Grief and Isolation
Understanding Grief : Eleanor Haley/
For further articles on these topics:
10 signs you’ve been spending too much time alone:
1. Your laundry basket is filled with a soft pile of sweatshirts, oversized t-shirts, and elastic waist pants.
2. The sound of your phone’s ringtone evokes the same fight or flight response as the sound of a really loud fire alarm.
3. You’ve been carrying on odd conversations with objects around your house.
4. There is no greater affront than someone knocking on your door.
5. You feel excessively pessimistic, obsessive, anxious and worried.
6. Before you leave the house you have to remind yourself to act normal because there will be people.
7. You’ve become so unpracticed at the art of social norms that even the slightest interaction turns awkward.
8. When someone asks ‘what’s new’ you get tongue-tied looking for something noteworthy to say aside from that you just marathon watched all 10 seasons of Beverly Hills 90210.
9. When someone asks you to do something you say you’ll check your schedule and get disappointed when you find you have no excuse to say ‘no’.
10. You’ve psyched yourself out so much that you assume you stick out like a shy and uncomfortable eyesore in all social situations.
I know most of you aren’t actual hermit-people, but the inclination to stay in and stay away is stronger than ever after the death of a loved one. The shift caused by significant loss can lead you to feel more isolated than you’re accustomed to. While you try to adjust to life in the wake of major change, it’s business as usual for those around you and it’s easy to feel cut off from family and friends, left out, alienated and misunderstood. Not to mention, many people intentionally isolate due to feelings of anger, sadness, mistrust, helplessness, anxiety, and depression. Grief and loneliness go hand in hand for a number of reasons but I’ll name just a few…
- The person who died was one of your closest confidants or best friends.
- Your friends stop calling because they feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say.
- Your partner has died and everywhere you go you feel like a 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel.
- You don’t feel like those around you are tolerant of your grief.
- Every interaction you have is filled with superficial condolences.
- You don’t want to leave the house because you’re tired of making everyone else feel better about the death.
- You don’t want to leave the house because you’re tired of having to reassure everyone you’re doing okay.
- You don’t want to leave the house because you’re afraid something will trigger your grief and you’ll become emotional in public.
- The things that used to seem important now seem pretty unimportant.
- You don’t feel like you have anyone to really talk to.
- People are pushing you to feel better and you don’t want to admit you still feel bad.
- You don’t want to admit you’re lonely.
- You don’t care.
- You’re struggling with anxiety or depression.
- An illness or disability makes it difficult to get out of the house without your deceased loved one.
- You can’t possibly think of where you would go.
I could keep on going but our posts are long enough already (yes, we’re aware). The point is that for a whole slew of reasons grievers are at increased risk of experiencing social and emotional isolation and loneliness. For many, these feelings will be a passing phase, but for others, they will serve as a tipping point for cyclical negative thinking and actual withdraw.
For clarification’s sake, I’d like to differentiate between social isolation, emotional isolation, and loneliness:
Social Isolation: Psychologically or physical distancing from desired or needed relationships. This includes relationships in the broader community; organizations like work, school or church; and family, friends and significant others. Many, especially introverts, feel time alone is important to their emotional well being, but social isolation becomes a problem when you no longer benefit from the distance placed between you and these entities.
Emotional Isolation: When a person feels they have no one they can talk to or confide in. Perhaps they have relationships that trigger negative feelings and thoughts so they withdraw as a defense against feeling stress, betrayal, pressure, shame or guilt. Emotionally isolated individuals may evolve to a point where they keep their feelings to themselves and they feel totally despondent about communicating with others or receiving their emotional support. One may be emotionally isolated despite having friends and family because they keep their relationships on a superficial level. In thi, way they might be surrounded by people, yet still feel lonely and unable to relate to or bond with others.
For grievers, this might occur when they feel others aren’t tolerant or accepting of their grief. They may also cut themselves off emotionally if it seems like people are uncomfortable with their expression of grief related emotions or if others react to their feelings in a way that minimizes their grief or pushes them to move on.
