How to Cope When It Seems Like Everyone Wants to Forget

Coping with Grief / Coping with Grief : Eleanor Haley

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I recently read a quote from grief researcher and theorist Kenneth Doka:

"All grief becomes disenfranchised over time."

I actually read this off a PowerPoint slide that I randomly stumbled upon online, so I don't have much context, but I think I understand his meaning.

In an unrelated interview with Victor Yalom, Doka explains disenfranchised grief:

"Disenfranchised grief refers to losses that people have that aren’t always acknowledged or validated or recognized by others."

Unfortunately, the old ways of thinking about grief cause many people to believe it should only last for a finite amount of time. And that eventually people need to 'let go' or 'move on'. (Note: Neither of these things is true.) 

It's as if, over time, the lens through which the grieving person is viewed changes. All of a sudden, behaviors that were seen as expected immediately following the loss (like emotional expression, talking about their loved one, etc.) are considered pathological. Their time to mourn has run out and they are no longer seen as deserving of the patience, understanding, and sympathy often shown to those in acute grief.

This brings me to the topic of the day.

A little while back, a reader asked us to write about coping with the feeling that everyone wants to forget and wants you to forget about your loved one. I'm paragraphing a little here. 

Based on what we've established about society's misperceptions about grief, I think many people can relate to her question in one way or another. Doka explains the origins of these misperceptions and contrasts them to the realities of grief in the interview referenced above:

"We used to look at the function of grief as kind of allowing a process of detachment and a restoration of life in the absence of that person. Now we no longer really use that old sort of Freudian model. We really emphasize that people really don’t detach. They have a changed and continued bond with the person. It’s the process of adjusting to in many ways what’s going to be a new relationship and a different relationship rather than simply the abolition or detachment from a relationship."

So, we continue our bond and we try to figure out how to maintain a relationship with the person who has died despite their physical absence. If you've been wondering whether it's normal to want to do these things, now you know it totally is!

However, if you want to read more about how very normal it is to continue your bond with your deceased loved one(s) you can do that here and here and here. For our purposes, we're going to move right onto addressing the question of how to cope when it seems like everyone wants to forget about your loved one.

1. Normalize Ongoing Grief for Other People

Could it be that it only seems as though everyone is forgetting? It may be that the people in your life are discouraged from bringing up their grief or your loved one because they worry about how it will be perceived and received.

Though we know that it’s common for people to maintain an ongoing and enduring bond with loved ones who have died, for all the reasons discussed above, many people choose to keep their bond private rather than test the understanding of their friends and family.

It’s entirely possible that other people don’t want to forget, they just feel awkward bringing it up. So, now that you recognize this, I’m going to suggest that you bring up your loved one. Share a memory, a ritual, a way that you continue your bond. Share these things like they are normal because they are.  Sometimes a person just needs to know that they aren’t the only one, that they aren’t going crazy, and that you are a safe person to talk to about how they're feeling.

If the person responds negatively... Now, the person may make it clear that they don't want to talk about your loved one. This may be true for a number of reasons, but quite often people avoid talking about deceased loved ones because they don’t want to trigger painful emotions.

If this is the case, you may be met with further avoidance like walking away, shutting down, changing the subject, dismissing your words, etc. This can be frustrating because it feels like your loved one is being dismissed or forgotten, but remember, in these instances, the avoidance comes from a place of intense love, grief, and fear of pain.

2. Ignore the Haters

As noted above, some people just don’t get it. They don’t get grief, they don’t get what it means to love someone who has died, and/or they don’t relate to how you choose to cope with your loss(es).

Take comfort in the knowledge that maintaining a continued bond with your loved one is totally normal. You are justified in honoring and remembering this person for as long as you like and as openly as you like. If someone can’t understand this, educate them or keep it moving.

3. Expand Your Connections

If you’re really craving someone to talk to about your loved one but it seems like your immediate support system has totally shut down, consider reaching out to a broader audience. How about an old friend, coworker, sibling, or other connection to your loved one? Sometimes people a little further removed will find it easier to talk about the person who died and, bonus, they often have stories about your loved one you've never heard.

4. Help Someone Else Get to Know the Person

Personally, the most meaningful and impactful way that I connect with my mother’s memory is by sharing it with my daughters who never had the chance to meet her. It’s commonplace for me to speak about my mother and, in this way, she continues to be a part of our family and a part of my daughter's lives.

