64 Grief-Words That Should Exist
64 Things : Litsa Williams/
Many moons ago, we wrote an article about the limited language of grief. We lamented the reality that, in grief, we often have thoughts, feelings, and experiences that seem to defy language. We feel isolated and alienated, and as though no one else understands what we are going through. Just when we find the strength to try to express our experience to our friend or our boss or our therapist, we start scanning our brains for the words, and instead, we find a big black hole.
We find ourselves thinking, “There must be a word for this! There must be a GRIEF word for this!”. And when we search long and hard and decide that there isn’t, sometimes we end up feeling even more alone. We start thinking, “With 360 million native English speakers, and 1.5 billion total English speakers, if no one has come up with a word for what I am going through, maybe I really am alone!”. Right?
Though the grief words might not always exist, we are very, very confident this is not because you are alone in your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Millions of grievers come here every year and, though your grief experiences are all unique, we see that there are definite commonalities. However, because our language doesn’t have appropriate words to describe our experiences, they are often difficult to see.
The recourse seems pretty obvious if you ask us. When language fails, make up new words! Seeing as ‘binge-able,’ ‘adorbs”, ‘hangry,’ and ‘TL;DR’ all made it into the dictionary last year, there’s absolutely no reason some new grief words can’t be next.
You know we are big fans of 64 Things lists around here, so we put out a request for made-up grief words (or grief words from other languages that don’t translate into English)… and, as always, the fantastic WYG community didn’t disappoint. Honestly, we didn’t think it would be possible to come up with a 64 grief-words-that-should-exist list. Turns out we were wrong! Within a day, we had sixty-four words and counting.
So here they are, in no particular order. We hope you find a new word or two to help you express a grief experience, and we hope you feel a little less alone. We also hope you add your own in the comments. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with 64 more grief words!
One thing many grievers can agree on: There should be a better word than ‘anniversary’ for the day a loved one died. Some submissions for consideration:
7. D-Day or Deathday (like B-Day/Birthday)
8. Passing Day
9. Funeversary = The anniversary of the funeral
Grief brings with it a whole host of moments that are happy (or should feel happy) but at the same time are filled with sadness, often because the person we love isn’t there. The English word ‘bittersweet’ exists, but it often doesn’t do the trick. Luckily we have some other contenders:
12. Griefshower = Grief tears that come during an otherwise happy moment
13. Smilecrying = When you’re smiling because of happy memories while simultaneously crying because you miss them)
Though people often talk about the many friends who said or did the wrong thing, there are friends who do simply seem ‘get’ it. Maybe they are also grieving. Maybe they just get it and get you. Regardless, they seem to deserve their own name. Some suggestions:
17. Wid-Sisters or Wid-Brothers = Fellow widows
So many of us have those moments, the ones when everything is going along just fine and suddenly your grief rolls in like a hurricane. Sometimes it is a song, a thought, a reminder. Sometimes you can’t figure out what brought it on, but your grief has suddenly knocked you off your feet.
18. Grief Wave
19. Grief Attack
21. Soulcrime (Every time I have to do something painful or unpleasant to deal with my mother’s estate or affairs or anytime I have to do anything surrounding her death that feels like it betrays what she would have wanted).
24. Grief Ripple
25. Emotional Time Bomb
26. Attack of the Grief Monster
27. The SADS
28. High Tide (They say grief comes in waves; I use the term “high tide” when it’s hitting me harder than usual).
29. Griefmobile = Grief crying in the car, often a frequent and recurrent event
30. Grief-Hangover = For those days after another hardest day
31. Dementor (from Harry Potter; what I think of when I’m feeling relatively fine and then suddenly grief overwhelms me for no clear reason)
32. Got the ‘Morbs’ = A phrase from the 1880s meaning temporary melancholy
In the early days of grief, it can feel as though your brain has turned to mush. You can’t concentrate, you can’t problem-solve, you can’t remember, you can’t think.
36. Grief Bubble
As hard as it is to believe, grief isn’t all bad. Sometimes you find comfort, you honor and remember your loved ones, you grow, you learn, you create, you find gratitude.