Loneliness: One’s perception that they don’t have the amount or quality of social interaction they desire. The perception of feeling lonely is relative to what you feel would be personally fulfilling. One can still feel lonely even when surrounded by family and friends because they’re missing the type of bond or amount of contact they feel desirable.
Loneliness and isolation have the capacity to erode both your emotional and physical well-being. Feeling alienated and isolated from social interaction can trigger a spiral of negative thinking about oneself – I have nothing to offer others, I’m not interesting, I’m different – and about others – everyone lies, they are all so fake, all anyone ever does is pressure me. When you’re lonely your brain tries to make sense of why and sometimes the answers it comes up with are less than logical. For example rather than thinking – I’m going through a tough adjustment period – you think – I don’t fit in anywhere. These assumptions become confused with facts and the next time you work up the courage to leave the house you are more inclined to see the world through this negative lens.
As if the emotional toll weren’t enough, one only needs to Google ‘loneliness’ to find that it’s also linked to a whole slew of physical maladies such as hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, inflammation in the body, problems with learning and memory, lower immune system, increase in the stress hormone cortisol, lower quality of sleep, and premature aging. Yikes!
Isolation is an actual health risk so it’s important to pay attention to how your coping in the weeks and months following a loss, especially if you’re someone who tends to withdraw into oneself. If you see yourself slipping into isolation, it’s probably best to try and find a few small ways to connect. Here are a few suggestions:
- Recognize negative thinking and the stories you are telling yourself – I’m not likable, no one wants to spend time with me, everyone else is happy, everyone else has someone they can talk to, I don’t fit in anywhere. Refuse to buy into these stories and look for evidence to the contrary. For those willing to see a therapist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapists are especially helpful when trying to combat negative thinking.
- Intentionally place yourself in social settings. If your not ready to join a group, start by simply going to public places like the mall or the park.
- Look for evidence in your environment that you aren’t in fact alone. Remember, loneliness isn’t the same as being alone and one can feel lonely even when surrounded by family and friends. Check out our activity on Support System Superlatives, you may realize you have people you can count on afterall.
- Avoid toxic relationships. These relationships can affirm your worst fears about people and increase the likelihood of emotional withdraw.
- Step out of your comfort zone – accept an invitation or initiate plans with someone.
- Write an email, send a Facebook message, text a family member, send a letter, or phone a friend.
- Read our post on maintaining relationships with family and friends after the death of a loved one,
- Say hello, smile, or make eye contact when walking down the street.
- Volunteer somewhere where you’re likely to have contact with other people.
- Join a club where people have similar interests to your own.
- Resist the urge to cancel plans or no-show.
- Ask people about themselves.
- Look for similarities in others, rather than differences.
- If one group doesn’t work for you, try another.
- Ask for help.
- Try a support group.
- Try individual or group therapy.
- Make the best of your alone time; do something constructive, cathartic, therapeutic, or good for your health.
Have a suggestion for combating loneliness and isolation? Share it in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to receive our posts straight to your email inbox and check out our growing library of print grief resources.
40 Comments on "Grief and Isolation"Click here to leave a Comment
D July 4, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Same ol’, same ol’. I lost my husband 3.5 years ago. We were together 24/7. He was my best friend and everything to me. Since then, I have been trying to keep our business going and backstabbed by some so-called friends. I’ve had it. I don’t feel “normal” anywhere I am. I am exhausted. I feel myself isolating more and more. What’s the point? I don’t like to read about other people feeling the same way year after year. Grief sharing is BS. It’s still the same empty place and you’re never the same again. It reminds me of the scene in Jaws where they’re showing each other their shark bites. I’ve read all of the books and blogs. All the same. I’ve tried on-line dating to no avail. I believe in God and am a Christian, but I need a miracle in my life to restore myself to the person I used to be. Or maybe this is the hand that is dealt. It wasn’t my call. I have the luxury of not having to worry about financial issues so I can become a recluse and indulge any eccentricities to whatever level I desire. Maybe someone reads this can relate to what I’ve said. I’m not bitter, just a realist.
