The Limited Language of Grief
Understanding Grief : Litsa Williams/
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I have been thinking about the limitations of language a lot lately, specifically when it comes to grief. When you write and talk about grief as much as we do at What’s Your Grief, you become accutely aware of the ways in which language sometimes fails. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to find the words to capture an emotion or an experience, especially those that are felt with the intensity of grief. The reality, of course, is that language will never truly be able to capture the depths of our pain or the complexity of our experience.
Grief is such an emotional mishmosh (yes, this is a real word) that finding single words or phrases sometimes just doesn’t work. People still try though, because there is something profound about putting words to an experience. Sometimes we just want someone else to understand and without a way to communicate we feel isolated and alone.
Have you ever known a person or a group of people like family, friends or co-workers, who you find it’s really easy to communicate with? When you’re around these people you can say two words where you would normally need four because you share a common language. Words give feelings, events, and experiences credibility; they provide a sense of commonality because if there is a word for something, then someone else must have experienced it at some point.
Here at WYG, in our desperation to describe grief, we’ve taken liberties that would make your high school english teacher cringe (as if our typos weren’t bad enough already). We’ve used nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns; we’ve taken a little of this word and a little of that word and mixed them together to create a whole new compound word; and we’ve straight up manipulated nonsense words to our liking. Luckily there is technically no reason why we can’t just create new words. Shakespeare created 1,700 new words. Lil’ Wayne got the word ‘bling’ into the Oxford English Dictionary, so why shouldn’t we be allowed to circulate some new grief words and phrases?
For example, phrases like ‘womp womp’. Now credit where credit is due, we’re not the first to use the phrase ‘womp womp’, the urban dictionary even has an entry for it. But in the spirit of Shakespeake, who coined some of his new words by changing the usage of existing words, we suggest that ‘womp womp’ can and should have expanded usage. According to urban dictionary womp womp is a lighthearted phrase that indicates a loss.; A sound of loss heard on a gameshow. (first womp is a higher frequency sound than the second womp). According to What’s Your Grief a womp womp is
Yeah, you know what were talking about. Sometimes we just feel down about everything and it doesn’t matter what others do to cheer us up. As a reader commented when we first posted about this phrase, “I slide into the womp-womps pretty fast”. Conveys it pretty perfectly, right?
And how about the phrase ‘grief friends’? If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes at WYG you probably already know that we talk about our grief friends on the regular. From our own experience and years working with people grieving, we recognize incredible friendships can develop between people who connect over grief. This can even be one of those friendships where a common language is spoken. Clearly, there should be a term for this kind of friendship, so we have taken it upon ourselves to regularly work the phrase ‘grief friends’ into our vernacular. We even podcasted about it here.
Still, there are many experiences where we remain tongue tied. These are grief-related events and feelings that should have a word, but don’t. For example, someone who has lost a spouse is a widow (or widower), someone who has lost both parents is an orphan. But for those who have lost a child, we can think of no specific word. Apparently in Chinese there is a word for a parent who has lost an only child, but this neglects grieving parents with multiple children. Most commonly we hear the term bereaved parent and, though it works, I can’t help but wish that such an unbelievably devastating loss had its own word. While you’re working on a word for this, go ahead and get working on a word for bereaved siblings too.
Next up, a word for horrible day that rolls around once a year . . . the anniversary of a loved one’s death. Now, the word anniversary of course exists but it just sounds so . . . positive. Luckily we are not the first to suggest there should be a better word for the anniversary of a loved one’s death. Many in the stillbirth and child loss community have coined their own word, an “angelversary.” Our grief friend, Anna Winston-Donaldson from the An Inch of Gray blog has suggested our favorite word for this day thus far — a “crapiversary”. We suspect there may be other terms out there, so let us know your favs.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could create a whole grief-glossary? Then we could all talk to each other without any confusion ever! Okay, maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, but sharing a few new words and phrases never hurt anyone when such intense and individual emotions and experiences are involved. We can only improve our ability to communicate by normalizing and refining the language of grief.
So, we would love to hear from you. What do you wish there was a word for? What experiences have you struggled to convey and communicate? What new words have you learned (or made up) since you started grieving? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.
