64 Examples of Disenfranchised Grief

as submitted by WYG readers

Disenfranchised grief is a term that was coined by one of our favorite grief researchers, Ken Doka, about twenty years ago. He defines disenfranchised grief as,

“Grief that persons experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned”. 

He suggests this can happen for a number of reasons that, for the most, fall into one (or sometimes more) of the following categories:

1. The loss isn’t seen as worthy of grief (ex. non-death losses)
2. The relationship is stigmatized (ex. partner in an extramarital affair)
3. The mechanism of death is stigmatized (ex. suicide or overdose death)
4. The person grieving is not recognized as a griever (ex. co-workers or ex-partners)
5. The way someone is grieving is stigmatized. (ex. the absence of an outward grief response or extreme grief responses)

Now, what is interesting about this definition is that it allows for much variability. Disenfranchised grief is not black-or-white, rather it is a relative and subjective experience. You and I may experience the same loss and in your social situation, among your friends and your community, the loss is “openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned”, whereas in my social situation, among my friends and community, it is not.  Though we have experienced the same loss, for me it will be a disenfranchised experience and for you, it will not.

For this reason, examples of disenfranchised grief range dramatically from person to person and community to community. We saw evidence of this a few weeks ago when we asked the wonderful WYG grief community to share examples of losses they have experienced as disenfranchised.  Not surprisingly, we were overwhelmed by the number of responses. We thought today we would share these responses with you in one of our famous (if you know us) ’64 things about grief’ lists.  So, without further ado, 64 examples of disenfranchised grief and loss.

[PS: There is a lot to say about disenfranchised grief, so if you want to read more about the concept and tips for coping, check out our primer on it here]

64 Examples of Disenfranchised Grief and Loss

  1. A death by suicide
  2. A death by drug overdose
  3. Death of a pet
  4. Infertility
  5. Loss of a home
  6. Grieving someone you didn’t know well
  7. Grieving someone you didn’t know at all (like a celebrity)
  8. Grieving someone you only knew online (cyber loss)
  9. The death of a sibling
  10. Grief that people think has gone on ‘too long’
  11. Loss of someone elderly
  12. A death by homicide
  13. A death from HIV/AIDS
  14. Getting clean and the loss of drug
  15. Death of the partner in an extra-marital affair.
  16. Loss of a job
  17. Divorce
  18. Moving/loss of community
  19. Grieving someone you can’t remember (ex. a parent who died when you were an infant)
  20. Grieving someone who died before you were born (an older sibling who died before you were born)
  21. Dying from childbirth
  22. Death of an ex-spouse or ex-partner
  23. Death of a same-sex partner
  24. Miscarriage and stillbirth
  25. Estrangement from family
  26. Loss of meaningful objects/belongings
  27. Not showing ‘enough’ emotion while grieving
  28. Showing ‘too much’ emotion while grieving
  29. Loss of language, culture, and tradition
  30. Loss of hopes and dreams for the future
  31. Grief following an abortion
  32. Grief following adoption
  33. Learning a secret/finding out a person wasn’t who you thought they were
  34. Grieving someone who is still living (examples #34-41)
  35. Grieving a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  36. Grieving a loved one with a substance use disorder
  37. Grieving someone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury
  38. Grieving someone who is dealing with a severe mental illness
  39. Grieving someone who has run away
  40. Grieving someone who has disappeared
  41. Grieving someone who is incarcerated
  42. Grieving family separation due to foster care
  43. Loss of physical health
  44. Loss of independence
  45. The death of a co-worker
  46. The death of a patient or client
  47. Loss of ‘lifestyle’ (losing financial means, getting clean from drugs/alcohol)
  48. Death of a step-child/step-parent
  49. Death of a foster child/foster parent
  50. Death due to child abuse
  51. Death of the driver in a drunk driving accident
  52. Death of someone in a ‘stigmatized’ peer group (a gang member, someone else using or selling drugs, etc).
  53. Loss of faith or religious identity
  54. ‘Circumstantial infertility’ (wanting a child but not having a partner with whom to have a child).
  55. Loss of identity or sense of self
  56. A foster child being reunited with biological family
  57. Grieving a close friend
  58. Grieving an unmarried partner
  59. Feeling abandoned by a parent who is involved but distant after a divorce
  60. Not having a ‘good’ relationship with a parent, sibling, or another family member.
  61. Death of a doctor or therapist
  62. Feeling failed or abandoned by friends, family, or community
  63. The death of someone you hadn’t seen or been in touch with for many years
  64. The person grieving is thought incapable of grief (someone with a mental disability, a young child)

As always, we like to keep our “64 things” lists going!  Leave a comment to add your experience with disenfranchised grief.

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April 11, 2019

65 responses on "64 Examples of Disenfranchised Grief"

  1. Grief over the loneliness I have over wanting a partner and never having one. It is like I am grieving for something I have never had. Not understood at all, as in “If you really wanted a girlfriend, why don’t you have one by now?” Or “why are you lonely and want a partner since you are so happy in your life, you are successful, you do interesting things” blah blah blah.

  2. Death of a dream. The marriage, the spouse who was my best friend, the reconcilliation attempt and the career due to resultant PTSD

  3. Lost my partner of 28 yrs, my best friend, my other brother, and support system 1 1/2 yrs ago. I have been broken and torn apart and could not even write this until right now. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD this fall and have begun to feel like my experience is being heard.
    Mike and I were not married, but we were as close as two people could ever be. In 2006 he wasdiagnosed with cancer of larynx. A small tumor was removed from his throat in 2007 .
    He made a choice not to do chemo or radiation, due to the sensitive area and probable disfigurement of his throat and neck. and it appeared that the growth was gone. He changed his diet, did alternative therapies, meditation techniques, vitamins etc. We worked together to keep his condition stable. He worked harder and was more determined than anyone ive ever met.
    And being a retired Social Worker, I have worked with many clients going through cancer.
    We worked together almost everyday on what he could do to heal. Friends faded away, his family was not involved at all . it was just the two of us and his ENT Dr. In 2010 his voice was getting more ragged, we worked harder, now the dangers of surgery were greater. he began having more difficulty breathing..and in 2014 he was given a Trach.
    Together we continued to work withd ifferent alternative therapies, more difficult because none were covered by insurance. His credit cards full, he continued to work so hard on his healing.
    In May 2018 he went in as an out patient to local hospital in St Augustine fl. for simple blood workup.h e was drinking fluids and ‘ green drinks. all of his blood work was fine. but they wanted to keep him overnite to check his Trach.
    The next AM I found him in ICU the next day, a sign paste on the window, saying ” No food, water, ice by mouth” without any catscans, MRI etc, one Dr, who never actually SAW HIM deemed he could not have water, ice, food by mouth. They would not listen to me, even when he had signed a release form , they still would not give him nourishment. It was a nightmare beyond comprehension, this same Dr. who had not even seen him made a pronouncement in front of a group of interns that he had cancer and” he had done nothing”. A combination of Hell an the Twilight Zone…n o one listening to him or to me. They began giving him morphine the second day( unbeknownst to him or me) and he became less an less coherent and weaker for lack of any nourishment . I fought day and nite for them to put in a peg, they finally did, but when they put in tube for anesthesia, and they jiggled his Trach and caused bleeding. Next morning I found him connected to machines, receiving massive amounts of morphine, fentanol and who knows what else. I called his step brother who had very little contact with Mike came. It became clear, once he got there, that he wanted no part in helping Mike survive this. After another heinous episode when a Dr. ran, in , shook Mike out of his coma, and repeatedly said” You are a sick man, you need chemo” I pointed to the heart monitor, he saw it was going off the charts..Mike did not know who he was, or where he was.
    The next AM, I was flat on the floor with a Migraine for 3 hrs the hospital wanted him out, an his brother ..had him admitted to Hospice . The plan that MIke agreed to was we would find a Nursing home , so he could recover, an also get used to this new peg. but no nursing home in this little town would take him because of Trach. The peg never worked properly , I ordered healthier liquid diet , but it never worked and they were giving him so much morphine, his bodywas shutting down (. I didn’t know the extent of the morphine an had them cut way back when I talked to a hospital in Gainesville, by then i couldnt take him home, because the peg needed attention constantly. His Dr. was in the hospital, we were all alone, he was given so much morphine that he could not write his name. I made them cut back..but when i was away they would give him more, an other benzoids as well. They still maintained that he was able to make his own decisions, he was NOT.
    May 11th he went in as an out patient for simple blood work, June 12 he passed. They had starved him to death, it began at hospital an continued at Hospice. To say I was in complete shock really doesnt not come close to it. Everyone was.
    It was clear, an especially after I saw all of Dr/ nurse notes, that the cancer had not spread to the rest of his organs, they were functioning fine, but that he had not gone down the traditional western path..so they made the ” call” that first day to help him die.
    HE NEVER EVER SPOKE OF WANTING TO DIE!! He walked in for simple blood work.!!! He was only 70 yrs old, taking walks, he had a different life, but, he was still enjoying it. As the woman I work with now, who has been a ICU Social Worker says, they have a ” cook book” they follow. They made a call that his life was not worth saving. They never asked him what he wanted nor listened to him or to me.
    The shock and rage went on for over a year. The rage at the cold, inhumanity of it stays with me. Being a retired Social Worker I feel responsible to share this with anyone I can. Having lost the love of my life I am broken. Our healthcare system is broken as well
    Forgive me for making this so long, it is the first time Ive shared it in writing. He was everything to me, he was an incredible human being…kind, caring person who would do anything for anyone..and he was treated like some thing to be discarded.
    I never dreamed i’d see or experience anything as dark as what I saw…