38. Rememberate = Used when celebrating my husband’s birthday
39. Grief Nuggets (Because sometimes the comfort of chicken nuggets is healing!)
40. Heartwork = Art created and inspired by grief
41. Photogrief = Photography inspired by grief
42. Grief Strong = Going through this and finding out we are stronger than we realize
43. Grief-Work = Choosing to step into the hard to allow healing to happen
44. Damnitsbeautiful = When something strikes me as awe-inspiring, amazing, and/or God-like when I’m in the midst of a full-on grief sad moment
Sometimes you just need some general grief-related descriptors:
45. Griefsville = Our land of grief
46. Grief Case (Some days it is bigger than others, but I am always carrying it)
47. Ooof = Midwestern word for terrible, awful, shitty, exhausting, sad, and mad all at the same time
49. Smad = Sad and mad at the same time
51. Griefsgiving = When a loved one died on Thanksgiving
52. Kummerspeck = A German word that literally translates as “grief bacon”; the weight you gain from comfort eating while grieving
53. Ka-Blah-Blah = When you feel something big but can’t explain it. There are just no words. It’s just kablahblah.
54. Griefing It = Handling something in only a way that someone dealing with grief could or would
55. Milestone-Envy = Envy you feel for another person who is having a moment you won’t have because your loved one died
56. [insert-relationship-here]-Envy = Envy of anyone who still has the person you lost (e.g., mom-envy, dad-envy, husband-envy, wife-envy, brother-envy, sister-envy, daughter-envy, son-envy)
57. G-Filter = The filter other people put on when they don’t want to think about or hear about the reality of your loss, so they avoid it, minimize it, or sugar coat it
58. Cloud-Time = Speaking as if your loved one who died was in the room with you
59. Tilty-Heads = People who can’t help but tilt their heads, speak softly, and extended their vowels when they see you and ask how you’re doing
Sometimes you want words to describe the relationship you have with your loved one after a loss:
60. Forever Wife/Forever Husband (instead of widow)
61. Forever Mom/Forever Dad
62. AngelMom or AngelDad
63. Vilomah = Sanskrit meaning ‘against the natural order’; word for a parent whose child has died
64. Shakulim = Hebrew for parents who have lost a child
65. Zeitlanger = Pennsylvania Dutch word for a parent who has lost a child
Some experiences people have requested words for:
feeling half dead and half alive
friends who disappear while you’re grieving
Keep the list going: Leave a comment with your words or suggestions! Or just tell us what you think.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:
104 Comments on "64 Grief-Words That Should Exist"Click here to leave a Comment
Brian C February 20, 2023 at 9:07 am
It looks like there are more than 64 new words up there in the comments, but I came up with this one this past weekend: Grief-Gauntlet: this means a series of special/difficult days that come in a row. Examples: January 22, 4 months since Dad died; January 23, 6 years since I last saw my mom alive; January 24, Mom’s birthday; January 26, Mom and Dad would have been married 60 years. This month: February 18, as I visited a home I last set foot in when we put Dad on hospice care, I also realized that makes 5 months since I last spoke to him; February 19, 6 years since I last spoke to Mom by phone; February 20, Mom discharged to rehab six years ago, she beat the disease again!; February 21, not so fast, Mom goes into cardiac arrest and died six years ago; February 22, its been 5 months since Dad died. Grief-gauntlet x 2.
Linda Reubens November 2, 2022 at 3:00 pm
Two years after my son died, one of his brother’s got married and another brother was expecting our first grandchild. Everyone was just so incredibly happy and mistakenly assumed that I too would feel so joyful. It doesn’t work that way. While I was happy for my sons, I was sad and heartbroken that my son wouldn’t be here celebrating with us. I’m going to add the word blisswrenching.
John August 3, 2022 at 11:21 am
Saying the death of a child before the parent is against the natural order, or in Sanskrit, Vilomah, is insane. There is no natural law that limits or orders death. None.
Jeanne September 27, 2021 at 11:18 am
Word for disenfranchised grief…..a dream never coming true. Never have a children or grandchildren.
JD June 27, 2021 at 4:08 pm
Thank you all for this amazing GRIEFSPACE. My word for all things grief safe! We are all joined by our grief joy grief pain grief love and just human condition. I think grief might be the greatest show of our love in the world
JD June 27, 2021 at 4:00 pm
I have a request for a word that may take many by surprise. I need a word for knowing I am dying (from an ugly progressive lung scarring) and am grieving my own death while living the end of my own life.
Miriam November 1, 2021 at 9:18 am
Really Sorry to read of your situation. I have been very close myself on several occasions and called It ‘precious awareness’.