Oh…and don’t forget to subscribe.
48 Comments on "The Limited Language of Grief"Click here to leave a Comment
Cally July 10, 2019 at 1:34 am
I lost my mom due to her mental illness that makes it impossible for us to have a relationship. She and I used to be very close until she experienced a huge trigger and our relationship has changed forever. I refer to the previously caring/kind mom I used to know as Mom A and the painful/unsafe mom I know now as Mom B. She’s still alive and out there in the world, so I’ve been grieving her for 6 years now… maybe others who’ve lost people who are still alive can relate. Very grateful for WYG. Hugs and love to all of you grief friends. <3
Brian C. February 9, 2019 at 12:08 am
I don’t like to use the word “anniversary” or even “deathiversary” but simply refer to it as an “x-year mark”. I am less than 2 weeks from the 2-year mark of my mom’s passing and it’s already been a rough month…not helped by the fact that a very dear friend of mine is not doing very well now and may be headed toward death herself…taking things one day at a time!
Jacquelyn Kelly January 15, 2019 at 8:46 am
My mum passed away suddenly, it was a traumatic experience in which I had to do chest compression’s, whilst waiting for the paramedics. I have a lot of family blaming me for not saving her and avoiding me. Her deathiversary is next month and I am definitely struggling with the emotions and guilt.
Brynette July 2, 2019 at 10:45 am
Please do not live with any guilt.
Family are quick to lay blame on others to try and relieve their own guilt and or grief. Its a rotten thing to do, although many are weak and thoughtless.
Please remember. You did what you could and be at peace with yourself.
I rarely comment on these articles.
Just needed to comment on this one xx
Lost my beautiful husband after 36 wonderful years.
Meg June 10, 2017 at 4:27 am
I agree with this whole-heartedly but also wish certain phrases would be removed from our vocabulary.
I’m tired of people saying their phone or other electronic device is ‘dead’ when the battery is flat. Does that mean their item is ‘ressurected’ each time it is charged again. I’m frustrated with other times people use dead without actually referring to real death (‘this place is dead’ ect). My mother passed away due to injuries from a car accident so it also bothers me when people say things like ‘I was so tired last night, I crashed into bed.’ It seems so mocking of the pain felt when people who matter are no longer here with us but I feel others will probably say I am just being hypersensetive.
Belem January 22, 2019 at 8:40 pm
not at all…
ever since my boyfriends passing…I cannot hear those terms either being used in the most casual way…its like it hurts and I find them annoyingly disrespectful…I thought I was the only crazy one…
I cant even say them myself…
I used to say them before I meet grief…but now they have a whole new meaning…a painful one
kinda conforting to know am not the only one…
Kasia October 2, 2021 at 4:20 pm
You are not sensitive or hypersensitive at all. I am writing about grief memoirs and I read a lot of comments in these memoirs similar to yours – not the same because everyone has their own unique way in which they express their own dissatisfaction how people around them use different words in interactions with the bereaved.
I personally dislike when people say “I know how you feel” – this seems innocent but it is not – no one knows exactly how they feel unless they suffered a similar loss, and even then their feelings are bound to be different.
I think we should all be more responsible about what words we use not only in grief but in everyday life – of course no need to be paranoid and if we can see that we misused a word we can always ask the other person why they think this word was inappropriate – that is how we all grow and communicate and that is how language evolves into being supportive and not diminishing.
Kristi June 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Lin- I tried to reply to comment but couldn’t. I am in the same exact situation. Lost my best friend of over 20 years almost a year ago, and I think it is hitting me harder than her husband. But it’s even more complicated- the 3 of us lived together. Nothing weird, they hustled needed a place to live so they moved in and then she eventually went on hospice and she died in my house. Her husband still lives with me, because we were going to help each other through this but he is never around. I am trying to be understanding about it, but he doesn’t pay rent because they never did, and between her dying and him being MIA, I feel abandoned. Whether that’s fair or not that’s how I feel. I need a word for this weird situation and to doscribw the loss I feel of both of my friends really
lin deahl June 17, 2017 at 12:00 am
I just read your comment about losing your best friend. With the 3 of you living together it is a complex situation. Grief is just hard and tiring and makes you sick. for a long time. Her husband may be absent, but her has no idea how to deal with His grief either. Pulling away from people and retreating is how some people deal with loss. I hope you can find your path through the painful, life altering fog of grief. At 15 month I think I have finally emerged from the overwhelming SHOCK.
Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC May 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm
After discovering that “the American language is ill equipped to handle the death of a child,” bereaved mom Kara LC Jones of Kota Press published her “Dictionary of Loss,” here: https://j.mp/1sVTopn
Beth May 28, 2016 at 6:35 pm
I lost my older brother 6 months ago. His death was tragic and devastating. The last time I was alone with him was the 4th of July when we watched the fireworks from his hospital room. I’m dreading this 4th of July. It’s not his birthday, the crapiversary of his death, but the day signifies something very sacred to me. I need a word.
Karen Quandt May 28, 2016 at 10:06 am
How about the word gravidus for a parent who has lost a child. It is Latin and can mean pregnant, full or burdened. Gravid is Latin and means pregnant, or full of meaning. I think a parent who has lost a child is burdened and full of meaning. This seems to capture some of what it is to be a parent who has lost a child.
angela jennings May 28, 2016 at 5:44 am
Since losing my daughter seven months ago aged thirty one to the brutality and evilness of cancer and dealing with the unemotional professionals I had the displeasure of having to have had to meet … except one very special humanitarian who treated my daughter with love, respect and utmost care todate I have found it difficult to communicate with a large majority of people, who have not experienced our battle and loss but have been so “free” with their advice for our suffering … even though whilst seeing the panic and distraught on our faces … they have continued with “what is best for us” …. there have been a “handful” of true, compsssionate sensible people who have shown their utmost compassion with just a hug … few words .. I would advise that unless “you have walked in the greiving person’s shoes and been in their “exact” situaton re loss” .. less said the better as “silly patitudes” are both insulting and extremely hurtful to the grieving parents …. we need to look at other cultures and see how respectful they deal with “grief”. Luckily, for us, we have been given that opportinity which has proven to be far more soothing and comforting ….. my heart goes out to you all ….
Chele Ynteme May 28, 2016 at 3:08 am
I have BPD and I have always had a really really foul mouth… I used to hate myself for it until I read this article that made so much sense… It said that quite often people used explicits in order to convey an intensity and depth of emotion that is not easy to convey. That simple notion lightened up my heart towards myself.
My whole life I was never heard. No one was listening to me, no one saw me, I was invisible. Then one day, out of the blue it felt like, I was triggered I regressed and the inner child in me that so desperately wanted to be noticed and heard started letting her suppressed rage out by swearing…
It is a terrible habit, and now that I understand it I have compassion for the little self that hurt so deeply she had no words for expression…
Lin Deahl May 27, 2016 at 11:30 pm
I want a word for losing my Best Friend of 25 years. We were emotionally closer to each other than our spouses, but it was not an affair. We were boon buddies, two peas in a pod, eternal friends. I am an emotional widow without the burden of paper work. I am 100 times more dysfunctional than his wife. Without my twin star I am not me anymore. I will never be ok again. I lost my emotional center of gravity, the bright star in my sky, and my life compass. I want a word for losing that one Best Friend of a life time.
Kristi June 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm
n the same exact situation. Lost my best friend of over 20 years almost a year ago, and I think it is hitting me harder than her husband. But it’s even more complicated- the 3 of us lived together. Nothing weird, they needed a place to live so they moved in and then she eventually went on hospice and she died in my house. Her husband still lives with me, because we were going to help each other through this but he is never around. I am trying to be understanding about it, but he doesn’t pay rent because they never did, and between her dying and him being MIA, I feel abandoned. Whether that’s fair or not that’s how I feel. I need a word for this weird situation and to doscribw the loss I feel of both of my friends really
Mary Ann Ahroon May 27, 2016 at 11:04 am
I call that day my husband’s death day. I had a friend react negatively to the term but for me that’s what it is. And why not? Birthday / deathday. I reserve “anniversary” for the date of our marriage which is a prouder, happier event. By “death day I’m stating the fact without sugarcoating it or making the day seem less impactful than it’s been.
