Grief Metaphors, Analogies, and Similes

Last month we asked our readers to share their grief metaphors, analogies, and similes. I had made the observation that grief sometimes seems like a chronic condition that you live with forever, and I wondered what other metaphors our readers use to describe grief.

We received quite a few responses in the comments section of the article, Grief is Like…, and over 100 responses on Facebook. We’ve summarized a handful of the submissions below and we encourage you to visit the original posts to read the entries in their entirety.

Grief is like…

Grief is like a catastrophic physical injury ~ Louise

Grief is like riding a roller coaster that never stops without a seatbelt. ~ Kris

Grief is like getting up every day to a job you hate and which you feel completely unskilled for. ~ Louise

Grief is like trying to comprehend what is beyond comprehension. ~Amy

Grief is like a shadow. ~Ann

Grief is like waiting for a bomb to go off. ~ Joni

Grief is like a mixture of recreating an identity and a bittersweet processing of memory. ~Peter

Grief is like trying to sort through the rubble of what’s left of your life after the earthquake of loss has hit. ~ Cathy Lee

Grief is like walking through hip-high mud. ~ Loretta

Grief is like being a walking dead zombie. ~Jackie

Grief is like crazy weather. Sometimes showers and storms pop up when you least expect them. ~LauraJay

Grief is like walking in the dark and feeling your way as you slowly go. ~ Deb

Grief is like a guilty addiction, reminding you of a time when your life was right. ~ Geri

Grief is like a boomerang, it keeps coming back and wounding you anew. ~Susan

Grief is like an image which recalls a bad acid trip. ~ Phyllis

Grief is like being extremely homesick but knowing your home no longer exists. ~ Leesa

Grief is like a constant pain that never goes away and is worsened by “triggers”. ~ Vicki

Grief is like being burned alive. ~ Deborah

Grief is like a landmine. ~ Kevin

Grief is like waking up to a hundred pound monkey on your back. ~ April

Grief is like being in a constant nightmare. ~Kathleen

Grief is like a soaking wet wool blanket over your whole body. ~ Alice

Grief is like having an incurable affliction. ~ Allen

Grief is like being in the middle of a twister that wreaks havoc all around you. ~ Leslie

Grief is like losing a part of yourself. ~ Peter

Grief is like being continuously hit by a tsunami. ~ Teklya

Grief is like being in a chronic state of anxiety. – Frankie

Grief is like being the pinball in a game you never chose to play. ~ Miss Mac

Grief is like sitting on the sidelines. ~ Michelle

Grief is like your insides being munched away by parasites and wanting to vomit but you can’t because you’re empty. ~Kay

Grief is like a bottomless pit. ~ Tara

Grief is like a concussion that lasts for months. ~ Lillian

Grief is like a wound. Over time it heals but it leaves a scar. ~ Theresa

Grief is like waking up every day as a stranger in a foreign land. ~ Elizabeth

* Note: If we included your grief metaphor and you would like to be credited differently, please email [email protected]

Do any of these metaphors resonate with you? If not, share your metaphor in the comments section below. 

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June 20, 2017

24 responses on "Grief Metaphors, Analogies, and Similes"

  1. Grief is being alone , stranded on a deserted island and never ever being able to fit back into normal again.

  2. Grief is like big tattoos across your forehead, your arms, and your back that say: ” Damaged by Death.” And you are tired of seeing them and wondering if those tattoos will ever fade away.

  3. Grief is different for everyone! For me its living everyday without seeing my husband smiling at me and making me feel loved beyond words. Grief for me is living with a broken heart. Grief is going to bed and aching for the person you lost. Grief is a constant reminder of what you once had and now have to learn to live without.

  4. Grief is like a cape made of lead. You slowly get used to the weight but you are unable to take it off. It’s hard to breathe or to laugh. Grief is like losing an arm. You learn to function without it but you are forever changed. I am the mother of a young teen boy who has been a “missing child”, a cold case, for almost 22 years. This month is his birthday. There is no answer, no grave to visit. Grief is a mountain without a peak, just a steep rocky trail that goes on and on. The perpetual climb makes you strong.

  5. Grief is like when someone you love dies….. and he dies again every morning when you wake up… and it has been 2 and a half years of waking up this way already.b

  6. Grief is like the puzzle pieces of your life have been tossed and as you put it back together some have changed some are missing some just don’t seem to fit.

  7. Grieve is like a 10.000 piece puzzle with missing pieces, wrong pieces. And it never get,s completed.

  8. Grief is like insanity…an overwhelming sadness crushing me, driving me to brink of madness.
    Grief is like rage, its injustice makes my soul howl from the depths within me.
    Grief is like love with nowhere to go.

  9. Grief is the nightmare where you are trying to run away but you cannot move.

  10. I am respectfully asking permission to use some

  11. Grief is like trying to climb Everest
    Without the use of your limbs.

    Grief is like a song without notes,
    A world without colour.

    Grief is like wrestling with a monster
    When you’re stuck in the mud.

    Grief is like a mirror reflecting
    On dust.

  12. Grief is like a tsunami . One minute things are calm and then it crashes over you breaking your heart and soul.

  13. Grief is like waves upon the beach carrying grains of sand back to the water.

  14. Grief is like living in a horrifying parallel universe that nobody else can see.

  15. Grief is like living on shifting sand.

  16. Grief is like waking from a dream and realizing that the nightmare hasn’t ended

  17. Grief is like having a knife stuck in your chest but no one can see it.

  18. . Grief is like constantly choking and not being to take in a deep breath.

  19. GRIEF IS JUST EXISTING…NOT LIVING

  20. Grief is like always in a dark lonely bottomless pit

  21. Grief is like being in a prison for the rest of your life. You never get away from it or escape it.

  22. Grief is breathing although life ended.

  23. Grief is like waking up in a parallel universe…and being unable to find your way back.

  24. Grief is like a heavy fog where you are not sure where you are stepping. Your mind is foggy and not always making sense.

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