  4. My therapist put a name to my grief today, “disenfranchised grief”. #22 & #63(sort of) explain it. I had reunited with my ex-husband after 30 years. Within 6 weeks after our reunion, I left Las Vegas, my home of 24 years, quit my job of 9 years, and left family and friends. He came to get me and we drove all my belongings to Houston, TX, where he was living now. We were blissfully , deeply in love. I had been lonely and alone, and he had been way worse than that-he was an alcoholic, but I didn’t know how bad. Three weeks into my new found fairy-tale life, I find him dead on the living room sofa. He had a daughter and a 2nd ex-wife that I didn’t even know. And a good friend I met once. There were no old friends from our past, because our hometown was in Northern IL. So the 2nd ex-wife thinks I’m a gold-digger he picked up somewhere and tries to banish me from his house, and my only support system is the friend I had met once (who by the way, was a God-send-If he wasn’t there….). I’m in shock, being slandered by his other ex-wife, and completely alone (the friend couldn’t stay the whole time with me). My new life had just been ripped out from under me and the man I loved to the core of my being, who I’d just found again, was gone. My sister-in-law came out to get me and I packed up all my belongings again and drove them the long journey back to Las Vegas. I was not given any information, I couldn’t say good-bye, I went home…It was like I had been in some kind of horrible nightmare, because how could this really be happening. He died only 30 days ago (but I was in TX less time than that). We had 9 1/2 weeks-and the love was deep, and now I have the grief of his loss for the rest of my life. Which I know I will be alright, once I work through the ‘disenfranchised’ part and the PTSD that came with it.

  5. Hi Kathy Love

    My ex ASD partner (doctor too) was at home when I miscarried our third – a perfect boy, fitted on my extended fingers – dad wouldn’t look and told me in front of teen and preteen that I should flush “it” down the loo. Just saying – I was “obedient” then and tht there’s none so queer as folk…….. You’re not alone

  6. Suicide. My Mother took her life at age 72, following a stroke, causing incapacity and depression. She was a Christian and of course this brings many unfortunate comments. Difficult for a son to comprehend and understand suicide while still grieving.

  7. Cristina Dyer-DrobnackJanuary 9, 2020 at 9:05 amReply

    Loss of a close friendship. I lost a close friend, very much my fault and while there was forgiveness on her part, there was no reconciliation. I accept and respect that decision, but I still grieved the loss of that relationship and miss her to this day, though it happened decades ago.

    My teen is going through the loss of her best friend, who simply just pulled away from her with no explanation. Attempts to reach out on my teen’s part were met with lip service of “of course we’re still friends. I’m just busy, etc.” and then back to the ghosting it went. My teen is very shy with social anxiety and it’s hard for her to make friends/open up to people and this rejection by someone she did love and trust has been devastating. It’s affected her relationships with other common friends as well and I suspect the blame would be put on my kid for “being so quiet and shy”. But no one acknowledges it as a loss (outside of our home), nor recognizes that she is grieving. I’m not sure she even realizes she is grieving. She’s starting therapy now and I’m hoping the therapist can help her through this and give us ways to support and encourage her while acknowledging her pain.

  8. The loss a pet feels when their best friend disappears.

  9. Placement of a disabled child in residential care. Recently we placed our youngest child in a residential group home. She was 18, autism, cognitive delay and behaviors that made her unable to be around others. She is thriving in her new situation and we see her on zoom regularly, clearly happy and making strides. I should feel ecstatic but the world is like a game of double Dutch jump rope and I don’t know how to jump in. I have a good marriage and supportive husband, and five adult children and the group home is considered the best. But I feel like I have no place in this world. All anyone sees is a happy solution for my daughter and my happy marriage. It has been 3 months and I feel guilt over not being happy.

  10. Psychopathic (or sociopathic/antisocial personality disorder/malignant narcissistic) “discard” should be added to the list of disenfranchised griefs. After 37 years together, my husband “discarded” me completely and profoundly. When I innocently discovered he was leading a double life, he unleashed a torrent of abuse upon me. Beyond saying he’s never really cared about me, he added that he deserved a partner who could dance and hike (I am disabled), and laughed at me as I silently cried for hours. It was abuse heaped upon abuse. I have lost my house, my dogs, my community, the support of most people (he is a superb actor), and my entire sense of family. The local hospice won’t let me attend their bereavement groups because he did not die!

    • If you have identified your ex as having traits consistent with Aspergers you may like to join this facebook group which is considered by many to be the most wisely led, emotionally supportive and non judgemental group around: search in Facebook for ‘WaPoA group’ (there are some other similar groups – if you’re not sure you’ve found the particular group, cover photo is a field of sunflowers) and ask to join if you like. All the best.

  11. The Artist Formerly Known As AndyNovember 17, 2019 at 3:00 pmReply

    The last three years have been a real build-up:

    – Had to drop out of university again because of a mental breakdown and suicide thoughts
    – Three hospitalizations
    – No contact to my “family”, except for my mother and occassionally my dad
    – Everyone around me gets married, pregnant and has a decent job, while I’ve been unemployed for some time and still
    – Still haven’t processed the deaths of both my grandpa, whom I’d barely known, and my grandma, whom I didn’t get to know,
    because she died before my birth
    – Yesterday, our old foster horse had a stroke and passed away during her sleep. I think, that I don’t mourn her “properly”,
    because I laugh, play games etc. and I’m already afraid of forgetting her
    – The way she has been treated after her death… put in the dirt next to a dung heap, covered with plastic sheets, ready to be
    disposed of like trash…

  12. i was told that the abondement i felt when my father left my family was selfish and it wasn’t my loss but my mums, he didn’t try to have contact with me and blamed it on me saying i didn’t want to see him when i felt so betrayed and hurt because of how close i was with him since then i have had to deal with him being gone as if i’m not allowed to i have had to deal with family memebers talk shit on his name and now my mum is selling the home i grew up in that i love with my entirety.