I will pray for you too!
Ira Sass February 28, 2021 at 10:46 am
There is a word in Judaism for the anniversary of a death: yahrtzeit. There’s also a particular candle, a yahrtzeit candle, to light on the occasion.
We definitely need more words though and I liked a lot of these suggestions.
Kristen June 27, 2020 at 4:41 pm
“Makeup Ruination”: when you’re getting ready for work while crying and ruining the makeup you just applied.
Kimberly February 27, 2020 at 6:01 pm
Word for the friends who disappear when you’re grieving:
(Or $h*t heads) both work
Cherie February 7, 2020 at 1:02 pm
Drobbing – waking up to a wet pillow after crying in your sleep/dreams
Harry M Kachline February 3, 2020 at 11:06 am
All valid and appreciated. I would like to fast-forward from the day before Halloween to the day after MLK Day to make the holidays disappear. While our daughter died in June, the holidays still remind us that that tear in the universe at her passing is only being sewed back together slowly. Peace to all
Amber December 9, 2019 at 4:39 am
On the anniversary word, my late husband was vaishnav/hindu and the term his godsiblings use is “disappearance day” (and “appearance day” is used for the day one is born)
Linda November 3, 2019 at 8:48 am
I found my daughter dead in bed on christmas day last year. I can’t imagine I will ever celebrate christmas again. I think of it as the griefmas season.
Lo December 18, 2020 at 8:18 pm
Email me Linda! What is ur email?
Karessa October 3, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Gratigrief, when gratitude for the time you had intermingles with the grief.
Nancy Fulton September 27, 2019 at 1:36 pm
Griefscape – this foreign land I am still trying to navigate, even after 7 years without my best friend/hero/husband. Somehow this last deathdate hit me hard (again).
Jamie Lee Silver September 5, 2019 at 6:37 pm
These are amazing. Forebode-stalgia hit me. Those days leading up to my son’s suicide when he went in and out of being my precious boy and having schizophrenia overtake him.
How about Know its Him. When I see him on the street.
Or when I first arrive back in Downers Grove, Illinois to produce Bensmemorialmile.com and see my first young runner on the street and get flooded in emotion if it’s him again, and time has reversed.
Babydoll September 3, 2019 at 5:03 pm
Smile and crying at the same time, had one last week, nearly 5 years now… Certain things triggered it, but at least my daughter and I still had a good cry, but laughing after.. Love you Tommy x
Jamie Silver September 3, 2019 at 7:45 am
This is amazing. Every word of it true. Grief streets. Still looking for the best word for a mother who loses her beloved Forever 22 son. The ones suggested don’t ring true for me. How about a word for the experience when someone (this happened at my high school reunion) someone came up and told me their son had the same disease my son had and was alive and doing well. I wanted to be happy for her, and I was, but I was thunderstruck.
Erin August 22, 2019 at 2:44 pm
Going Down the Rabbit Hole – when the grief overwhelms you and you can’t stop all the thoughts which make you cry even more. You are in a constant spiral down with your own thoughts and grief.
Showercry – when the only place you feel safe to cry is when you are alone in the shower and no one else can hear you because of the running water.
Katherine August 22, 2019 at 12:26 pm
The term mentioned earlier- grief ghosting- is perfect. Bubbles is what I call those who avoid anything death related or remotely uncomfortable & awkward for them aka me. I’m too prickly & real to get too close to their bubbles.
Bobbi Henson August 16, 2019 at 9:45 pm
Griefhicle. The vehicle you get into to drive down the highway sobbing, screaming and sometimes cussing.
Jenn August 1, 2019 at 10:47 am
A word to describe feeling half alive and half dead = zomban (half zombie/half human) Sounds like zombun
This is a thing and I hate it. Also feeling like it’s all surreal…hate that, too.
Victoria Woodruff July 25, 2019 at 10:01 am
Grief ambush – when a tilty-head surprises you unexpectedly, so you end up in the griefmobile having a grief tsunami. (Then you pull over.)
irene misieiwcz July 25, 2019 at 1:17 am
there’s a term for a wife or husband who loses a wife, a wife who loses a husband, a child who loses parents, but nothing for a parent who loses a child or a parent who loses all their children. Any ideas beside empty or alone???
Gina Rozon August 13, 2019 at 6:01 pm
It’s #63 on the list: Vilomah (from the Sanskrit meaning ‘against the natural order’: word for a parent whose child has died).