Mark June 19, 2022 at 12:41 pm
I recently just lost my partner and I worked for him. So we were together 24/7 and it worked out great, as far as the work/personal relationship. We rarely brought home work issues to affect our personal relationship, most people can’t do that but we just complimented each other really well and helped balance each other. When he died by suicide everything went to his brother, who was a greedy SOB. So the business was shut down (even though he had no clue on how to do it), I was kicked out of my office with in 24 hours (but of coarse they wanted to know where all the money was) and kicked out of the house in 18 days. Which none of that I was really concerned with because I didn’t want to stay working there but more than 24 hours would have been nice just to be able to have good closure, same with the house, a month would have been nice but o well. But then all the things I find out about his so called friends and family and how they just crapped all over his wishes and what he would want. The lies they tell to make themselves look better and get pity from others. Not to mention worse of all, they bringing people back into “his life” that had wronged him so bad before, all in the name of money.
It’s only been barely 3 months for me since that night. But already I’ve read a lot and see that I could be where you are in 3.5 years. I don’t want to be, but I’m not finding any solid advice on how to actively overcome these grieving thoughts and feelings. It’s just always, “everyone’s is the same but different and it’s on your own time.” None of which is actually helpful.
So I don’t know what I’m looking for unless you have found the magic formula, but I just wanted to say that I hear you and relate to your post.
Indi lane October 3, 2019 at 11:56 am
I had a breakdown after finding my mother dead. I was in the middle of a relationship w a severely abusive Narcissist too,that alone can cause a breakdown. Once my mother passed the physical abuse set in 5 days later. He took complete advantage of me then. I fought him off fairly good til she passed. My father passed away 10 months earlier at home from cancer. I was his caretaker. I also had a baby a month earlier w the Narc.
I suffered memory loss, hallucinations, talked to myself, wouldn’t leave her bed, stopped taking care of myself, refuses to eat, nearly committed suicide, gave up totally on life. He made my life hell, played with my head daily, refuses to pay bills, our water was shut off for a month and I used rainwater to do dishes and bathe us after boiling it, lack of food, and omg so much more.
I had NO SUPPORT SYSTEM at all. I have that home full of memories and the very place she does. I was left to pack up all of my mothers belongs 2 months after her passing. No family helped me. No family would even move the items to storage. My son in laws didn’t want to scratch his truck. My teenage kids was too busy, the Narc walked out on us (only so he could have fun w drugs and girls for two weeks) then he came back, I wouldn’t reach out to distant family, I just sat in that home packing, crying, falling asleep in the floor, and life was gone as I knew it. It’s taken me 3 years to get where I am now. Neither parent had death insurance, nothing left but belongings to pack. I felt alone, hopeless, forgotten, self pity, and the pain I felt in my gut was so severe I would punch myself to try and stop that pain. I ended up having severe uncontrollable high blood pressure and insomnia, my teen son yelled at me months after she died telling me he hated me I wasn’t the same. But they even left the same day she died. I had my baby and my 8 year old and the Narc to turn to only. Moma was my best friend plus I took care of her my entire life (37 years old). Moma died at 55 (2016)and daddy at 56 (2015). I still struggle and my now 22 and 19 yo don’t understand me. They want me to shut my crying up. Not speak of it. . When I do I try to use myself and my daughter for example to try and make her (22 yo) to understand. But she DNT care. She says oh well we all die. My mom was all I had. I’ll nvr be the same happy chipper person again. Now I nvr smile or laugh or enjoy myself. I’m still fighting financially, emotionally and mentally. Hell I lost everything to the Narc due to my stupidity of going insane. He even sold my parents things wo me knowing. I left him 8 months ago. Since he’s been arrested. A tornado ruined my home last summer, no insurance. It’s just been a total mess. I’m still fighting tho. I hadn’t given up since I decided is win this battle. I can’t .put into words the destruction I did to myself and allowed when I had my break down. I’m ashamed of myself cuz my kids have so much anger built up. I’m done the best I can but I’m still breathing.