  13. I hear you all, my condolences …
    Glad for this site — seems like people don’t get it, or care, unless something like this happen to them.
    Or a person can only tolerate so much. Its been
    overwhelming at times where i was ” on the floor ” & saw it was too much. How could
    anyone else deal with this? Is when i began
    looking for resources EVERYWHERE.
    It really does take a village. Been going
    through alot of the same stuff, especially
    sleep-less-ness …

  14. I’ve been struggling to really understand what it felt to grieve someone I didn’t know. He was an influential member of the community, admired and loved by so many. I dated his best friend a year after his loss and tried my best to stick with him through the grief. It was a tragic, unexpected loss that surprised everyone. It was difficult to hold a container for the big emotions that were coming up a year later as if they were tired of hiding. I kept telling myself this is his grief, not mine. I am not so sure if what I am feeling is his grief or a disfranchised sense of grief. Perhaps a loss of what the relationship could of been if he was still alive.

    • I’ve been feeling like I’m unable to mention my ex girlfriend since we broke up 3 years ago, I tried talking to my friends and family and all I get is ‘you need to forget about her’, aswell as ‘move on’.
      I literally keep it all to myself,I can’t explain the impact it had when we finished,if she had died I don’t see how it could have felt any worse.
      I constantly think about her too, I look at celebrities who remind me of her as I have no pictures of her,every day I think of her.

  15. I’m so overcome with grief right now I can’t even breathe. I can’t talk about my loss to anyone. I met him online through a game 4 years ago. I’m married. We talked on the phone several times a day. We told each other everything. He was older, tired of being alone, wanted me to leave my husband and come to him. We talked of meeting, but never did. He talked of suicide often due to failing health. In June of this year he suddenly went completely silent, and I had a feeling he had died. I searched and searched online for news, and just yesterday came across something posted by his sister months ago that he had passed. Manner of death wasn’t mentioned, but I know he killed himself. I loved him so much, and he loved me. He lived for his cat, and I fear for what happened to him. I can’t talk to anyone about this, and my husband is wondering why I’ve been crying all day, and I just tell him I’m depressed over other things. I don’t know how to get over you, Steven. I love you so much.

    • Your sad story really touched my heart. 4 years is a long time, especially when you spoke several times a day….It was obviously a treasured, loving friendship and an important part of your life. I wish I could offer you some advice…would it be possible to contact his sister to find out more information. Maybe visit his grave if there is one. Or see a counsellor so you can offload.

  16. I’ve tried to commit suicide three times, twice back-to-back after one failed a few weeks ago. F***, I can’t even do that right! When I got out of the hospital a few weeks ago, my sister messaged me that I should die, and she gave me a detailed to-do list to prepare my estate, so that she wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by such matters. I responded with a contact list of three estate sales professionals I know from working in the real estate business. My brother has also encouraged me verbally and in writing to commit suicide. All of my problems are financial. It’s a lot more than a two-beer story to go into all of that… but cliff notes: job loss with no severance during the recession, bankruptcy. I’ve worked my a$$ off for many business opportunities in my two licensed professions. Every time, I needed a leg-up through co-signing on a small biz loan, living with family for a short period of time, up-front loan for marketing expense, co-sign on lease to go into partnership with another professional who wanted to bring me on board for my experience and knowledge, even co-sign on a small credit-card to help me build my credit, etc. , etc. … the answer was NO. I’m too old to go back and get the jobs I had in my 20’s & 30’s. Most of my colleagues of similar age are retiring now. Well, I’m done trying to justify my existence. I don’t even know you people reading this post, and I’m trying to justify my existence!!! Twice in the last few weeks, after my release from the hospital, my multi-millionaire brother has assured my 91 year old father, who is taking care of my 91 year old mother who has severe dementia and is leaving us soon… that he would take care a particular financial matter with me… Giving Dad a chance to take a breath and not worry so much. Both times, my multi-millionaire brother reneged on his commitment. Yesterday, Dad had to give his credit card for $1500 of repairs to keep my car licensed and operating, so that I could start work at my new contract position this afternoon. When I read about people grieving that their loved one committed suicide, I think… really? My family wants me dead! My body simply won’t give out. 🙁 28 opioids saved from an injury plus advil pm, benedryl and alcohol, and all I got was 24 hours of spewing black tar vomit everywhere… WTF?

    • I’m awfully sorry to read what you’ve been through. My gosh, you certainly haven’t been treated well by people we’d hope would be there to support us. You deserve to live. You seem intelligent and quite capable of putting your thoughts together. I wonder if you’d mind just a little advice (and of course you are free to discount this and forget it) about going forward. You certainly should be able to find a good job in your preferred profession. But until that develops, how about just taking a job doing something simple, like working at the local Target or maybe some non-profit office that stands for something you believe in. If you could make just enough for a simple life in a small apartment, you could be secure in knowing you’re starting over in a whole new way. You might make some good friends who really make a difference in feeling that life is worth living.

  17. Loss of being able to have a family, has left me alone. People can be very critical of this. I have done plenty to fill my life and help others, but there is a hidden grief that I cannot admit to.

  18. I don’t know if anybody posted this particularly evil disenfranchised example of grief. It’s called Parental Alienation, wherein one parent marginalizes and maligns the other parent destroying the parent/child relationshi[ and setting the children up for future failure in relationships and life. I have three daughters who were taught to hate me but my spiteful ex-wife. It’s a feeling of grief much like losing a loved one but worst because the children are still alive. PAS should definitely be on your list, towards the top.

  19. My preschool age child was sexually assaulted. She doesn’t even understand what was lost, but I grieve the loss of her innocence. She’s alive and wasn’t even physically injured. Most people don’t even know. But something was stolen from her that can’t be returned. I keep quiet to protect her privacy.

    • You’re grieving the “loss of her innocence”? And “something was stolen from her that can’t be returned”?
      Im so sorry that this happened to your daughter. I do think you could benefit from taking a very deep look into the way you view/internalize this, though. The opposite of ‘innocence’ is guilt. The loss of innocence is to have acquired guiltlessness. Your child was VIOLATED. What was ‘stolen from her and can’t be returned’? Her ‘innocence’? Which is her lack of knowledge and experience in sexual activities….. ?
      The fact that –being sexually violated– equals to a loss in a little girls innocence, and the whole motion around it having been stolen and can’t be returned, is both weird and a little gross to me. I don’t know why people treat girls as if they are suddenly unpure, tainted, damaged, corrupted, etc., because of these disgusting perverted men who decide they want to touch children. Now she’s not ‘innocent’ anymore… Now she is less valuable than before because she doesn’t have her innocence anymore… What’s with the emphasis on little girls and their virginity, anyway? (OBVIOUSLY I’m not saying it’s fine to violate them..that is NOT what I am saying!) Society literally places a little girls innocence with her status of being untouched. And while she remains untouched she gets to hold on to her “innocence” and her “purity”. Why is that?
      And then when some sick bastard touches her at 4 years old she automatically loses her status of being innocent and pure….. If girls don’t lose those things until these men show up and touch us, then that means the men are the ones who are “dirty”/”guilty”/impure. . . . If that’s what becomes of us due to being touched by them.
      Also, the “can’t be returned to her” thing… Think about what youre saying with that. And then ask yourself why you are more concerned with her and her vaginas status of being untouched/touched and why you equate her innocence to it. Why is virginity and value mutually exclusive? And also to grieve about the fact that her vagina will never be able to be “status: untouched” ever again…
      And why you are grieving over THAT, but no mention of how actually heartbreaking it is that she was violated. If she had been beaten, starved, kidnapped, etc, where would your focus and the focus of your grief be, after finding out someone committed these crimes against her? Would you be going on about the loss of her “purity” and the inability to have an untouched vagina ever again. OF COURSE that is awful, but, if you (& society) didn’t place so much value on untouched vaginas, would you still be focusing on that part of this? Not a chance in hell. You’d be upset that she was violated and had a crime committed against her in ANY way, and you’d be focusing on the actual crime committed against her.
      The emphasis you/people put on this when little GIRLS get violated is so bizarre, outdated, and is rooted in misogyny. Research and get back to me later if you don’t see it right now. It’s there.
      Please just try to look at it and investigate what your inner dialogue with this is, and what kind of message you may be sending to your daughter, now and later, in the things you say and in the things you don’t say. When we know better we do better… Please learn more. Please do better for her.