And for grandparents, it’s a Grand-Vilomah.
BRB July 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm
Gidow= when my boyfriend passed I couldn’t think of a word to describe me, we were not married, I was not his wife to be a widow…am his GIDOW, this is the first time I share this thought, I wonder if it will ever make it to the dictionary.
I wish there was a word for many other thoughts I am experiencing like if I ever meet someone who is interested in me (which I am in no rush or desire honestly) I think about silly things like what would I call him? BF? it just feels wrong! I wish there was a word for someone coming into your life afterwards.
Griefstones= grief milestones, like wearing eyeliner after 9 months or shaving after (several moths) you know, the little things we accomplish on a daily basis that seemed impossible at first.
There are so many instances to describe…
Jennifer Schaeff July 14, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Rollercrasher: that crazy ride…up & down, ‘round and ‘round… you never know what’s around the next corner. Just when you think you’ve gotten through the worst… whoosh! the “ride” throws you something new.
Tsun-na-ngrab-me: when all of sudden there is a terrible stillness and then a womb as everything rushes back at you bigger and scarier than just moments before. No warning, can happen out of the blue or there’s a rumbling then the quiet then it all hits and tosses you around.
Lynn July 13, 2019 at 6:02 pm
I too am a recent widow. Rather than finding this list offensive I found myself nodding in agreement to so many of the words. I have been at a loss for words that fit the situation since my husband was killed in a car accident February 23 2019. Does anyone have a word for our first wedding anniversary without him? It is this coming week. Words are power.
Brian July 12, 2019 at 11:00 pm
“Grief-Funk” is the compound word I used to describe my experience this morning when the combination of missing Mom with my milestone birthday coming up next month and the loss of a significant friendship (one of my out-of-state besties, a big support during my grief process, but a complicated array of misunderstandings over the last couple months basically killed our friendship this past week). It lasted several hours but I took a nap and had a nice dream about my mom…first time in a while.
connie July 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm
a PS to my words of July 9, because in reading them today, they seem scolding and harsh and bossy-cold, and that was not in my heart or mind at all.
In this life now, I have to keep everything very simple and gentle.
I cannot instantly remember a lot — the mailman’s name, the day of the week, what I ate. Still.
I write a lot down and that’s been a help. My brain can rest from remembering all the day-to-day.
So, for me, remembering a new and created word or phrase is not what I can do.
I’m going through trauma. Still. And I feel disconnected. Powerfully a times. Still.
We were married for 1729 weeks. He’s been where he is now for 123 weeks.
Hope I didn’t traumatize anyone with my original words.
Cherishing you all.
David Palmer July 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm
For friends who disappear – Frienemy. The word I often use in Our support groups is Naturalized life. No longer normal and will never be normal again but it will become naturalized in time.
Connie Carney July 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm
For 1/2 dead and 1/2 alive– this is trauma.
2 words, already existing,
As for me, I stay safe with my best friend and beloved husband, now in spirit, yet ever near. Please read the Blog post on Continuing Bonds, and you may understand, and find comfort there.
Edie Goodman July 9, 2019 at 1:35 pm
Thanks for all the words!!!!
GB July 5, 2019 at 7:02 pm
GriefStreets- The roads I took to take my wife to horrible cancer institute for her radiation and 1 chemo treatment! How I hate even driving on any of the roads that unfortunately I must at times in day to day. I hit the road and in sight I can see all the way to the horrible ending over and over again.
This “wonderful” cancer institute had all their patients upon finishing their radiation treatments ring their “Victory Bell” and it was the most horrible experience for me. My wife- This poor soul was ringing a “Victory Bell” when I knew she only had weeks left to live! But she tld me she was reminded to ring the bell as we left. We have the picture from it- It was horrible as others heard it and stood and clapped. Horrible. I am sorry it was.
Victory? My ass!
The % that ring that bell and survive is probably near ZERO- So what victory must we think about when their very Dr says “shes got weeks to go”?
v July 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Sorry for your loss. I vote for your GriefStreets.
Along with GriefStores/GriefPlaces? Every store or place frequented with the person that you reminds you or you can no longer enter without crying.
Meggle July 17, 2020 at 9:51 am
I vote for grief-haunts. Just kind of feels right.
Mary July 5, 2019 at 1:23 pm
Thank you so much for this wonderful, soul-freeing vocabulary! I need this!