If the people in your life aren't open to talking, then share your loved one with someone new. Maybe a friend or a partner who never knew them. Maybe your kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews. Maybe a fellow support group member or grief friend. Or heck, maybe even your weekly grocery teller.

5. Continue Their Traditions:

Sometimes it can help to create a space for a person to be remembered. An obvious example of this would be a yearly memorial event. However, there are little day-to-day ways to do this as well. One such way is to integrate their traditions into your life. As we’ve pointed out in past posts, traditions can be big (i.e., planning the Thanksgiving feast) or they can be small (i.e., singing a certain song). By continuing these traditions, you create space for other people to remember your loved one and for new people to get to know a little bit about them.

How do you keep your loved one's memory alive? Share below.

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34 Comments on "How to Cope When It Seems Like Everyone Wants to Forget"

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  1. Linda Davis  February 18, 2020 at 6:17 pm Reply

    I, too, talk to process things! The death of my son, was the most surreal thing I had ever experienced. I had lost my grandfather at 92 yrs., with very little understanding of death, even though I was an adult. Next, my Dad, was hit by a car. So bad, it was a closed casket. This created denial, that lasted for years. Next, was my Mom, who died of cancer. These were all devastating, but, still never prepared me for losing a child. He was 37. Not everyone wanted to talk about it, like I did! I internalized a lot, at first! I talked to myself, a lot, and I wrote and wrote and wrote! It was like talking to him. I had to use his name a lot. Year after year, writing pieces to put in the paper, and always writing to him directly, daily. After four years or so, I thought I had accepted that he was gone forever. Not so! I understand that he is gone, but, accepting is just a word. Keeping his memory alive, has been by just using his name. The computer makes that easy. A picture, a post, a memory, all a click away! His memory will always live on in my heart, but, there is something special about bringing up a picture and saying, I love and miss you, so much. He’s been gone for 19 years now, and the very thought of him, makes me smile, even though tears always slide down my face at the same time. They know my heart still aches for him! A beautiful photo hangs on my wall, where I can touch his face and say, good morning and good night, or talk to him at anytime of day! <3

  2. Corinne  February 18, 2020 at 5:46 pm Reply

    My heart breaks for each of you in your losses, as I told one fellow who’s son had died tragically six years ago , you don’t get over this – you get THROUGH it. He’ll always be your son, you’ll always miss him. The dad is planning to tell of his journey to our small community this summer. I encouraged him in that telling him he has no idea who else out there is in DESPERATE need for the same reason. Our dad died 18 years ago and we still talk of him as though he was just around the corner. A close friend from high school working overseas died unexpectedly and under rather suspicious circumstances last fall, not long after he surprised me with an unexpected visit. His sister and I still connect and we both understand when I say I hope someone calls someday to say ,” he was deep under cover and that cover was blown so we had to do this! But he’s okay and when it’s safe you’ll see for yourself!” That’s unlikely to happen. I also am dealing with brain cancer and a relationship I had to break off but I am blessed with four very understanding friends, two of whom also lost spouses. We share the great memories while I grief that I wasn’t able to build memories and although he is only half a mile away physically, emotionally he’d might as well be on Mars. My comfort comes from k knowing Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Saviour and the moment I’m dead here I’ll be forever with Him and that will more than make up for all the tears I’ve shed here. Yes, grieve as long as you need to, it will end naturally as the emotions work their way out of your system. Talk about your loved one whenever you feel like it. Most commonly people are afraid to talk about the deceased because it reminds them THEY will die,too one day and that freaks them out! As I deal with this cancer there are often times I just wish I could hug my dad and one day, maybe soon , maybe not for a longtime , I will! I cry when I cry and I know who I can share with that will understand versus smother or get uncomfortable. I know a widow who has the opposite problem; her ‘pillar of the community’in public husband, was a monster in private to her and their kids and no one knows but me. So, it’s hard for her when people wondered why she didn’t seem upset. One has to be particularly careful when deciding who to talk with when the abuse was emotional as those kinds are frighteningly good at hiding it outside the family; I heard for myself when I finally said something to a ‘friend’ about how I was being treated by my husband,” oh you can’t divorce him for THAT! it’s not that bad”. My internal response was,”you just WATCH me!” For me deep grief = deep love- nothing wrong with that.