      • Wow, I can’t even believe you’d jump on a poor woman who is trying to deal with something horrible happening to her daughter. You are shaming her and telling her how she feels is wrong. You are just wrong for that…period. But I doubt you’ll see that. You’ll just continue to try to justify what you said. To this mother-I’m so sorry about what has happened to your daughter. And I’m sorry there’s people like this in the world who compound your grief (on a grief website no less!) with their self righteous condemnation. 🙄

      • Loss of innocence is not related to gender, attachment to virginity, loss of ‘value’ or anything else mentioned in this response to J.
        Literally, innocence is defined as “the lack of being guilty”. Children are not capable of guilt yet some adults will manipulate and hurt children, tell them they caused their own harm and then threaten to harm those they love if they tell the truth about what has happened to them. Loss of a child’s innocence refers to their loss of freedom to simply be in this world without fear of harm. It is about the failure of that “village required to raise a child” that we have so often heard mentioned; the failure to give every child a safe place to grow, and explore, without being molested, traumatized, physically or emotionally injured or harmed in any other way. Every child should be able to wonder at the beauty of a sunset or a butterfly, to sing their own tune, draw a colorful picture, race though a park or just stare at a crack in the sidewalk without fear of harm or manipulation by someone who wants to use them for their own purposes. Loss of innocence may refer to a child no longer feeling free to simply be present in this world or rely upon those people who have been entrusted with their care (teachers, extended family members, pastors, medical providers, police officers, day care workers and so on). It generally refers to the introduction of fear to a child’s life when previously they believed they could turn to specific adults for support, love, guidance or sustenance.

        Loss of innocence is often related to a child being manipulated, lied to, and threatened by those very individuals, of both genders, who are entrusted to care for children and who subsequently betray that trust. I don’t know the circumstances of J’s child’s experience. As a person, a parent, and a therapist who has worked with many individuals, both female and male, that were betrayed by the adults in their lives, I do know the pain of being physically and/or emotionally wounded by those who are supposed to be supportive members of the “village” required to raise a child.

        Disenfranchised grief? My 30 year old husband died. The cause of his death isn’t even addressed by the ’64 examples of disenfranchised grief,’ but that is another issue. Our oldest child was ready to start kindergarten just a few months after my husband’s death and a family friend was kind enough to offer to pay for a year of private school for our son, hoping that the smaller class size and more individualized attention would be a positive experience for my grieving child.

        Instead, my son was repeatedly sexually molested by the teacher’s aide in his kindergarten class. He was threatened, and told that if he told anyone what was happening, “”something terrible” would happen to me, his only remaining parent. At 5 years old, having lost his father whom he loved so much, do you think he was going to take the chance of something happening to me? Even at that age he understood that I was in school, getting further education to better support him and his brothers and so he kept all of this to himself, believing as a small child will, the lies that were fed to him. No matter that I saw the changes in his demeanor and repeatedly tried to ascertain what was wrong, or what I could do; no matter that others also tried to intervene; he believed that any betrayal of the perpetrator would only lead to the fulfillment of their threats. That is the very description of loss of innocence.

        Molestation, like rape, is not about sexuality; it is about power, anger, and control. So many children, both male and female, are abused and traumatized by this scourge. Loss of innocence for a child is when they learn that at the saddest, hardest part of their young life, someone they thought they could trust only wants to use them for their own satisfaction.

        When do each of us human beings, who are, as the Dalai Lama says, “just one of the 7 billion,” stop adding to each other’s suffering and instead start looking to see how we can help each other through the experiences of this life? How do we help each other learn to live in joy? When do we start acting as a community? While nothing I can do will change what happened to J’s child, I hope that s/he at least hears that they are not alone in feeling this pain and that others feel compassion for their child, and the family. And, even more, that we have come through a similar experience stronger, healthy and whole.

        Instead of becoming angry or bitter, may the pain we experience help each of us learn to be more aware, compassionate, kind and loving to those around us thereby increasing our own joy and the joy of others.

  20. Loss of some future hope due to current circumstances (i.e.–illness, debilitating injury, loss of someone snatched just before marriage)

  21. Grieving my best friend’s daughter’s death. The baby was 2 months old and died from complications due to Down syndrome and heart abnormalities. I didn’t think I could be allowed to grieve for my friend and for a child I had never met.

  22. You forgot grief by heart-ache. Sometimes the person need to die for the partner to feel grief. In my experience I grieved b/c I went through depression and suicidal attempts. I was actually working on another attempt when someone that seemed like they would understand me and help me get through all of my pain showed up. We talked got to know each other and started dating. I loved her so much. I had finally found someone who loved me,and made me feel like life was worth living for once. We dated for a good amount of time,and it turned out that she was just using me for pleasure. I really meant nothing to her at all. I broke me. I grieved for a long time now I’m back into my suicidal ways. What hurt even more is that she knew that I was hurting before we started dating. She blames me for the relationship. I can’t go on.

  23. The loss of a child to a cult-like ultra orthodox religious group. My daughter was recruited and indoctrinated while in college. She is married now to another cult member now and I have no contact with her. My family calls this her “choice” and without saying so, blames me for not being more open, less judgemental, more accepting of my daughter’s choice. They do not have a relationship with her either, but feel less grief stricken by this. (After all, it’s not like she’s dead or anything)!

  24. My child became a linguist with a missionary group and now lives 8, 000 miles away. While we can communicate every day through modern technology, I miss him terribly (before he moved he was living in the same town as us). Since he arrived there two months ago he has been frequently sick and has become very discouraged.
    My church friends don’t understand the particular grief of the parent of a missionary. While we are certainly on board with his decision to follow God’s plan for his life, I didn’t sign up for this. I’m supposed to just be happy he’s a missionary! Very little room given for missing him, for grieving the fact that we can’t get together for game nights and dinners and Christmases. Or that this isn’t even looking like we expected with him being sick so often.
    Second is my grief over my own health issues, that I’m not healthy enough to do the things we had planned to be doing at this stage of life.
    Thirdly is that I live with a severely depressed husband who is unable to give me the support I’m needing in all this grief.
    And lastly, the peculiar grief of knowing many of my health and relationship issues are exacerbated by my disenfranchised grief.

  25. The loss of who my husband of who he used to be. With a back injury that deteriorated over many years, he became a chronic pain patient. His quality of life plummeted. Operation after operation promised pain reduction but they didn’t provide enough. I saw a once active, fit, happy individual turn into a depressed, overweight, angry, suffering, individual. The whole family grieved for many years in some very maladaptive ways.

  26. My loss was when my husband went to prison. I couldn’t tell many people and still can’t except that it affects everyday of my life. I work with a new group of people but no one knows what I’ve dealt with for ten years and it never seems to end. Silly but I’m so glad to hear the term disenfranchised grief. Now, how to deal with it. My husband is home now but the unresolved grief and fears still exist. Thanks for reading.

  27. Loss of a home due to a house fire. So tough because you get a new home and all people want to see is that ” you get a new house!”. It’s not that simple. Your house symbolizes much more than a “thing”. You lose your sense of security, safety in the one place that should be your sanctuary.