I’m in a greifaversay today – one year exactly since my wife and I became a hospice family, and she died in my arms in November. I need a word for a person, who can be someone I know or don’t really know, when hearing that I’m in a griefbomb, does not look away. Instead, silently holds my gaze and sits with me in my grief. What a loving gift that is! This happened to me today.
Meggle July 17, 2020 at 9:49 am
Therapy strangers? Grace lenders?
Mary July 5, 2019 at 12:42 pm
Thank you so much for these and for all the comments. Reading these descriptions assures me I am not alone in my journey. Here are some suggestions:
Friends who disappear when one is in grief:: Flosters
Friends/acquaintances who step up in profound ways when one is in grief: Frolids
Feeing half alive and half dead in grief: Grazy
Sheryl September 24, 2020 at 8:06 am
heart punch? The physical feeling in your chest that grief leaves you with.
Darklaughs: the humour you feel in totally inappropriate mom
Shells July 5, 2019 at 10:25 am
I’m just emerging into the land of the living after having lost five close family members in four years including my kid brother on my birthday. It’s been a relentless onslaught of painful difficult feelings. Grief, as followers of this awesome blog know, doesn’t end…it evolves and changes and finds a place as part of a new you. Some of the new words I use to describe the sudden disruption in an otherwise okay day are: grief grip, grief hole, grief spiral, grief labyrinth. Then there are all the accurate old established words: sorrow, anguish and suffering are at the top of my list.
Hate Them Now July 4, 2019 at 8:33 pm
What is the word for the way you feel about non-grieving people, i.e., the living, and how tiresome and tedious they are with their frisking and frolicking and Instagramming and vacationing and children’s birthday parties while you have to do next-level adulting by dealing with the estate, throwing out tremendous amounts of your parent’s junk (junk without end), and doing nothing but administering medicine and running errands for your other elderly relatives who will probably also be gone in a few years also? What is the word for this feeling of NOT wanting to ever rejoin this shallow, deluded, spoiled, insensitive”celebrate life” crowd?
Dyanna G August 8, 2019 at 2:46 pm
I validate your feelings. I have felt the same. I wish you comfort in anyway you can find it.
Sandy July 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm
Grief mask – what I put on everyday to go to work, gym, store, etc so everyone thinks I’m fine and I don’t have to talk about it
Sam July 4, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Grief storm. My beautiful blue-eyed girls bday and angelversary are within 2 weeks of each other. Born in February and died in March, she is forever 31. Gone 8 years now. Practically the entire holiday season starting in October and ending in March (that is a half of a year, argh!) is the most difficult time to get through. Winter is my grief storm. I look forward to spring each year. I’m learning how to simultaneously carry my sorrow and my joy.
Jenn E April 30, 2022 at 1:25 am
Need a word to describe the months’-long state of disbelief, despite all evidence of the truth, that my child is dead. The la la land a bereaved parent walks through knowing the horrific truth with the conscious mind, while simultaneously being unable to actually take that truth in.
Andrea July 4, 2019 at 11:19 am
Thank you for “griefmobile.” I always cry in the car, and I love this blog for reminding me that I’m not weird.
Is there a word for when someone else has an illness or other event that is similar to what led to your loved one’s death, which brings on a grief wave while you’re also worried about this other person? “Triggered” doesn’t work for me personally.
Meggle July 17, 2020 at 9:45 am
I always call this emotion a hookyank – like you’ve swallowed a fishing hook and the line gets caught on something. It just feels like that to me, physically – painful & anxiety-inducing.
MamaShell March 30, 2021 at 9:43 am
Hookyank…I love it and its perfect! My son and dad were huge fishermen and I lost dad 4/20/20 and my son (forever 24) just 2 months later 6/21/20. Almost every day I wake up is a hookyank.
C. Michele Martindill July 4, 2019 at 1:34 am
Widow Box: it’s where I toss all the self-help books and phone numbers people toss at me right before they run in the other direction in order to avoid having to talk to me about my grief. I know they don’t want me to call them, and I have no desire to read any more self-help books. They don’t fit my circumstances and most of them are just shallow. All widows have a widow box.