Melanie C May 27, 2016 at 9:53 am
Zeitlanger is a Pennsylvania Dutch word for a parent who has lost a child. My father runs a memorial site for US miltitary personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan called Zeitlangers.
cat May 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm
I forgot to mention that over the years I’ve lost a father, a brother, a finance and 5 dear friends before my mother died – so for me the G-Filter has been a constant, putting a name to not being heard is easier than trying to come up with words to get people to hear us in our grief. Sorry to go on about this but tomorrow is mother’s day, and its time to turn off the radio, tv and hide.
Lin Deahl May 27, 2016 at 11:34 pm
Cat- me too! since jan 2014 8 people. including mom, step-mom, sister-in-law, aunt….. I never get through one thing before another starts…. hope someone hits the stop button soon!
Cat May 7, 2016 at 2:38 pm
I’ve done alot of thinking about words for grief, but in my life have come to the sad realization that there are not more words because people do not want to hear them and do not listen to the grieving the same way as they did when they were not. The word I use for this is “the G-Filter”. As in I was talking to an old friend about my plans for mother’s day. I cared for my mother for the past 16 years, she became my child as her dementia progressed and her death was not a movie version, it was sudden and horrible in the ER. I am still numb and in pain if that is possible. My friend, who I have known for most of my life *didn’t hear the grief and sadness in my voice*, using the G-Filter, she laughed and suggested I use mother’s day to celebrate her life and “move on”. Just about everyone I know who has not gone through a heartfelt loss uses the G-Filter. So that is the word I now use – hope that helps. Let me know if you have experienced this. At some point I am going to start blogging about this, but for now it is all I can do to keep it together enough to function,
Mary May 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm
I had 7 losses in 8 years, the last one was my brother in January 2015. I don’t have any words left anymore. Life is just very very different. It is the only word I have.
Sylvia April 21, 2016 at 7:21 am
The one thing I’ve not seen mentioned is “caregiver” grief. The act of caring for a loved one, hands on for years as they decline and die creates a bond that is different than more ‘normal’ bonds like husband & wife or parent and child. My mother was profoundly disabled and demented at the end, yet she was still herself and clung to me like she was my child. When I took her to the ER and she died a bad death, all of the other losses I’ve experienced in my life didn’t prepare me for this. Yet for some reason, there is not much there emotionally that is specifically for caregivers. The closest I came to having someone get it was a nurse and doctor who knew my mother weep with me while her life ended. Friends and family don’t get it – so I wonder if there is a word anyone in the group can think of. She was my mother, a true friend, and eventually clung to me and called me mother. I never resented the caregiving nor was I conflicted about why I was doing it. SInce it’s happend I’ve been emotionally numb around most people – or acting too normal. Only the dog sees my griefy side. I’ve been reading all the posts and am glad that I’ve found this group – assuming many of you may have also been caregivers for loved ones what would you call it? I am too numb to be creative but would humbly ask people who are working through it what they would call it. thanks
Kate May 28, 2016 at 8:18 am
I completely agree with you about caregiver grief. There seems to be a vacuum around this subject which has surprised me. I cared for my husband for five months before he died from a brain tumour. I think we have a paucity of words for the emotional bond of caregiving, some of the ‘unthinkable’ things both parties cope with on a daily basis and the additional layers of loss that follow? Thank you for pointing this out and for reminding me I’m not alone in this. PS I sometimes I thinks dogs are better at being a supportive presence (and are less likely to fall over the landmines of using the wrong words!)
Helen Zz September 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm
I would like to invent a word for when you speak to the air or the sky, and it’s not a prayer, nor is it speaking to your loved one, but it is expressing your thoughts as if your loved one was there. Having “cloud time”.
Helen Zz September 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm
And mishmosh? 😉
Helen Zz September 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm
Mishmash is definitely a word. What’s your meaning for mishmash?