  3. Alysoun Mahoney  May 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm Reply

    My healthy, active husband Greg Reiter died abruptly at age 52 in 2015, at the peak of his career. The country property we had purchased and renovated as our dream home in 2012 became a nightmare when his own car inexplicably rolled over him and crushed him to death. Within 17 months of Greg’s death, I sold the car and the property, and used the proceeds to establish a memorial fund in his name, through which I continue to support the animal rights causes we had supported together during his life. This fund is a way for me to continue keeping Greg’s legacy and memory alive with friends who otherwise avoid speaking his name, and also with new people I meet. I have been seeking to connect with others doing similar work — but the closest I’ve found so far are people who have established memorial funds in the name of a parent or a child who died; and who have established their memorial fund to fight the cause of the person’s death, as opposed to something they cared about during life. I would love to connect with others doing work similar to mine!

  4. kristi  April 2, 2019 at 10:01 am Reply

    Hi. Can you write an article about a sibling who has died and died fast without telling anyone she had cancer? I am really struggling with all sorta of mixed emotions after a year, and I have no way to explain how I feel to family members, friends, co- workers who ask, etc without making my sister sound like a jerk or a nut, which I struggle not to feel as well at times. She is my sister though and only I or my family can feel that out loud , no one else has any right! She knew for 7 months, we were far away from each other but writing- had flown out there, but nothing was said until she couldn’t not die- she did no treatment. She had 6 young kids, and we were not allowed to tell them or talk about it with them- and it was horrible and surreal. She died in less then 3 months after she finally told us, but at that point she couldn’t really say goodbye- or wouldn’t- and it was a real struggle to pretend, and I feel everything that has followed has not allowed me to get any closure. Its a complicated situation, so no one knows what to say- my family wants to move on without any negative feelings, memories. My dad flat out refuses to. It feels like the pretending it did when she was dying. I am a talker to process things, a discusser, and I feel I am told to shut up which hurts. I am very angry and at a loss- yes, I feel sad, lonely, depressed, scared, lost, confused, etc etc but I am mostly angry at her, her husband, and God and I don’t know how this was ok. I can’t accept it. It didn’t have to happen. And when I try to process it, make a timeline, think it all the way through in a effort to explain it- all I feel it comes down to is she didn’t love us or care, she left us. I want to see that she just couldn’t handle it, and so she didn’t. I want to forgive her. I want to be Happy and not angry with her. How do you do that though if everyone ignores the details, facts of the horribleness, and the denial started before she even died!? I mean, I knew this was going to happen bc I knew my sister, but I feel I can’t accept this until I am allowed to say what really happened without coloring it with tinted glasses. How do you do that without speaking badly of the dead and hurting anyone? People used to care, even though I knew they couldnt understand- and I told them bc I wanted a reaction, sympathy, or I didnt bc I knew how it’d sound and I didnt want to see their reaction. I don’t know. No one cares now, and I don’t think they ever did- they wanted drama, perverse excitment. My “real” friends have abandoned me. I understand i seem to be in a constant state of negativity but I don’t feel I should hide thatso they are more comfortable. I am a pleaser but I have decided that is going too far, and my feelings of grief have made me determined to be real to myself, not lie for others. Am I selfish? Why is this about me using them when I just wanted support, an ear? I always become angry when talking about it bc I think my sister has no right to deny us a chance to be close, tell each other the truth. Now I cant, she didn’t want to, and I feel.she didn’t know me, understand me, love me. How can I forgive her or work towards that when everything is shadowed by her behavior, and people refuse to listen or outright change the facts?

    • Marlene  December 9, 2019 at 8:25 am Reply

      Kristi: of course I have no sure answer …but just a thought. There could be a bucket of justified reasons for your sisters decision…and maybe none are negative towards the family ? My thought was ….maybe she wanted to spare everyone the added work in their busy lives to help her ? Didn’t want to be a burden ? Maybe she was so devastated she just wasn’t up to adding the , somewhat depressing , reminders around her as people chimed in ? Another heavy burden is when friends/family push their views of what you should do….and you don’t have the energy to defend it ? I personally am living the 8 months after my husbands death last April…after two horrible years of surgeries & treatments . I tried to give him what he wanted and needed….and it seemed to include not talking about anything referring to dying. Now I am haunted by all the discussions we didn’t have, all the answers I no longer have access to, and questions why I didn’t push it ? Actually, I do know why I didn’t push it….I wanted to make his days as pleasant as possible by his definition . For that reason I don’t feel guilty for my decision….but…I am drowning in sadness and unbearable loneliness. Maybe it would help you if you could imagine she believed she was doing what was best .