Brian July 4, 2019 at 12:57 am
Grief-Storm-Surge (like what happened to me two months ago when a grief-wave hit a lot harder and lasted a lot longer than usual…)
Gina Rozon July 3, 2019 at 6:55 pm
Forbode-stalgia (rhymes with nostalgia). That feeling you have in the days leading up to the angelversary… where you see photos and memories from the days just before they died and have a sense of foreboding because you know you’re looking at the last days before a tragedy and can’t believe there wasn’t a sense of foreboding.
Lexy July 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm
Grief Tsunami – when a wave just doesn’t cut it. A friend going through a tragic loss came up with it
Chad Benkert July 3, 2019 at 4:08 pm
Grief Zombie- When we are present but lost in our world of grief.
marker- for lack of a better way to acknowledge special dates. I dont like the alternatives and have not come up with a better term so this is what I say. ‘Today is the 27 month market of of losing Kylie.
Helen July 3, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Sangry-feeling sad and angry at the same time.
This should be made into a book to help people laugh and realize they are not alone in their emotions.
Erin July 3, 2019 at 12:24 pm
Grieveabit: when I need to go off by myself & let the tears flow at an otherwise happy event that I wish I were sharing with my deceased Dad.
G-layer: when a new death compounds an older loss/death, leaving me feeling deeply wounded. Crying harder, louder, longer than I thought I would. An unpleasant surprise.
Thank-you for this very wise article!
Gladys post July 3, 2019 at 11:51 am
Wonderful article. GREIFTHANKS to all’s who contributed. Should be a lovely book Very helpful
Carol July 3, 2019 at 10:48 am
These are great! No words for that profound emotional pain.
I lost my mother then my husband then my father within 3 1/2 years.
What’s up with the friends that disappear ?
sherri vince July 3, 2019 at 10:15 am
SOMETHING FOR ME.. I LOST BOTH MY DAUGHT AND HUSBAND WITHIN 5 MONTHS OF EACH OTHER
Sharon Rossy July 3, 2019 at 10:03 am
Broken Heart Day – because that`s the day my heart broke when my son died. Anniversary leaves much to be desired. As a therapist – I find it difficult to use that word for my clients and certainly myself.
Brenda July 2, 2019 at 9:46 pm
Dead man/woman walking
Are in my vocabulary now.
Carol Taylor July 3, 2019 at 7:25 pm
I like the term new abnormal. It’s certainly more fitting than new normal, a phrase I detest. Thanks for sharing.
Sandy July 2, 2019 at 9:35 pm
Grief-mask – what I put on every day when I go anywhere, to work, to the store, to my sisters, so everyone thinks I ‘m fine and I don’t have to talk about it.
J Tolman July 2, 2019 at 8:01 pm
Half-orphan…my daughter always refers to herself this way. She feels the loss of her dad so deeply.
Sharon July 2, 2019 at 7:26 pm
These are WONDERFUL!
Diana Arnett July 2, 2019 at 6:19 pm
So many things I can relate to with all the comments. Crying while driving the car, is a big one with me. My husband has been gone 9 months. Married almost 50 years. It doesn’t seem like I will ever stop crying or find joy in my life again. Without my faith in God, I could not get through this.
Renee Zielinski July 2, 2019 at 2:23 pm
Is it strange that in my time of grief I find that I can now understand what I couldn’t before? I call it Grief-standing. I lost my Dad very unexpectedly just a little over a month ago. Before experiencing this shock I thought I could imagine it but boy was I wrong. Now I completely understand what others were feeling when it happened to them but I also give a pass to the ones that have not gone through this – They don’t know as I didn’t before.
Christine Lister July 2, 2019 at 2:17 pm
Grief merry-go-round: the state of feeling like you are “going around in circles” processing the same aspects of loss again and again. This happens when triggered by something that highlights your loss over and over. For me, taking care of anything that breaks down in the house since my husband died. Or maintaining the yard as that was his domain. I’m not being confronted with a new part of my grief, just the same reality time and again.
Thanks for the list. I think where you are in your grief journey (another term) determines your ability to relate to this article. Someone above stated they didn’t find this helpful. I hope they access your other blogs as we each have different needs based on what we are experiencing. Peace to the authors who are providing support as they move through their own journey.
Laura Lockard July 2, 2019 at 2:14 pm
We call Christmas Shitmas and The Holidays The Hellidays.
Jennifer July 2, 2019 at 3:04 pm
That described my holidays – can I borrow the Sh!tmas
Michele July 5, 2019 at 9:05 pm
Those terms are perfect. I shall use them.