Michael October 7, 2020 at 9:15 pm
Hi, Indi. Just a random stranger here. But I want to reach out and give you my condolences in place for anyone in your life who hasn’t, or hasn’t taken the consideration and time to understand how YOU feel day in and day out. You deserve much better in your life, and I really hope you have been able to at least take some steps out of your depression towards a brighter life and future.
Paul December 23, 2020 at 3:48 am
Indi, thank you for telling us about your pain. It can be such a lonely place to be. You describe it well. I noticed you put things in the past tense in a way that seems you’ve overcome so much of that. I hope you have been able to put even more of it behind you.
Joy March 14, 2019 at 11:27 am
This article gives me hope for happier days ahead. First I smiled at the 10 Signs You’ve Been Spending Too Much Time Alone, and then I teared up because this is so accurate.
My dad passed away in 1984 under traumatic circumstances. My mom, sister and I carried on. Mom made a new life for herself, found a wonderful male friend, and they had so much fun together. We visited often, playing cards, going dancing, going out on the town, etc.
My sister eventually became a young widow and between the loss of her son in 1983, the loss of our Dad, and then her husband in 1996, she really never completed rallied. The two of us became closer than ever. She was my older sister, always there to talk on the phone, give advice, spend time together, etc. We also spent time with Mom, and the three of us had many wonderful times together.
Mom passed in 2009 from cancer and my sister and I were devastated. We maintained a close relationship. Having her as I worked through my grief and beyond was such a blessing. Then in 2015 she passed suddenly and unexpectedly, and I was absolutely floored. How could my sister be gone?? I felt adrift in a sea of grief and loneliness.
I have a few closer friends and a lot of casual friends, but there’s no way they could replace what I’d lost. My kids are living their own lives, and although they’re loved dearly they don’t really understand the depth of my feelings. I wouldn’t expect them to.
In the meantime, my dog was my constant companion and roommate. No more husband in my life due to divorce, and that was also a major loss, although I couldn’t have stayed with him. My dog was my delight, an intelligent, loving, trusting little individual whom I’d had since 2004. Then my youngest child got cancer and has been battling it for over a year, feeling terrible on chemo but not able to get off it, of course. Prognosis is uncertain.
My dog was aging and not able to do the things we loved to do – going for walks and playing ball, etc. Ten days before his 15th birthday on Feb 22 2019 I had to help him cross over, and I’m not handling it well. I cry a lot and avoid being with people I don’t know well. My heart feels so heavy sometimes I can’t stand it. I can’t have another dog or cat because one of my kids has asthma and hasn’t been able to be in my house for more than an hour or two for a number of years.
The prospect of not having another fur kid makes me so sad. I feel so isolated. The house feels so empty. I’m so glad I found this article as it’s giving me hope. Thank you.
Susan February 5, 2019 at 6:57 pm
I miss my husband so much. He died on June 10th 2017. I am still devastated. I find it difficult still to eat or even wash myself. I keep going because of our much loved pets. I worry my grown up son and his family just see me as a future potential burden.
That other people are equally grieving and not coping well makes me feel less alone. Thank you for this article.
Vartan Agnerian January 22, 2019 at 7:06 pm
As always’ another very beneficial article ‘ with helpful points ‘
Just a recent widow’ I can relate to all of the above ….