  28. Grieving annually on certain Anniversaries.
    -date of someone’s death
    -date of break-up or Wedding Anniversary when divorced
    -birthday of deceased
    -Mother’s Day / Father’s Day when parent has passed away

    Grieving not having someone close to spend holidays with.
    -family members missing at Christmas/ Thanksgiving etc.
    -No one to kiss under the mistletoe or at midnight on New Year’s
    -no date for the prom
    -not being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day

    Grieving the loss of a political party and change in government. 🙁 Booo NDP

    Death of a distant relative ( 2nd or 3rd cousin) even though you were raised together like 1st cousins, Aunts and Uncles.

    Grieving with a close friend at the loss of a spouse, parent or child

    grief for those who have been victims of a natural disaster and their familes/ friends who are grieving halfway around the world.

    grieving over the outcome of a T.V series or book
    grieving over the end of a T.V series, Series of Books, Movie Franchise

    I’m not saying I have experienced all of these examples. If by “grieving” you need to miss work? Then no of course not. Yes Downton Abbey is finished and there are no more books in Clan of the Cave Bear. It is sad that Luke went to the Light side of the Force. These would not make me miss work. But they can leave you with a sense of loss and emptiness or having questions that will never be answered.

    When Chester Bennington took his own life it took me over a month to “accept it” I listened to Linkin Park for that whole month and thought about him never recording another record. How I would never get to see him live in concert. Some people thought I was silly to be “Depressed” over someone I never knew. Their music was a big part of my 20’s, some of my favorite times. Now he was gone.

    grief for those who have been victims of a terrorist attack or suicide bomber/mass shooting and their familes/ friends who are grieving halfway around the world.

    Everytime I read something on the internet or watched something on the News about the Humbolt Bus Crash I would cry. I didn’t know a single one of the victims or survivors. I was connected in one way or another through friends or colleagues to a few of them. It was such a tragedy felt by all of Canada. Young, talented, hockey players and team support full of life on the bus. On the way to participate in their greatest passion in life. Ended in a blink of an eye.

    On the above list of 64 there are ones that would absolutely crush me and I haven’t a clue how they are on there. In the end everyone grieves for different reasons and in different ways. There is not a time limit for grief either. I think that having depression has made me more sensitive and empathetic towards other’s grief and I wear it like a badge of honor, not a Scarlet Letter.

  29. This is an eye-popping list! As I looked at it, I saw that there are multiple categories on that list where I fit. I am 72. My most recent loss was my husband who died of Alzheimers, and then loss of my health for 18 months. Life seems to be a series of loss IF we let it be that way. Being in a systematic Bible reading study such as Community Bible Study (google it for participating churches in your area) helped me; and so did being part of a church spiritual family. It helped to have “to be someplace” a time or two a week aside from worship services. Having a pet helped a lot. (If you don’t have a pet, the ASPCA always needs volunteers to walk dogs, cuddle kittens etc.) WALKING at a local park helps. Keeping busy enough to be tired enough to sleep at night is a biggie. I also got counseling and found out that the light at the end of the tunnel was not from an on-coming train! It actually WAS the light at the end of the tunnel. Life is still sweet. 🙂

  30. I loved my ex-husband, with all of me. Had to leave him to take care of me and be the best mom I could be. He had cheated on me, did drugs, gaslighted me, played games, etc. I had our young son and had to choose to end the relationship in order to be the best mom I could be. The exhusband couldn’t hold down a job and quickly latched onto another woman and had several kids with her. During that time I wondered if I gave up too soon. Then she got arrested for stabbing him…she was charged with attempted murder. Charge dropped to assault and battery and she served a year, lost her kids to her mom. When she got out they tried to work through it for a while….I thought I dodged a bullet (maybe literally). But then they drifted apart and he was back on the street for a few years here. All through this I harbored anger at him for not being a parent that my son needed and for not helping me. I didn’t talk to him at this point as he didn’t call me, but I still cared about him deep down. Four years ago he contacted me via Facebook….we ended up hashing out old hurts and I went to a place of forgiving him for what he did to me, but I was still pissed about how my son wasn’t a priority for him. I got him a bus ticket to Texas to have a fresh start with family. He was very appreciative. We continued communicating via text/facebook. He got on his feet, had a trailer and a job. He seemed to be doing well and asked if he could communicate with our son. Our son wasn’t ready. He understood. Then the conversations started happening with less frequency but he still was appreciative and wanted me to visit. Then he lost his job and his trailer, had drama from a girl he hooked up with, yada yada. His last message to me was in July 2017. I had heard some rumblings that he was back in town on the streets, which didn’t make sense to me since he hated this town. But every person I saw on the street, I looked to see if it was him. Got a call a week ago today that he died on June 9th….a few houses down from where his Aunt lived. Apparently he had been staying at someones trailer there for a few months….he was alive at 2pm and dead by 9pm when someone went to bring him a sandwich. Still waiting to hear what caused his death at 39 from the autopsy. I have so much regret for not trying harder, not pushing for more communication with his family to contact him (I had asked if they knew where he was last September and was told he was MIA….I assumed they would contact me if he showed up again, guess not). I have become in a place financially where I could have helped him out….we had just returned from a trip to Europe when I received the call. I think I am grieving that I didn’t get a chance to reconnect with him, that my son didn’t get a chance to know him, but it is weird because I know that I did the best I could, and maintained a stable life for my son, but I still feel regret that I couldn’t help my ex. My son (16), seems to be holding up well, he didn’t know him. He is struggling a bit with not wanting to communicate when my ex wanted to, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome and he knows that. I’m so torn and really surprised by my grief, but am being treated like I shouldn’t be grieving….he was an ex (14 years ex), he was a drug addict, mentally unstable, homeless, abusive, etc. In a way I think it is because of all those things that I hurt more. His life, in the end, was tragic and I loved his tragedy…I just couldn’t be with him as I knew our son would walk the same path and have the same tragic life. But part of me doesn’t want to go on without him in this world….I know I have to, but just having him in the same world was comforting. No one made him a priority in his life….that is the guilt that I feel, even knowing that he was an adult and was supposed to take care of himself. Sometimes I think I may be crazy