Joseph May 25, 2015 at 11:37 pm
Thank returned home for your kind words. I just eturned home from a family holiday bbq and I am struggling with the way they react towards me. They are a loving bunch and it’s not like they were not there for me because they were. They just thinkits time I get a grip. Frustrating to me when I am home here thinking about Buddy and Miguel . I am still profoundly sad. I feel like grief like this suspends you in time..you don’t move forward, you don’t move back. I would compare it to paralysis. Does anybody feel this way? I sometime think that I will never handle this and am better off dead and with them!
Litsa May 26, 2015 at 12:10 am
Joseph, what you’re feeling is so normal, especially in the early days of grief. As many others have commented here, our relationships with the ones we love often span years or decades, so when you lose someone it is unreasonable to imagine we will “get a grip” or “move on” in a few months! We have a post about the myth of the grief timeline here that you might want to check out https://www.whatsyourgrief.com/myth-grief-timeline/
In terms of feeling totally stuck, like you’re not moving forward, I can absolutely relate and I would venture to guess that many others can as well. It feels like the rest of the world has continued moving forward around us, and we are just stuck standing in one place, unable to even fathom moving forward again. And, in my experience and in the experience of many grievers I have worked with, the funny thing is that when you do start to move forward again sometimes you don’t even realize that you’re moving. All of a sudden you look back and you see you have made these little tiny bits of progress that you didn’t even realize you were making. But it is long and slow and it is not uncommon that those around us try to rush us in our grief.
Another post that it strikes me maybe worth checking out is a post that we have about support systems. Sometimes in grief we realize that the people around us, no matter how wonderful they are, may not be giving us everything we need while we are grieving. We wrote a post that was intended to help people best use their support system. You can read the post here: https://www.whatsyourgrief.com/support-system-superlatives-a-journaling-exercise/ or, if you prefer listening, you can listen to us talk about this on our podcast on the same topic: https://www.whatsyourgrief.com/twelve/. Another great way to supplement your support system is through finding a good counselor or grief support group.
I know it can be easy to feel hopeless in grief, but please know that you are never better off dead to your loved ones. If you are ever thinking of hurting yourself, please don’t hesitate to call it a suicide hotline right away or to go into your local emergency room for help. There truly are people available 24 seven to make sure you get the support you need! The national suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.
I am glad you have found our site and I hope you find good support here, both in the comments of others and in our other articles. Please remember that you are not alone!
Joseph May 26, 2015 at 3:35 am
Thank you so much for your caring response .it.s 3:30 AM and I am still up crying! I hear what you and all the other kind people have written and it does really help a lot. Everyone else seems to have moved on but me and it is a very lonely place to be. I don’t want to come off like a “cry baby” and to be so needy but it seems like this site is all I have when it comes to other people understanding where I am, I?m sure that when one finally gets through grief there us a catharsis of sorts, I just don’t see that happening for me at this point in my life. Maybe I’m wrong . I lost my twin brother when I was 21 and to this day there has been no catharsis nor have I evolved from it. His death put me in a tailspin for years but I was young..today the future looks cold and lonely. Thanks again to you and fall the compassionate people that come along with this site!
DL May 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm
Joseph, I can understand what you are saying. My partner died a little less than 2 years ago. I am not the least bit convinced that there is any such thing as “moving through” grief, or “moving on” or “moving forward” or “catharsis” , or any of those other things that people talk about. It doesn’t get better. What it gets is different. It will change, and that is the only thing you can really be sure of, because everything changes all of the time whether you even want it to or not. The passage of time changes things, and that is a guarantee. That doesn’t mean it gets better, but in the case of grief, “different” is what we get, so that will have to do. At least, that is how it is for me. I would suggest that you not really be looking for “forward movement” or “getting better” at all because it only can make you feel like a failure if that doesn’t feel to you like what is happening for you. What I do is just be with whatever is happening in the moment, and be with it to the best of my ability without judgement. And anyone else who judges you or tries to tell you what you should be doing or feeling, tell them to get lost. JMO.ppf
Tracy Russell May 21, 2015 at 4:22 am
Joseph, I had a conversation with my partner yesterday about well meaning friends who say “you need to find a way to deal with this” & “you’ll get over it” or the worst “I’m lucky to still have both my parents”! Instead of screaming in their faces, which I often think about doing I just say try walking a mile in my shoes and see how well you “deal” with it! People who haven’t lost are just ignorant to the fact that you’re grieving. No one has any right to tell you how to be so you carry on feeling what you need to feel. I lost my lovely Daddy very suddenly 8 months ago and I still have feelings of going completely mad but I understand now that this is grief – raw, hard grief and I’m not ashamed of it. Someone once told me the deeper the grief you feel, the deeper the love you had. Take care of yourself
Sherri May 20, 2015 at 7:25 pm
Joseph, 18 years is a very long time, and 4 months is a very short time. The people you know who are telling you to ” buck up” are coming from a place of ignorance of the grieving process, and probably from their own discomfort in seeing you suffer. This is your own journey, and only you will know when you are ready to interact with your new, radically different, life. I’m so glad you reached out here, and I hope you keep reaching out to others who may have words of support for your difficult journey.