Amy July 2, 2019 at 1:57 pm
My parents died of unrelated causes within two weeks of each other. My sister and I refer to their deaths as the grief bomb.
SusieOpperia July 2, 2019 at 1:54 pm
As a recent widow (Feb. 14, 2019) and a bit of a long-time etymologist, I don’t find this list at all helpful. As a matter of fact, I think it’s ridiculous and inane. The topic is simply not funny. smh
Linda July 3, 2019 at 1:51 am
Geez I really do NOT think anyone was making light of or in any way thinks grief is funny. I would guess all who are reading this are or have dealt with their own big loss and grief. Maybe it would help you to just lighten up a bit. Really? Taking offense to this article and the “words”? Come ON!!
Sue July 3, 2019 at 9:10 am
I’m sorry about the death of your husband. I lost my husband when my children were little, and just recently my son was killed. I don’t think this horror is funny either and I get what your saying. What I also know is that some many months after my man died I invented my own language for grief – when it really dawned on me that it was never going to go back to the way it was, that I was in this place forever and he was actually dead, and more amazingly, that I was finding a way to stay alive through the pain. It’s the black humour of the survivor. Your loss is so recent that any flippancy about sorrow is just insulting. In another couple of years you will know viscerally why people do this, even if you love words too much to take it on board yourself. I wish you peace as you go through these dark days.
Litsa July 3, 2019 at 8:39 pm
Sorry if this wasn’t a help to you. As mental health professionals who have been working in grief collectively for 25 years, we hear words like these all the time from grievers and when we asked about it the responses poured in. So, we know it resonates for some, we also know it doesn’t for all.
We founded WYG after our own devastating losses because we felt there was void of sites that were having the kinds of discussions about loss that we wanted – discussions that often involved humor and concrete tools for coping. It is very right for some people and not at all right for others. If humor isn’t part of your coping, this might not be the ideal support space for you. Luckily there are many other great sites. We recommend griefhealing.com and grief.com as great sites that have a different tone than ours. Sorry this wasn’t a good fit and hope those are a help!
Trinity September 30, 2021 at 6:04 pm
I won’t judge your grief if you won’t judge the author’s or ours. We all express grief differently.
Judith Borenin July 2, 2019 at 1:48 pm
I have a new book of poetry just published, The Evidence & The Evermore, which is about my son’s death and life after.
Jennifer July 2, 2019 at 3:11 pm
Well, although it sounds weird when I write it – congratulations on getting published. Where can we get a copy?
I’d love to have one of your poems on my site.
Anita July 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm
The words I use for friends who disappear while you are grieving: grief ghosts (noun) or grief ghosting (verb). Unfortunate to need these words.
Lovey July 2, 2019 at 1:12 pm
Grief-mobile – that’s me in our car – remembering when I was riding shotgun for my husband..
He used to tell me that even going to a dr apt was like going on a date – as long as we were together.
Now I drive around the area, and there is a reminder everywhere I go – that we were there together.
How joyfully we’d take off from our driveway on our latest adventure. Now every time I back out of our driveway – I remember that horrible night I drove him out of our driveway – to the hospital, and his last ride with me. It’s been almost 3 years this month, and it till hurts more than I can describe.
I also have one – “Widow’s Row” Last row in church where I sit with my other widowed lady friends
Cindy July 2, 2019 at 2:05 pm
THANK you so much for putting into words exactly what I’m feeling. EXACTLY. I lost my sweet husband of 47 years 2 years ago this month. And like you I remember that last drive to the hospital like it happened last night. We too shared “car adventures”, which are so very, very painful to remember. THANK you for your words.
Edward Vendetti July 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm
Lost my husband I feel ZOMBIEIZED – half alive half dead….it sux!
Brian July 2, 2019 at 11:21 pm
Edward’s first comment reminded me of my experience when my Mom first started her terminal decline 2017 February 7…Zombie-ized! This happened in the morning but by lunchtime I was a FUNCTIONAL ZOMBIE…Mom died February 21 2017 and I am sure I had some creative words to describe my grief-journey like grief-funk, break-down, grief-buddy and such…can’t remember the others.
Ken July 2, 2019 at 12:24 pm
I am a Bereavement Coordinator for a Hospice team. The term I use for half dead and half alive is “stastis” The place we exist in until God thinks we can handle the emotions.