    • Trinity  September 14, 2021 at 3:46 pm Reply

      Kristi, I can’t recall if it was on here or just on the internet but search death after a secret. I found that article very helpful when a friend passed away without disclosing a terminal illness. It definitely complicates the grief so I am thinking of you.

  5. melinda f kline  March 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm Reply

    My husband died from a massive heart attack june 11 2018 in our home. Dec we would of been married 25 years.My dogs were with him. The one had to be put down.Other one is still haveing a rough time. Rusty had something happen to him. He was such a mommies baby. But he loved his daddy.I had a rescue for 20 years .Closed it .And sold home. Everything is gone now. I could off stayed at home. But i could still see him laying on floor dead. Everyone went their way .And thats fine. I ask god to help me to forgive some people.Will not drag it around. Cant believe what they wanted .Are how they talked. I miss my husband .animals ,home. Its just how i feel. I keep busy. But the pain is terrible. Ill go do something and the past cuts at my heart. I had lost a daughter many years ago. Buried her on a mothers day. I thought that was a heart break. I am trying so hard to move forward. People can say what they want. But they dont walk in my shoes. So they really dont understand this pain. I keep thinking you dont really understand . I wake up everyday hopeing for a good day. And yes many times i cry out to god .That i do not understand. I dont think you ever forget.How can you. How can you ever forget all those memories.The most is holding his strong hand.And his beautiful smile.Andyes i miss my animals. I was a wife ,and animal mom. And a home we loved. And now its all gone. So i tell people no you dont understand. I have a special friend .And the best mother in law in the world. That im thank ful for. They both went throw it. Others i know didnt. The pain will never go away. The memories will always be in my heart. Sometimes it feels like a dream. I hope some day the hurt will calm down. When you love someone are something. And its a real love. You just cant say well its time to move on. They were a part off us. And thats why are pain hurts so bad. Cause we no longer can touch them. We can only remember what was once . And no longer with us now. I beat myself up. Saying i got to get throw this. But some days i tell myself its okay to cry. To god i ask him please give me something to smile about. I need something to fill my life up. My family was my world. I was happy to wife and a pet mom. I keep pushing forward. But doesnt mean my heart is broken.

    • Sally Garcia  April 6, 2019 at 9:45 pm Reply

      My bf has been gone now for 2 months and 6 days. It seems like it gets harder and harder everyday that passes by. My house is not the same. I feel very lonely even though my 2 children live with me. It seems like every minute of the day im thinking about my bf. Family is not really there for me and i had one relative tell me “to get over it”. I have 1 friend thats been in my life over 26 years there for me. She has serious health issues and I dont want her to hear how much I miss my bf over and over again. Sometimes honestly i feel like i want to leave this world because the pain I feel is so unbearable. I don’t find anymore joy in this world without the love of my life gone. Life is just not the same anymore and i wonder if im going to feel like this forever. I know most people lost someone very dear to them and i wonder to myself how can /could they move on? I know its only been 2 months and 6 days but it hurts more everyday. I am a strong woman, i know i am. Thats what my bf use to tell me. I know i need some counseling and go to meetings where i can relate to someone. My family is just to busy and it seems like no one understands. He was my bf, my bestfriend which i never had a boyfriend as a best friend. He was my companion, my soulmate, my everything. I miss how we would do things on our days off. We would have such a good time with eachother. Now I’m just a loner.

  6. sharie nereu  March 13, 2019 at 8:11 pm Reply

    I lost my 31 year old daughter 18 months ago as she battled metastatic breast cancer. She was so brave and courageous and had worked serving her kids at school up until 1 month before she died. She was a school counselor at a local high school. In her memory, we created a scholarship fund at the school where she was working and we provide awards to the financially worthy students, women athletes , first person in family to attend college and a 3.0 student. All of the criteria was what my daughter worked for during her short career. This is her legacy.
    As a way to incorporate and keep her memory around me each day I took the items from her office and have displayed them in my own office so I can see them. Some of items include art, plants, mementos of places she traveled, diffuser with favorite oil scents and her deck of positive quotes and affirmation cards. – all of her precious office decorations surrounding me.