Pamela May 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm
Joseph, just to reassure you. You are sooo normal. I lost my beloved Brent 6 months ago, we were together 31 years. Brent had just turned 52. Our ole beagle, Gunner 16 years old, grieved and passed 5 days after Brent. So I TOTALLY understand how you feel.
I have heard those same words from well-meaning friends and family. I know the despair, the weeping, the feeling that you are lost… the pain of a broken heart.
No darlin’, you aren’t crazy. You are just grieving and hurting and lonely and angry- like so many of us who subscribe to this site. No one tells you how bad it is going to hurt when your partner dies, the price we have to pay for being blessed with a wonderful love.
Reaching out with virtual hugs and shared crazy, heartfelt pain.
Joseph May 20, 2015 at 11:17 am
Hi: I get this feeling of going crazy when in grief, buy I actually am starting to believe that I truly am. I cannot get a minimal hold on my emotions and depression, especially at night. It has been 4 months since I lost my partner of 18 years and then my beloved Buddy, just one week later. I get so overwhelmed by the emotional pit that I cannot crawl out of. My friends and family think that it is time that I “buck up” but between you and me, I don’t think I ever will buck up..and more importantly I don’t think I want too. Life truly sucks at times. God Bless. (I even say that now with trepidation. My once, firmly believed and entrenched FAITH and how good God is if he really even exists, both have been shaken to their cores!
tracy russell May 20, 2015 at 10:22 am
Hi there, is there a word for the gnawing, physical pain I feel? I’m usually pretty good at explaining how I feel but trying to put that pain into words is beyond me! I lost my lovely Dad who was my best friend in September very suddenly (still can’t believe I’ve written that he’s gone) and this pain gets me out of the blue every day. Thanks. Ps I love reading what you all have to say.
DL May 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm
YES. Please! Can we make some new words? One of the prime symptoms of our death- and grief-phobic society is that there are no words appropriate to express or define feelings or positions in which we find ourselves. I have for many years thought it was ridiculous that there is no word for someone who has lost a child. Although I have not had this experience, I think it must be surely the most devastating grief there is, and yet there is no word for it. And the paucity of words to describe feelings, “anniversaries”, and so on that you write about is part of what makes those of us in grief feel so alone. Language, as we all know, creates culture, and vice versa. Who says we can’t create new good words and start using them? I bet that if we do, and send them around to our friends and associates via the ever-present and powerful internet, some of them, at least, will catch on. Who knows, it could be a part of the change that is desperately needed in this society toward a more honest and direct way of acknowledging death and grieving. Let’s give it a go. I will be watching this to see what people come up with, and I will be thinking hard to see what I might invent, myself. Thanks for this post. It might be my favorite so far.
Joe N. May 9, 2015 at 9:19 am
I need a word that describes the way I feel most of the time. I want to tell friends and family, “Wait, I still have to talk to Miguel about this. . .” Miguel, of course, being the deceased. Since his untimely death 4 months ago, I still feel like I am floating in a cloud or in a different dimension then others. Have I entered into what is called “Magical Thinking”? Is this a coping mechanism or am I in just plain old denial and not moving on? I spent 18 years with this person …I’m not ready to move on…HELP!