  31. Late 2017 I was diagnosed with MS. But the story of my downfall starts with getting too comfortable, and ignoring my own needs for other’s benefit. I had a stable relationship with the father of my child (who just turned 11 last week) for a cumulative 10 years, many of them happy; most clouded in depression and misdirection. We met in 2006 and were head-over-heels on love–the best of friends. After 2 years, we decided it was time to have a baby. We had friends, hobbies, shared interests… after my son was born, things naturally changed, with me staying home and him continuing to work. He became more selfish, or rather, from the nursing chair, it became more evident to me. He drank and smoked more often, spending more time on self-indulgent endeavors when I could not (I was busy breastfeeding for 2 years). Foolishly, I thought I could continue attending college as during pregnancy, overestimating the capacity of my time and energy; I ended up dropping out, with him promising to step up his partner game after it was too late. In duty and devotion, I accepted his behavior (though not without unheeded complaints), since he was the breadwinner, and there are sacrifices to be made to keep a relationship functional. In 2008 his mother died; I supported him unwaveringly, visiting her regularly in the hospital. We bought our first home with the life insurance money, and were relatively happy for a long time. I felt ignored and disconnected with no pursuits of my own. Our friendships had dwindled in the fight for financial progress, while his gaming and drinking took a more prevalent seat in all the surrounding comforts. I didn’t realize it, but our relationship was growing cooler with each passing year. I cheated twice in desperation; the first, a Scottish guy I met doing open-mic (I used to play guitar and sing!), the second, an old friend from school I was not remotely attracted to that happened to be visiting from out of town. I was emotionally starving from lack of contact and friendship. Both times were messy, dissatisfying: I didn’t go out of my way to cheat, and the terrible and unwilling liar I am, left open an email containing my confession that was discovered hours later. After 8 years, I left him for a man I thought would pay attention to me. Turns out, just because one is a self-proclaimed Christian and military vet does not make one a reliable, stable, caring, or viable partner. But I dove in head first, marrying him straight away–I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes this time. He turned out to be a giant man-baby whose ego needed constant assauging; a lazy fuck who’s goal it was to get on permanent disability). So I worked physically challenging jobs that left me exhausted, the new husband pestering for sex when I was already dead on my feet (he came into the relationship with a porn addiction that made actual sex with him tedious and frustrating). We fought constantly; again, I downplayed all the red flags in the name of devotion. I began having panic attacks; dreams about my ex, feelings that I had made the biggest mistake of my life by leaving him. In my stead, his new girlfriend was making him equally miserable, both of them too drunk to care for my child properly. I insisted that my son come live with us so I could care for my boy, the husband gladly filling the role of house bitch/online gamer while I wearily played breadwinner. The last straw was pulled when I discover he’d disabled my car the night before, because we were fighting and he didn’t want me to leave. My son had a dentist appointment the next morning, and the car wouldn’t start; a self-proclaimed master mechanic, he popped the hood, and reconnected the spark plugs without saying a word. I knew something was amiss, and finally got him to admit his psychotic misdeed. I begged to come back home in my misery, and in a few months both of us ditched the deadweight and got back together. Things were better this round, us both making a solid effort to “do things right this time.” We quickly started being active together, relationship-building. We went to concerts, worked out together, and were actually very happy for the first time in years–we were supposed marry FINALLY this March. Come fall, his cousins needed a place to stay, both of whom I already despised… But he had talked me into it because they have a 2 year old, and they’d burned bridges with literally all other family members. So, they moved in, making themselves inordinately comfortable in our home. I was never at peace. Their weekend fell mid-week; I was left to watch their child at all hours of the day and night because they’re terrible, lazy people, with no respect for boundaries, themselves, or their role as parents, roommates, or adults. I began having panic attacks again. Turns out, that was a precursor to seizures; all related to my undiagnosed MS. A particularly bad seizure during the night, many of which I suspect went unnoticed, sent me to the hospital where they took brain scans and MRIs. A month later, I was diagnosed with MS. I had taken the female cousin to this appointment with me–I thought it would be another “welp, everything’s fine, nothing we can do for you,” appointment… but no. Before the neurologist was even done telling me about my condition, that I’d had it for years, I received a text from the male cousin asking me if he could tell his mother!!! She was sitting in my doctor’s appointment texting everyone she knew with my unfortunate news, getting high off the attention it garnered. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t react, except for the involuntary tears streaming down my face. Two weeks later, I awoke to my partner making out on the couch with “our girlfriend:” yes, we had opened our relationship at my request. I didn’t want to cheat again, I just wanted love reciprocated; and so we outsourced that help from other partners, not wanting to abandon all we had worked for, all our years together. But he broke the rules of engagement. Woken from a dead sleep by the dogs locked outside the glass door, barking their heads off (even they knew something was wrong), I walked out to that scene and lost my shit. It was New Years. He insists he told me she was coming over, but I don’t recall. My heart saw betrayal, and my eyes saw red. I flew into a rage, ripping crap from the attic and throwing it down onto the garage floor. I’ve never been so angry; a shrill, terrifying voice was coming from my mouth, a voice I hope to never utter again. Three days later, I left for my sister’s; we’d broken it off in a “mutual split” fueled by overwhelming despair, uncertainty, and confusion. I couldn’t grieve my diagnosis or the subsequent violation of my privacy; I needed SPACE and sanctuary to do that, which I’d given up by letting those pieces of shit move into our house…I couldn’t grieve the betrayal surrounding an open relationship; it was such a new concept to both of us, I didn’t know whether I had the right to be mad. I couldn’t breathe in that house. I stayed away, he got together with her, moving her two kids in almost immediately. I was homeless, unable to stay at my sisters after 2 weeks–she sublets her apartment while living with her boyfriend elsewhere, and really was just hoping I would take over her share of the rent–an impossible feat for a newly displaced homemaker. I was starving, living in my car, missing my child who I’d cared for every day of my life, cut off from him by circumstance. I now knew I had MS, with no idea what that really meant for me, or how it had effected me for several years. I spent the last several months trying to process all this, while working a new job out of necessity. Unable to advocate for myself, just trying to survive, I am still barely getting by. The thought of killing myself is constant, but the love for my boy will prevent me from fucking him up for life by committing this selfish act. My ex finally got the balls to kick the cousins out–of course, now that I’m gone. He’s bought a new truck, drinks more than ever, spends loads of money on my replacement and her boys, and by all accounts seems to be moving on without missing a beat.
    So I’m grieving the loss of my entire life, it feels like.
    Grieving the relationship, our belated marriage, my past marriage, my home, my child, my health, my stability, my peace…I feel screwed over, betrayed, discarded, worthless, I blame myself, constantly think of “what I shoulda done,” (for starters, kick those worthless cousins out on their fat assess, reclaim my sanctuary, and keep my eager replacements at bay!). But the fact is, this is my life now. I walked away in confusing anger, unable to use logic or reason. He kept fucking his date, and started a new life with her (she’s an old friend from our past, by the way). He wishes I’d quit freaking out on him, sending nasty texts, “you’re so mean!” as if that were an unwarranted reaction in the face of total loss. I should be full of grace and forgiveness?! I’m the one suffering, you assholes!! If I’m so easy to let go, I rationalize, he never really loved me. I’ve felt like a fixture in his life for years, only there for his support and unable to grow as a woman because of it. He and my son were my whole world… I try to justify this tragedy by thinking I must deserve this; I had it coming. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Now I’m in another red flag relationship of convenience (aka I guess I’m codependent), repeating the same mistakes because I never learned how to be alone. Perhaps my peace lies within solitude. I hope I can get there, but once again, have obligated myself to a man who annoys me, but makes it bearable to go on breathing, and makes it possible to have a roof over my head. If you think it can’t happen to you, or you want to judge me for my mistakes, go on ahead. But be careful–Life comes for us all. Death and loss are just the flip side of that coin, the dark side of the moon.

  32. The loss of a spiritual leader, such as a priest or pastor

    I am grieving the fact that my priest, a close friend and spiritual mentor, has announced that he’s leaving this summer to another assignment in another state. This priest has been a huge support for years, and while I know we will keep in touch when he leaves, the reality will be that he will no longer be responsible for me as a spiritual father as he is now, and our relationship will not and cannot be the same as it is now. The anticipatory grief I’m experiencing right now is such a struggle that I’m barely able to keep it together, and it’s not something I can talk about to anyone without feeling disenfranchised. We’ll get another pastor, it’s God’s plan., we’ll definitely keep in touch – I know all of these things in my heart. But it’s hard to explain to others how much this priest has affected the course of my life and my relationship with God. And when he leaves, I’m not sure how I’m going to hide the intense loss and sadness if I can barely hold it together while he’s still here.

  33. It’s been a bad year. In addition to the typical grief that might be recognized and understood by others — the death of a family member late last summer — I have been dealing with several examples of disenfranchised grief from the list above. The last 6 months have been one thing after another including:

    Death of a pet
    The death of someone I hadn’t seen or been in touch with for many years
    Loss of a job, including:
    — Loss of identity or sense of self
    — Loss of hopes and dreams for the future
    — Moving/loss of community
    — Learning a secret/finding out a person wasn’t who you thought they were

    The blog post — Sometimes Socks are Sad — rang true with me, although it is not socks that make me cry. For a few years now I have been involved in volunteer efforts for homeless pets. Because of my volunteer work, I am often the recipient of requests for help. These requests are usually accompanied by heart wrenching stories of families and pets in need. Since losing one of my pets 5 months ago, these stories consistently bring me to tears.

