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 2, 2018

34 responses on "64 Examples of Disenfranchised Grief"

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Loss of a home.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. you could only find 64?
    LOL

  26. 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, 43, 45, 47, 51, 55, 62, 63

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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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