Lin Deahl May 28, 2016 at 12:07 am
Joseph, Tomorrow it will be 90 days since my Best Friend walked on to the After life. DON”T even think about moving on!!!!!! YOU are not ready! I am crying with you, journaling every day, painting, and talking and I still can’t even believe he’s gone. I cry in the grocery store, the truck, shopping…. everywhere anytime. I wish I died when he did so you are not alone in your grief. This is a common response. Even now life is calling me back. So HOW do you tell people who think you should move on that you are just beginning a very long process of the most traumatic life adjustments you have made so far? I prefer the wordy, dramatic approach, it almost guarantees they will never push me again. Even when you said you have to talk to your partner…. I so relate. I have pictures everywhere and i talk to him all day long. and it i write in my journal I can hear his voice and i write what he says back to me. So somewhere between insanity and Faith we do communicate with our loved ones. WH MOVE ON? Why not take them with us? Why not build a continuing bond with them? Why do people insist we get over it? NOI will not get over it! I will talk to him the rest of my life. 4 months is just the start of a long adjustment,don’t rush it. The love is still there. You are still friends! Listen to your heart. You will know when it is time to make little moves. So don’t worry about any one else! this is your sacred time.
Teresa TL Bruce May 8, 2015 at 11:48 pm
Among many of my widowed friends the terms “sadiversary” and “angelversary” are both used for the date of our spouses’ deaths. We also refer to one another as “wid-sisters” or “wid-brothers” as if we are related — not by blood but by circumstance.
D. Johnson May 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm
Pamela, I would somehow “split” the day. If it’s possible, have the memorial ritual for your husband either a week before or in the morning. And then, reminding your daughter that her father would want her to be happy, I’d have a party on her actual birthday or in the afternoon/evening. Perhaps with “an empty chair”, a place at the table, or a toast or poetry/scripture reading included in the festivities. So sorry for your loss.
D. Johnson May 8, 2015 at 2:59 pm
Rhonda, have you ever checked out “CarlyMarie” on Facebook? It was through her that I learned of International Bereaved Mother’s Day. 2015 celebrated the fourth one on May 3rd. I am currently in an online support program that leads up to, includes, and carries past Mother’s Day. It has helped as only one person has supported me.
Pamela May 7, 2015 at 10:05 am
Hi everyone, I need a word. My mother passed away 3 years ago (April 28, 2012) on my sisters birthday. My husband passed away almost 6 months ago (November 12, 2014) on our daughters birthday. How do you celebrate a birthday while knowing that someone you loved dearly died on that very day…especially my beloved husband. Our daughter was a true daddy’s girl. We were married 30 years. Struggling…thanks.
Pam May 27, 2016 at 10:32 am
I know I am replying a year later on your comment. I lost my husband on April 12 last year (2015). He died on my middle sons birthday. I decided we would celebrate the birthday and then remember my husband on the day of his memorial, which is 5 days later. It worked out this year so I think we will keep it that way.
Belle May 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm
I use deathiversary for obviously anniversary of death when I speaking of it with that dread we feel in advance of. But I also use Angel Day for the same thing, in a more loving less angsty way.
I would love to come up with a term for sibling grief. We lost our 65 y/o brother last Friday (May Day as well). So far it is Now We Are Three..
And our experience is weird because we have donated my brother’s body, as was his wish. But do you put that in an obituary? (No in our case) . We did have to Beat The Reaper and stop the ME from an autopsy. Much drama – who cares? And as we have yet to plan any memorial – we are in Dimbo – death limbo. Rituals help, but as the deceased wanted none…we just sit around in shock.
Rhonda May 6, 2015 at 6:40 pm
How to face Mother’s Day when you have lost your only child? Do you have a word for that? Faith in God is the only defination that fits my situation. God is good.
Terry May 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm
I use the Basque word “egunean” (the day) in place of anniversary for the day we lost Susan, my wife ~ May 9, 2014.
Natalia May 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm
“Denialish”. The act or emotion of not accepting the loss and grief. As in today I am feeling denialish.