Jen July 2, 2019 at 11:58 am
“Some experiences people have requested words for:
Feeling half dead and half alive
A person whose sibling died
Friends who disappear while you’re grieving”
These 3 things are exactly what I was looking for on this list, exactly where I’m at since my sister died at 37, just over a year ago. I couldn’t have predicted that my closest friends would no longer speak to me after that, and I still detest them for it, but try to get on with things the best I can, as all of you are doing.
I have borrowed a phrase from my aunt for when I’m feeling low – “I’m having a DID Day” (a down-in-the-dumps day), and I’m glad to have found ‘Cloud Time’ here, b/c I do that a lot, sometimes in my ‘Griefmobile’. Thanks for the article.
Tina Derke July 2, 2019 at 11:51 am
Susan – your description of a “half-life” is so acccurate for me. Not the life I had planned but the one I’m left with. Wondering if I’ll ever experience “joy” again.
Edward Vendetti July 2, 2019 at 3:56 pm
I know the feeling. My husband/partner recently passed. Worst thing that has ever happened to me. Trying to move on without my best friend sux! Gods taking care of me though as he is with you.
Laura July 2, 2019 at 11:45 am
“Deathwork” – all the insane things one must do when your spouse dies (attorney, financial advisor, memorial service, funeral home, pick up ashes from funeral home, life insurance forms, SO MUCH PAPERWORK, )
Marcia July 3, 2019 at 11:28 am
Yes Laura! Deathwork more than describes it! I am executrix for my husband’s and mother’s estate. They passed within weeks of one another. I keep the door to my office closed, very difficult to go in there and try to work on the mountains of paperwork I have procrastinated on – even removed my landline due to the never ending calls. When I receive calls asking for my husband I just give out the cemetery’s number and usually don’t receive calls back. I become weary of telling whoever is asking for my husband that he died. It’s like ripping off a thousand bandaids again. I limit my visits to the post office to pick up mail. I’ve tried calling the junk mail senders to tell them to stop sending things addressed to him – it hurts to see his name plus I feel awful tossing it because it does have his name on it – I feel like I’m tossing a piece of him away. And it’s only junk mail!! He had been ill for years and I thought I was prepared / but found there is no preparation for death.
Sandra July 5, 2019 at 10:05 pm
Marcia – I understand exactly what you mean about the mail/junk mail issue. My husband will have been gone for sixteen years in December, so the mail in his name has pretty much tapered off. But even now, every once in awhile something will show up in his name and it’s just like falling back down the Grief Wormhole. It drags me right back to the days just after he died, as if it where yesterday. I hate the hell out of it. And Christmas is pretty much still a total washout. My family seem to think I am insane for still being “so upset”. Not a whole lot of understanding or empathy…
Ellen July 4, 2019 at 8:37 pm
The only reason “deathwork” exists is because Life finds the reality of death to be obscene and has proclaimed it a crime. Someone actually got away from Life, by actually dying, so society makes you process all this paperwork so that you understand death is always in poor taste and threatens to actually undermine everything Life stands for. It’s really meant as a a punishment.
Ann Anderson July 2, 2019 at 11:11 am
Our family has always used the word “graduated” for the day our loved one died. It was their “graduation” day!
Gina Rozon July 2, 2019 at 10:53 am
“Grand-Vilomah”; “Grand-Shakulim”; “Grand-Zeitlanger” … grandparent who has lost a grandchild.
Natalie July 2, 2019 at 10:41 am
Thank you so much for the emails and articles (my griefthanks).
Debra Wickham July 2, 2019 at 10:41 am
Brogrief – grief for a brother.
Susan Lynch July 2, 2019 at 10:39 am
I always feel half dead and half alive- I call this state I am in my half-life. Not the life I had or planned for but the one I am left with.
Half of me is missing, I am not the same, I live a “half-life”.
Mary July 2, 2019 at 10:32 am
Friends who disappear when you’re grieving- “alive-weather friends”
Jo September 2, 2019 at 4:33 am
Like it, I call them forget-me-friends.
Lucy July 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm
“Invisible widow” –Girlfriend of someone who never finalized his divorce before he died.
Lucy July 1, 2019 at 4:22 pm
“Invisible widow”–girlfriend of someone who never finalized their divorce with their wife before they died.
Carol Luben July 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm
I just love the phrase” Invisible Widow” . it feels right for several different things including first wives and same sex companions and partners. Thank you for this phrase.