Chris November 1, 2018 at 11:41 am
I read this article because I’m really trying to learn to love someone who is grieving and extremely isolated, to the point where I can’t get ahold of him without repercussion. It makes me extremely sad and jaded at the same time. One of the things I’ve learned is that a grieving person will isolate themselves from people they love because they are afraid they will lose them too. Often times the person(s) in their life become their collateral damage. I’ve also learned that they reach the anger stage of grief when they don’t want to feel sad anymore. It’s their way of avoiding feeling hurt again. I hope this helps anyone reading who is dealing with the same issue.
Gladys August 16, 2017 at 7:49 pm
It will be a year ago dear George passed away. He had a heart condition and had open heart surgery. but was not expected to drop down dead at work all alone . He was a site manager of a school. Said good by as normal kiss said see you to nightbgavevavgood day, he left after me only a few miniutes , and I had a uneasy feeling , did not here from him all day. At 4 o’clock he would ring as I left work , I had no call waited tried to phone his phone kept ring , rang the house , got home , light on in hall no dishes in dishwasher , thought oh my god some thing wrong. . Tookmphone and keys went to school across playground, The head teacher was waiting at the door and A man who I know from the council, I asked have you seen George ,oh yes cone in we went round courier and up I said where is he , oh in staff room Is he ill, can I see him , she paused ‘ I said He is dead is ant get, she said yes ,with thar the police came out can I see him no we have to wait for the coroner , when what time why did you not content oh well we had to have police medics and all that the police car was in the playground at the side , my mind a compleat blank I had to phone my daughter who lives on the south coast how do you tell hisvdaughter her dad Is dead I she had text me earlier send a picture of her kitten , I asked her to sit down we have a little granddaughter who,was only 3 then and love her Grandol so much having told her her and her husband and baby came up traveling on ,m24 not good rush hour well neighbours came over a friend from work came to be with me till my daughter came my other daughter who was George’s step daughter lives in farmbrough wonted to come but as her husband is not that well we talked on phone my daughter let George’s sister know as well ! A lot went In in between but it’s to pain full to explain , I finally got to see dear George at 8,20 he had fallen forwards and his glasses were smashed but of course I am told he would not if suffered ,it was so quick. , But my main problem is I was not told , till I got in at 4.40 Why it hurts so much he passed away between 10 and 2 I can pin it down to just about 10 as messages on his phone, not only did I loose my husband but my home as well , I went home with my daughter and my cat and only went back 2 once to arrange for the house to be packet up to be put in store well my daughters did I ,just looked and for George’s creamation for which the council allowed the school to bevclosecascavmark of respect every one was in shock my daughter was very kind and I did nothing they arranged every thing as the chock set in I became a great wontingnso many answered about his health why they had not contacted me ,but nothing would bring him back , mynworld has been shattered my daughters. Have had to be strong for there family’s , I have had to,retire from work because I could nitbface returning to,London with no family near by and no house , I amrenting a little house for me and our cat as we at my daughters were running out of space and storage was so expensive , there is a lot more to this , the creamation was a story of his life music family football was his passion and with the place packed with about 250 family and friends lots traveling far we had a long journey as well as my other daughter, my daughter did the planning and his send of to a place of no pain medication I suppose is the correct words to say , this time last year we were to gether happy now I am sad lonely unhappy depressed no one to talk to share things with ok family are great but it’s not the same folk phone but I do not answere as to ve told get over it. Think of .ukyour family oh yes we can do that but it’s not them. If it was would they like it I had a letter from a friend saying don’t put the mockers on there Christmas , now that’s not nice That’s where I will end Friday will be hard. Just meeting my daughter and Granddaughter going to feed the ducks that was one of her granddads favorite things I could write a lot more about our life but it would nit be appropriate, who ever reads this please be mindful,that this is the account of what happened in my case every one is different and no matter how when and. Why we all gave feelings feel,grief my grief will last for ever
Elaine August 5, 2017 at 6:41 pm
Excellent! I am isolating so much since my dad died 3 weeks ago. I am normally quite a homebody and at first I just wanted people around but now I just don’t want to try doing anything. I guess I am afraid of it not feeling any better and of then associating that activity or place with anxiety and grief. When I feel up to it I am going to try a wee trip or redecorate a little. Something to change things just a little.
