3 days a week. She finds joy in that. Though she cries because she looks just like her daughter did when she was a baby. My advice stay away from negativity. Remember other family members are grieving too and anger is common. They loved them too. My 23 year old was her best friend as my other two sons are 40 and 38. The youngest tried to pick arguments with me for the past six weeks. I just had to remind myself that I was lost in my grief and he needs my comfort too. Time helps. That said we want to turn back time. We want them back. Her last photo was of her kissing the babies head in front of my Christmas tree. It’s beautiful. Grief is not easy. Never mind the people who don’t understand. Grieve in your own way at your own pace. My heart goes out to all of you with love and eventually some inner peace. Hugs to each and everyone of you that are in pain. Life does go on. Even though you don’t think so you will laugh and smile again but life will never be the same.

  66. grateful said on March 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm ... #

    Thank you so much – so many mean well but don’t understand that pushing you to go out to dinner is well meaning but only aggravates the pain or that just because you want to be alone doesn’t mean you can’t cope. Grief is something you must work through and it takes time and space. Most importantly, it’s different for everyone – one person’s grief is not the grief of another, so please don’t dismiss grief with an offhand “Oh I’ve been there – know exactly what you’re going through…”

    Thank you for such a beautifully written article.

  67. JRo said on March 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm ... #

    So. Much. This.
    I just lost my partner of 20 years to cancer on March 1st, only 6 weeks after her diagnosis. I’m introverted by nature and the needs of other people are overwhelming. They want to grieve with me. I get that. But sometimes I don’t want to share my grief.

    I’m so glad I found these blog posts. I feel so alone, need to be alone, but at the same time need someone to get it.

  68. What now? said on March 22, 2015 at 6:19 am ... #

    I thought I was starting to go mad. I lost my dad 16 months ago, and whilst it was difficult (he lived abroad as he and my mum divorced years ago), my sister and I were able to visit him in hospital. My mum couldn’t attend his funeral as she was ‘a bit poorly’ (they spoke to each other every day). What we didn’t know was that mum had cancer and passed away 3 months later, just over a year ago. I’ve had ups and downs but I feel I’ve come full circle and can’t deal with it. My husband says that I should be paying more attention to the living and not ‘wallowing’. When will this get better? The doc said I had depression and prescribed medication (which I only took for 4 days as the side effects were so awful. I just want everyone to leave me alone.

  69. teresta dominoski said on April 2, 2015 at 3:55 am ... #

    I lost my husband 8 months ago to cancer. I came back to my home town after emptying the home we were renting and said goodbye to the life I had. I returned to learn my mom had stage 4 liver cancer. I break down and cry with no notice. My heart is broken and my soul is torn. My life has a shadow over it that has not lifted. Oh I look alight on the outside but I am slowly dying inside. My life is consumed with work and helping to care for my mother. I miss my husband and his absence is a physical pain I still carry with me. Even though I am a believer and I know he is in heaven and I will be with him again that knowledge does not help me now.

  70. Angela Roberts said on April 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm ... #

    Hello,were do i even begin,its ben 4years now sence my daughter died,she was a priemmie and lived only a minute,befor passing from my arms into the arms of a heavenly father.i am still grieving today,and yes we find a way to keep surviving but as for me i will never be the same,you will think your doing just fine till a friend invites you to there daughters party and you fall to pieces in a minutes much hurt,so many feelings,i guess it helps getting the fealings out,im hoping some one can relate.