    The job related losses have been developing over the last 4 months. Things came to a head last week. These events have been devastating and have introduced a lot of physical pain into my life.

    I am coping, but I am so frustrated. I had just started to feel like I was turning a corner when the job-related incidents occurred. The frustration is compounded not just by grief, but by the fact that the organization has ignored my counsel and is making what I believe to be a very poor decision. Not only am I dealing with the loss, but I know that in the coming weeks I will be trapped in the middle of a completely avoidable mess.

    I am fortunate to have 3 friends who are very supportive. They truly understand the genuine grief that results from the types of events that have been happening. They offer their support in different ways and allow me to process all of this turmoil in my own way and at my own pace.

    I also feel fortunate to have found this web site. The thoughts and suggestions shared here allow me to acknowledge that what I am feeling is real. Sometimes, they also help me to press the emotional pause button for a few minutes while I reflect on the shared wisdom.

    Thank you for this blog post.

  34. My husband was in an accident on the job and suffered a brain injury which led to him losing his job as a partner of a company he founded. Then a substantial nasty legal battle with our former friends over ADA violations while we were drowning in medical bills. Then we lost our home, I lost my dream job due to relocating to a new state so he could find work and we experienced a total disconnection from our families, our friends and our community of 30+ years…and sometimes from each other. I can’t talk about his injury or why we moved because of an NDA the company made him sign after the lawsuit was settled. This comment is probably a violation. His industry is so small we live in fear of word getting back to them and the legal battles starting all over again. I can’t tell anyone and I can’t move on. My closest friends think we just wanted to move. They think it was a choice. They think we’re better off. This is a version of hell I never imagined possible. It’s not exactly torture, we’re fine in the day to day. It’s the silence. It’s facing being silent forever when our “friends” accused us of the most vile things just to get out of paying for surgeries and medication and neurological therapy. “Friends” who are still showing up in Facebook photos with people we care about because no one knows what they did. I haven’t found a way to describe what this is, what type of grief this is, and as far as I know I haven’t found anyone who has gone through this. Maybe they’re all bound by NDA’s as well? I also can’t explain to anyone why eating is difficult. Why sleeping is impossible. Why leaving the house to go out into a new city is like climbing Mount Everest. 2 years since the incident and we’re still prisoners, no end in sight.

  35. When a child’s parent dies the surviving parent may be so changed (in some ways subtly, in others substantially and/or permanently) that the child feels a loss of that parent also.

  36. Loss of one’s role as a caregiver when the cared for person dies.

  37. Grieving the loss of a parent at age five and not being included in the funeral or other bereavement activities because the child is thought to be “too young” for them.

  38. Like a lot of you…I have dealt with many losses and with each day it becomes harder. There are so many reminders..so many deja vue moments, seasons…the different smells in the air. So many triggers. Whether its the loss of pets, ex-spouse whom I loved with all my heart, my aunt and uncle, (all within 3 mo.) fellow cancer patients, and the loss of physical abilities due to the treatments and being looked down upon and made to feel guilty “because at least I survived” but I lost my love of running, etc. I should be happy because I didn’t die while others have, I’ve been told. I mourn those who have and think of them often. I am grateful I’m alive but chemo and radiation has damaged my body. I have lost the life I had before cancer. I look different and much older. I have lost my trust in everything from the medical profession to friends and family. I feel this anger towards me and the stigma from grieving too long. (So they say) I feel ashamed for feeling too much. Its not like turning off a water faucet. I’m alone and can’t talk to anyone without being judged so harshly.

  39. Loss of the original persona when someone transitions to their true gender can be extremely traumatic, particularly for a spouse or child.

    Also grief for the transgendered person, as people often disown them because of their change.

  40. My mother never understands my grief in relation to her life decisions. My brother got too hard when we were little so she gave him back to dad and kept the good child. When her marriage was breaking down when I was 12 it was deemed my fault. I was shipped back to my father. She always says when it comes up that she was doing the best she could at the time for my safety, but she can never understand my utter despair. No matter how she explains it I can never understand how if my safety was at risk why she didn’t leave with me. She can’t seem to see how choosing a man – who was a risk to her daughters safety- over her daughter is something I continue to grieve to this day.

  41. My husband travels overseas for work and is gone an average of 6 months out of the year. We’ve been married for 19 years and he’s my best friend. We have three children, have had three miscarriages, and one late term miscarriage at almost 6 months. We’ve shared so much together and when he’s home we do everything together. When he’s gone I can’t reach him a lot. He works really hard to show me how much he loves me and I know he does, but every time he goes I grieve as though he’s gone forever. When he returns I almost don’t know what to do with him or how to act around him. It’s even harder because I know he’ll be gone again and I find myself putting up walls to avoid getting too close. He’s come within three minutes of being blown up by a truck bomb and I never know if he’s coming back or not. When he’s gone it’s terrifying wondering if he’s ok and when he’s home I live in fear of the next trip. I HATE going to bed, just thinking about it gives me panic attacks, but I have to sleep and I try to keep things relatively normal for our kids. I wind up just crying. Everything falls on me when he’s gone and I can’t really let go of it when he’s home because I don’t know when I’m going to have to pick it back up again. It’s easier to just do it all. The hardest thing for me, I think, is that there’s nobody to talk to about it. I’ve heard things like “He does it BECAUSE he loves you” or “You like to eat, don’t you?” or “He’s coming back, it’s not like he’s gone for good.” I often wonder how they know that for sure. No matter what I feel I’m somehow wrong or ungrateful or nagging. I stopped talking about my feelings to other people years ago. I don’t want to feel worse than I already do.

  42. Being diagnosed with a chronic disorder or disease. I have multiple autoimmune diseases that have considerably affected my daily life and confidence. It is a loss of possibility and youth in many respects.

  43. Number 46 is the death of a patient or client. Conversely, in addition to grieving for my husband who died of cancer this past January, I am also grieving the loss of his care team. He was treated for over 3 ½ years by the most amazing team of oncologists, oncology nurses and support personnel. These people became family and they were also deeply affected when he died, even attending his Celebration of Life. I miss them, and the support they extended to both of us. It feels awkward to maintain a relationship with them now.

  44. My son was diagnosed with cancer three years ago when he was five, he is finished treatment and hopefully after seven years clear of cancer he will be ‘cured’. I make people uncomfortable with my grief, I mourn the loss of his innocence and childhood to pain and suffering, I mourn the loss of the child he was so carefree and happy, I mourn the loss of who I was, who my children were and how my relationship was before the illness, I mourn when I have no right to mourn because I still get to kiss my sons head and tuck him in and so many parents ha e lost their children…. I feel guilty when I feel sad, people want to see a ‘fighter’ they talk about what a ‘hero’ my son is, and I feel sad that I have to dress it up and present it to the world on this way.

  45. Grief over loss of parental relationship due to parent having affair with sibling’s spouse and eventually marrying his/her former son/daughter-in-law. Affair happened 18 years ago and they’ve been married for 14 years. I grieve now and hope it will stop when my parent dies. However, I’m afraid that my grief will not end; rather it will become worse. It’s become so painful that no one in my family discusses it anymore.

  46. I’ve had a few people suggest that the death of my infant daughter after surgery was somehow less tragic or even “better in the long run” because she had Down syndrome. So I’d add “grief at the death of a person with a physical or intellectual disability” to the list.

  47. I am an adult who continues to feel loss for both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings who were murdered during the Holocaust. I describe myself as someone who is sad at her core. It has always been difficult to talk with people about this sense of loss even though it is part of my family’s history that has shaped who I am today.

  48. you could only find 64?