Catherine July 15, 2017 at 3:38 pm
Lost mother 6/20/17
Miranda May 17, 2017 at 10:13 am
I have lost all 3 members of my family, just 15 weeks within each other including my younger sister who was my BEST FRIEND, MY ROCK, MY ADVISER. I loved my sister with ALL MY HEART. Her death was sudden and a GREAT SHOCK. I feel as though I have been hit with a high speed midnight express train. Words cannot describe my overwhelming GRIEF. My father died in Nov 2015, sister in Jan 2016 & mother April 2016. I ha e been OSTRACISED by extended family. One extended family member, my mother’s sister LAUGHED at the graveside service of my sister. That is the kind of extended family I had. I have never done wrong to any of them, in fact I have been kind to them. I was humiliated & degraded when she laughed. I will NOT be their SCAPEGOAT to support their own shortcomings. I have had NO SUPPORT, NOTHING. I feel no different now than I did a year ago. I might as well be dead.
LPetal August 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm
I hope you are still ‘here’.
It is a devastating loss and drains a person down, I know first hand.
Valerie Sims March 3, 2018 at 11:38 am
Hi Miranda I too lost 2 family members close together. My husband and mom . My 2 best friends they were my everything. Now I have no one. I have been isolating myself,no insintive to get help . I really don’t have anyone to talk to that understands.
Bethany Hildebrand July 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm
Beth, I’m in the same boat, my boyfriend/best and only friend committed suicide 11 months ago. He had recently stepped down from a position and then quit entirely, he then got hired at a different company and quit. I knew he was depressed and stressed out about a job and being what he would call a success, but I didn’t think he was that bad off. I came home and found him dead. At first I just thought he was asleep, I thought “wow he must be worn out” and I thought I’d just take a shower and wake him up and we’ll go get Chinese food. When I came over to him to “wake him up” that’s when it hit me. It was as if I completely lost my mind. I was still trying to wake him up by giving his arm a little shake. I see it over and over again since then. Not only do I have no friends, none that live near me that I can talk emotionally to (I inherited his two best friends that live in different states) but since we weren’t married I had no rights and his family trampled over me. We didn’t really care about getting married, we just loved eachother. Those years with him i was the happiest ive ever been. As long as Paul was in my life and for me to come home to I could handle anything, even our two failed pregnancies. Now without him I don’t know who I am or what I’m going to do. We both suffered from depression but we propped eachother up, or so we tried. Not only is it more pain than I ever thought I could feel, but the lack of support and regognition takes it to the next level. It’s a constant feeling of emptiness. I’ve gotten the “you’ll find someone else, you’re young and pretty” or “he was just your boyfriend, you’ll move on” I just want to ask those people if they loved their spouse before they got married or after?
Kate December 7, 2017 at 8:41 pm
I feel for your Beth. I can only imagine how awful and painful this experience must have been. I was going to be like those others and give you advice based on what I experienced. But right now, just want you to know you are not alone.
Blessings and Light to you.
Beth May 30, 2016 at 7:59 pm
I lost my dearest friend who was also my boyfriend in January of 2015 to his battle with depression and anxiety. This article was so very relateable. I feel so “off”–not here, and it is so unnerving. I am a bit of an introvert and have my own struggles with both depression and anxiety. We could relate to several issues, and I felt that all the pain of the previous years of struggle had brought us together….he meant the world to me, and I feel so completely alone and lost. We were supposed to have a future together; I felt that God brought us together….and just when we were getting started, everything fell apart, and now he is gone. All I feel is grief; it doesnt matter how much therapy I’ve done, how healthy I eat, how much sleep I get…..I feel only great loss and pain. I have lost interest in any previous hobbies and interests, and although I do not enjoy being alone, no one in my very small world can understand what I am experiencing emotionally and mentally.