  71. Gerald Fllores said on April 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm ... #

    Those words are so true,the closest to how I feel exactly,brought a tear to my eyes because it sounded like something I was writing.
    My wife Rena suffered from cancer for over four years and it was heartbreaking to watch her go through that and see her getting worse by the weeks.
    Rena had to go into a hospital in London because to have a stent fitted in her head as the cancer went to her brain,before she went in she was being sick kept losing sight in one eye every now and then,this was because pressure was building up in her head from fluid which is why the stent was fitted in hospital.
    As I lived 40 miles from the hospital it was difficult to see my wife every day so a decision by both my wife and me to have her brought home and looked after by me was made,so a special bed was sent and I turned the lounge into a bedroom for us.
    I promised I would be with my darling wife until her calling,she wanted to see Christmas and that she did although she wasn’t good Christmas Day but she willed herself to see it with me,the time from the hospital until her calling was spent having to lay down on her back for about 3 months in the special bed,but at least she was at home and could have what she wanted until she couldn’t eat any more.
    Well on the 31st December last year she started to get very bad and was sleeping not drinking or eating which meant she couldn’t take any more medication,the morning of Jan 02 2015 a nurse come to administer some morphine through a line she had fitted,the nurse squeezed her toe lightly then looked at me and said it was the start of her shutting down as no blood went back to her toe,I was told that she wouldn’t make it until bed time,so the last 4 hours I held her hand even though she was in deep sleep and she didn’t suffer one bit,the only thing I noticed was the breathing getting shallower until 4pm it finally stopped,I could do was cuddle her and tell her over and over again how much I love her,it felt like I had been torched my heart ripped out and my stomach feeling like it had been kicked as hard as someone could kick it, the worst feeling I could ever describe,26 years of marriage and 30 years total of love taken away from me,now it’s just me and 3 cats.
    What I have found fro my wifes family is that while she was ill so many of them were calling in offering to do things for me,the one main thing I have seen is the lack of communication from them now even being told that I need to move on now and pull myself together and that I need to phone as well if I want to stay a “FRIEND”of the family!.
    Not even a text or phone call by two of the sisters and the nieces have stopped coming around to see me,so no offers of help or visits by any of them,and one sister doesn’t contact me what so ever.
    They all seem to think it’s about time I pull myself together and get on as normal,like they have.
    All the paperwork and sorting of taking my wife’s name off things was left for me to do,I feel like I haven’t even had time to grieve for my wife properly yet.
    My wife was 54 when she passed away,it still feels like a bad dream and I am finding it hard to accept.

  72. Gerald Fllores said on April 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm ... #

    Those words are so true,the closest to how I feel exactly,brought a tear to my eyes because it sounded like something I was writing.
    My wife Rena suffered from cancer for over four years and it was heartbreaking to watch her go through that and see her getting worse by the weeks.
    Rena had to go into a hospital in London because to have a stent fitted in her head as the cancer went to her brain,before she went in she was being sick kept losing sight in one eye every now and then,this was because pressure was building up in her head from fluid which is why the stent was fitted in hospital.
    As I lived 40 miles from the hospital it was difficult to see my wife every day so a decision by both my wife and me to have her brought home and looked after by me was made,so a special bed was sent and I turned the lounge into a bedroom for us.
    I promised I would be with my darling wife until her calling,she wanted to see Christmas and that she did although she wasn’t good Christmas Day but she willed herself to see it with me,the time from the hospital until her calling was spent having to lay down on her back for about 3 months in the special bed,but at least she was at home and could have what she wanted until she couldn’t eat any more.
    Well on the 31st December last year she started to get very bad and was sleeping not drinking or eating which meant she couldn’t take any more medication,the morning of Jan 02 2015 a nurse come to administer some morphine through a line she had fitted,the nurse squeezed her toe lightly then looked at me and said it was the start of her shutting down as no blood went back to her toe,I was told that she wouldn’t make it until bed time,so the last 4 hours I held her hand even though she was in deep sleep and she didn’t suffer one bit,the only thing I noticed was the breathing getting shallower until 4pm it finally stopped,I could do was cuddle her and tell her over and over again how much I love her,it felt like I had been torchered my heart ripped out and my stomach feeling like it had been kicked as hard as someone could kick it, the worst feeling I could ever describe,26 years of marriage and 30 years total of love taken away from me,now it’s just me and 3 cats.
    What I have found fro my wifes family is that while she was ill so many of them were calling in offering to do things for me,the one main thing I have seen is the lack of communication from them now even being told that I need to move on now and pull myself together and that I need to phone as well if I want to stay a “FRIEND”of the family!.
    Not even a text or phone call by two of the sisters and the nieces have stopped coming around to see me,so no offers of help or visits by any of them,and one sister doesn’t contact me what so ever.
    They all seem to think it’s about time I pull myself together and get on as normal,like they have.
    All the paperwork and sorting of taking my wife’s name off things was left for me to do,I feel like I haven’t even had time to grieve for my wife properly yet.
    My wife was 54 when she passed away,it still feels like a bad dream and I am finding it hard to accept.

  73. mitt said on May 22, 2015 at 11:27 pm ... #

    Thank you. You have expressed
    My feelings.
    I will never know the joy of having unconditional love. I miss her so much. One day we will see each other again!

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