  49. 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, 43, 45, 47, 51, 55, 62, 63

  50. My heart aches for all of you. My 89 yr old father died Feb. 22 – he was in a nursing home for 3 yrs 4 months. I went to see him almost everyday. 4 years ago my mom died “sort of” suddenly. She became ill and it took the hospital 17 days to kill her. Shortly after that is when my dads problems began- he fractured his hip in Sept of that year and ended up in the nursing home. I was working at the time and taking care of him – I didn’t have the time to really grieve for my mom. So, last year I was forced into early retirement due to a new, evil management system. It was easier to retire than to try to anticipate their requirements from me. So June 1, 2017, I began going to see my dad everyday – it was literally, my “new job” – which was just fine with me. I spent more time with him then than I did my entire life! When he died, it should not have been a surprise, but it was. He declined so quickly, that I feel as if I didn’t have a chance to really come to terms with what happened. I also feel the nursing home let us down, as did hospice with the way things were handled. I don’t want you all to think, “come on, he was 89! Get over it” I expected his death soon. But not the way things happened. I am also having issues with how I am handling it. I an anxious about everything. I can’t sleep. I am afraid all the time. I went to several bereavement groups, and I was probably the best adjusted person there. I don’t think I am a group person. So what do I do? Wait for it to get better on it’s own? Initially I did everything you are supposed to do (in addition to the groups)- I went to a yoga class twice a week to get me out. The teacher suddenly changed her approach and It was causing me more anxiety. I think losing an elderly person like my dad is anticipatory grief. We knew it was coming, but when? 89 yr olds don’t live forever and we KNOW that. He was at a party on Friday before he died. He was visiting with me and my sister on Saturday (same as always). Sunday he went to breakfast and lunch (but ate nothing, first clue). His catheter was suddenly pouring out blood (they told me it was “blood tinged” urine – sure). He was talking to me and was his normal self. I asked if It was OK to go home (sometimes he would say, please don’t leave me) and he said it was OK – he’d see me to morrow. I got a call 5 AM Monday, telling me they are giving him a new medication. I got there as soon as possible and he wasn’t responsive. Never said another work to me and died at 8PM that night. They say the most stressful things in life are loss of a loved one and loss of a job. SO, I lost my mom, my dad, my job (where I was an employee) and my job taking care of my dad. I am grieving all of these things. Society gives you 3 days to get over a loss (you know, bereavement days off at work). Three days aren’t doing it. When people ask how I am I say “not good”. They practically leave skid marks as they leave. I will not say I am fine. Sorry to ramble on, but I just felt the need to say something.

  51. People suck. Worse yet, we get to share space with them on earth.
    Is it necessary to shove any kind of grief under the rug? What purpose does it serve other than not making those around us uncomfortable? And should we care that much about their comfort?
    I lost my son to suicide and the reaction of friends were amazing. The day before I had plenty, soon after I realized that almost none were left. Now, six years later, I get to laugh about some of it a little – like the one who ducked behind a shelve so that I would not see her. Well, it was already too late by then 🙂 Their avoidance made me feel unworthy or having some dreadful disease.
    Humans really have a lot to learn about compassion. But then, you don’t know until you know it.

  52. Most of my life has been surrounded by loss… taken from parents for child abuse, siblings adopted out to other families (now estranged), failed foster care homes, being aged out of foster care to the streets, therapist that love you so much till your insurance runs out, only known relative (a grandmother) dies, estranged parents die, late-in-life divorce condemns me to poverty and loss of “our” friends, moving across country to the only place I know as home, yet, left some 40 years ago, none of my old colleagues come around, an estranged teenage granddaughter I’ve met twice, retirement, old age and with each blow, I have to redefine or reinvent myself, frame my world in a way I can live with or at least talk about it, without having to give a narrative.

    This past year, I lost both of my children. One died of complications from drug addiction and the other was murdered and both within two months of each other. Oh, and the murdered son’s girlfriend was pregnant when he died. She told us it was his child, he thought it was his child, and I was crushed when the DNA for social security (the baby was 4 months old) told us it wasn’t his baby… the mother reunited with the child’s biological father and that’s good but… they ended my relationship with the baby. She was just gone, it’s been 8 months since I’ve seen her.

    I’ve lost my sense of self. My story seems to force other people to deal with their own mortality issues and it makes them uncomfortable. I’m angry, alone and can’t leave the house without falling apart, feeling sorry for myself or worse… ashamed. I go for days without speaking to anyone but my dog. I have no faith, no joy and feel like I’m free falling. I don’t know who I am without my children and have no relationship with these other estranged people… I’m old now and while my life sounds tawdry or salacious when strung together by these losses, it’s not really… people tell me how strong I am and I want to scream at them. I don’t. It’s as if, I fell on the floor and couldn’t get up or killed myself, only then would they see, oh poor dear, she WAS in that much pain but, I can’t. One foot in front of the other. I keep going and doing and for that I’m strong. If only they really knew how I wish for sleep and yet, I wake every morning to the nightmare — it starts all over again and it’s been a year since my son’s murder… “time to get on with living” they say. I have a murder trial to attend and a victim impact statement to write. How has this affected me? I don’t ask for anyone’s opinion yet, everyone I encounter, given the trial and media accounts, people feel they need to pat me on the back and tell me to get over it.

    I still have my dog… but, my heat, the coffee pot and my printer all died this past week… for a second, I had to laugh, I mean, really? but, honestly, EVERY. LITTLE. LOSS. feels like another death, another 20 lb bag of sand on my back. I’m tired, the clock is ticking and somehow I’ve got to reinvent myself, yet, again. Really life?

  53. Mary Ann, +1 to what you are experiencing. My husband has had a heart transplant for over 20 years and is know waiting for another. ‘Sword on a thread’ is the perfect description. Sometimes when trying to explain, I feel like people are looking at me as if I have 3 heads. It just doesn’t compute. So mostly I don’t talk about it. It just so complex.

  54. I like number 10 most of all. My son died 11months ago of accidental opiate overdose (prescribed but who cares?). My husband and others are starting to act like it’s gettingbtoo long -my grieving-and I should move on. I think of him along with my grief for my daughter that died 8 yrs ago) every single day. They were mine for over 40 yrs. how can it be too long?

  55. This may be partly covered by “loss of physical health” and/or “loss of dreams/hopes for the future”….
    but I think it warrants a separate category.

    It’s the loss that comes with a devastating diagnosis — either your own, or your spouse’s/partner’s.

    My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. It’s a type of cancer that’s being kept at bay with rounds of drug treatment. But it isn’t “cured”… it hasn’t “gone away”….
    In fact, it still hangs over our heads like a sword on a thread.
    I don’t think people understand the threat, or the dread.

    Yes, it’s been 17 years, and yes, he’s still doing well. He’s been lucky that way. But at any time during those 17 years, the cancer could have stopped responding to drug treatment. There was no certainty about that at all. As we were living through those 17 years, we didn’t know how much time he had before the cancer re-emerged. And the same goes for the coming years….

    There’s a name for this: anticipatory grief. When I talk about this (which is seldom), people don’t understand the fear or the sadness.

  56. I gave birth on Thanksgiving to my daughter who was Stillborn. Her father who I had been with for 8 years chose to leave me midway through the pregnancy because “He didnt want it” He came back for about a month after I called him and told him she had died. I was so out of my mind with grief that I let him back in the door. He never asked what her name was and wouldnt even look at a picture of her. I have chosen to keep it quiet. I simply can’t handle anymore right now. But it leaves me mourning both of their losses completely alone.

  57. I was told ( in regards to a divorce and extreme betrayal and my whole life being a lie ) at least nobody died ! Well actually , my life as I knew it did. My general trust of people gone. My openness with people. Gone.

    That being said. I’m back. I’m good. Independently owned and operated !!

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