I am so afraid that it will always be like this–that I will never see color again nor experience joy.
Marc May 23, 2016 at 1:35 pm
My wife passed on 04/10/16. I am now always alone too. I work alone and now I live alone. My wife and I were each other’s whole lives. I didn’t mind to much working alone before her death because we would email and text during the work day and I could just think about her. Just doing those things made me so happy during the day. We met in middle age after each of us having traumatic lives prior to meeting each other. It took us years to fully trust that neither of us would abandon the other. I finally gave my complete heart to her in 2015 after multiple losses prior to meeting my wife. Now my wife is dead. More abandonment issues. Alone at home, alone at work. How do I ever start over?
Wendy D. August 6, 2017 at 9:52 pm
I’m so sorry Marc. I hope that one day you feel peace in your soul. It will be hard and it will take time. Do what you need to do.
Leah Rolan January 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm
I lost my dad in October 2007 to suicide. Shortly after, the demise of my marriage. My mom just passed December 2014 then just a few months later, my best friend’s husband suddenly died. I live alone, I am a hermit. I have zero if any ambition to go out and socialize and I know that I am doing it so I don’t have to feel any more. Add to that, at work I am the only one in my state that does what I do so I also work alone. I find that the rest of the team, in San Antonio, does all kinds of team activities which I cannot do because of where I am. That alone makes me feel isolated. So I am alone at home, alone at work and don’t know how to change anything. Since my mom passed, my rating at work has reached an all time low. I wish I knew what to do or even can get myself to do something. Not sure where to go from here.
Lori January 7, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Dearest Judy, my heart goes out to you. I know that your life will never be the same but I do hope that you can forgive yourself for anything causing your feelings of guilt. I know that you must have loved your daughter very much and she knew that too. That’s all that you can do – love your children – You couldn’t have known what troubles she kept inside. God bless you and your sweet daughter.
Masatoshi November 29, 2015 at 7:42 am
Unfortunately, there is no place where bereaved fathers can get together in my town.
Dee Anna November 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm
Since the passing of my boyfriend, I’m experiencing great loneliness. Steve & I did not live in the same town; however, all of our friends were where he lived. Since his passing I’m back full-time at my home. The silence is deafening know that I will never receive a phone call or text messages. And being there alone can be unbearable because my brain & thoughts never shut down. I’m not alienating or distancing myself from friends or family because I do go out; however, I do find that I don’t feel like I can talk to people because they don’t understand how I feel. Steve was my everything, so I am struggling with “who am I”, it was pointed out that I could be struggling with my identity. Could you provide a post about losing your identity after the loss of a partner or loved one. I have actually considered moving back to where he lived so that I could surround myself with his family & our friends so that I feel like I talk with those who knew him.
Masatoshi November 29, 2015 at 7:21 am
Five years passed after my wife’s loss. I’m still feeling so sad and lonely.
Judy October 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm
My daughter committed suicide 5 yrs ago on October 12, 2010. She had a 9 yr old son & twins that were 2 yrs old at the time. She was 34 yrs old, a single mom & her ex husband wanted their 9 yr old son, this was why she killed herself, she knew her son wanted to live with his father, he had money & no other kids. It broke her heart, as she told me, mom the dad’s want my family & I can’t afford to go to court anymore, the dads have money for expensive lawyers & I don’t. The night before she committed suicide I was driving home from work & she called me & thanked me for everything I had done for her. I said, Renae you sound depressed, why don’t I pick you up and we can go out to eat. Her very last words to me were, No mom, I just want peace & quiet, I thought it was because she had the 3 kids all weekend & wanted to rest, I found out that night she shot herself in the head. She was a beautiful daughter but kept so much in, wouldn’t open up. I have so many guilt feelings of things I should have done, I miss her and love her so much. I think of her everyday, I don’t want to go anywhere, I have to make myself cook & clean. My life will never be the same.
Leanna December 9, 2016 at 4:07 am
Judy – I’m so very sorry for your loss. Just know that you are not alone! We all have regrets when we lose a loved one; things we think we should’ve done, but try to imagine if things were reversed: Would you want your loved one blaming them self? No, we would beg and plead with them to live a happy and fulfilled life! We are always so much harder on ourselves than we are on other people! Please start loving yourself as much as you love your daughter! You are equally as worthy of love as you are capable of loving!
Yam Kahol October 25, 2015 at 4:45 am
@Eleanor, oh yes please. Please do an article (and a podcast?) on dealing with trauma after a death. Two days after the funeral, I experienced a horrible crime…
@Anonymous C, I’m thinking about your comment…sometimes you never know. You never know, maybe if you had pointed in the correct direction, maybe on that particular day that way might have been longer, or might have ended up being a bumpy route for your father. You never know. But, you were with your father during that time. I’m sure he was grateful for your presence and love during those moments. Humans are not perfect. I wish you well and I’m very sorry for your loss.
D. October 15, 2014 at 8:59 am
Loved the cartoons! Just to offer a different perspective: Will someone please address the concerns of people who, when they step out of the house, are hurt by other people? I recently had my keys stolen and the next day someone who threatened me waved at me. Last year I was physically assaulted. Earlier this year I brought flowers to a sick friend and was screamed at to stay away. And the widows group I tried to join asked me to stay away from “live events”, including meetings. You gals are so sharp; do you think you can help some of us tackle this?
Eleanor October 17, 2014 at 8:55 am
Hmmm thanks for this suggestion and I’m sorry you’ve had these traumatic experiences. We’ll have to think about it and see if we can come up with something…I’m sure we can.
D. October 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm
I’m sure you can! You always have such a wide variety of examples of people experiencing grief, and then when you give solutions you really get creative and offer a large number of those, too. Thank you for replying to me.
Litsa October 15, 2014 at 8:27 am
Masatoshi, I am so sorry for the loss of your wife. I am sure that has been incredibly painful on its own, not to mention the stress of being a single father. It is very unfortunate to hear that in Japan they make a distinction between the pension of a survivor based on gender. Have you considered attending a support group for widows? You may find other individuals there who are struggling with the same challenges of grieving and single parenting. I hope that you have found some helpful articles on our website. We do have a number of posts on helping and supporting grieving children, which may be useful.
Anonymous C October 15, 2014 at 4:33 am
Thanks for the new post.
I really can’t get rid of the negative thinking, because I pointed a wrong way for the driver that made us in a long traffic jam as we went home with dying father in a hot day. How hot in a car, my father’s face seemed like a fish without living water…I always think I make father very very painful in his last time, I can’t forgive my wrong decision, no one will forgive me.
Sorry I shouldn’t write this terrible comment with poor English(I’m from other country). I should consult a local therapist. Edit or del it as needed…
Litsa October 15, 2014 at 8:24 am
Anonymous, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. Guilt is one of the hardest emotions to cope with in grief. When we have regrets we have a tendency to relive them over and over and over again. I know this is easier said than done, but it is important to remember the lifetime of wonderful memories that you have with your father, and not let one mistake overshadow all of the good things you did over many years.
It is also important to remember that none of us can predict the future. All of us have made decisions based on information that we had at the time. We make the best decisions based on what we know. Sometimes later, with more information, we regret the decision we made. It is important to remember the intention behind our decision and that we made the best decision with the information we had.
We have a couple other posts on guilt and regret that you may find helpful:
LISA ROSENBAUM JONES October 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm
lost my mom 5/5/2014
Owen R Cormier October 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm
lost my wife 2/2/2014
Michelle. Dumond October 14, 2014 at 11:55 am
I feel a lot of the things that you have suggested.
Beth Marshall October 14, 2014 at 10:12 am
This is so good. Thank you, Eleanor. Love the graphics, too. You two are amazing.