    • Sarah Nash  March 25, 2023 at 2:21 pm Reply

      We also list our 35 year old daughter to metastatic breast cancer in December of 2022. We miss her terribly but we’re so fortunate to have her at home for the last 11 months of her life. Our Rachel was also a teacher, in Baltimore city and so many if her students and colleagues have reached out to us. Few really understand what we are going through. I must add that we list her younger brother in 2020, so we are now childless.

  7. Jennifer  February 14, 2019 at 10:40 am Reply

    I honestly believe, unless people like us have gone through painstaking loss, the rest simply cannot comprehend how we feel or what we are going through. Therefore they project their “wishes” for us and how we should feel… yet it doesn’t dawn on them it usually more hurtful than helpful.

    We had ‘our dreams’ … when he turned 60 he was going to sell his business, retire and together we were going to New Orleans, our favorite city where we would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, he passed away a month after his 60th birthday.

    I’ve heard all the same lines you all have. I’m still young, time to move on, I’m alive and he isn’t so I need to start living… to me they all sound like the teacher in a Charlie Brown TV show.

    Never once did ‘our dream’ have Patrick living in an Urn… but nevertheless, I now live in New Orleans. I’ve sold the house, the cars, everything I own and followed our dream. I have purchased a memorial bench for him in the park and even adopted a mounted police horse in his honor. While somewhat tainted dream now, my life is as it should be… in my favorite city with ‘my guy’ alone. The spirit of NOLA celebrates life and death equally and we as a couple are at peace.

    For those who think I should “move-on”… well I have with my guy, forever remembering the best of times and I am done trying to explain it, but my life is as it should be. “laissez les bon temps rouler!”

    • Debra Buscombe  February 14, 2019 at 11:32 am Reply

      Dear Jennifer,
      Your response has given me hope. I have been walking around the edge of the bomb crater that was once my heart, for the last 7 months with no idea of how I am going to repair the damage. It was lonely at the start. and as time moves on it becomes more lonely. I have a wonderful family, but whilst my grief has been getting heavier and pulling me further toward the ground, all those who stood with me at the start are now standing straighter, and the gap between us is growing. my husband was 61 and died very suddenly . Your words help me to realise that maybe I don’t have to stay here desperately clinging on to what was, but, that I can move on from here and take Rob with me, all be it in a different way.
      Debbie UK

    • Aenor  February 15, 2019 at 11:56 am Reply

      I so admire that you did this. We moved to North Carolina from our beloved Virginia, thinking we’d enjoy our retired lives, with new friends and new activities, away from a too-big house and too-frenetic (and expensive) life style in the DC suburbs. Instead, he developed esophogeal cancer six months after we moved and died 18 months later. That was a year ago. I want to move away from here but can’t think of any place that will work. We didn’t have kids, so that route isn’t possible. I think of going back to Virginia, but fear I’ll just be trying to recreate something that no longer exists. And family is spread all over, no one in a place I want to live. So I am just drifting here, trying to make a home where there simply no longer is one, here or anywhere.

    • GaryB  February 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm Reply

      Similar where my wife and I had our city in Buffalo and retired and bought our home. Well it was once a home and now its just a house as she passed from lung/brain cancer only 2 months after diagnosis- We got about 2 good months retired and in a beautiful home “for life”. That was it after both working almost 40 years each-me 64 and her 62. We were married 37 years-in love for 44. What I wonder of if you have same problems with me as everywhere I go here and everything I do-all I do is miss that she is missing all of it. I know you are where you wanted to be and kudos on the follow through. I too have my wifes ashes and will keep them until I go into our companion urn. But it is so hard- the beautiful views-shes not seeing- our beautiful home-shes not living in- all we strived and worked so hard for -gone- me all alone and a home now just a house. I find it impossible to “live” life and do anything without wishing and missing her so much. Its just not fair being left alone. To me any survivor would gladly give up and exchange places because living without her is so much paid. No matter how I try and happy face things from time to time just to get by.

    • Trinity  September 14, 2021 at 3:49 pm Reply

      100% yes!!! Thanks for this comment! 🙂

  8. Chris Meyer  February 14, 2019 at 5:47 am Reply

    I lost my darling boyfriend and mate in September of 2016 after a brief and intensely painful battle with Stage 4 Melanoma. He had many routines that he did annually around growing food, foraging, and fishing. Much of what we ate in the spring was a result of the things he did, and it was delightful on many levels. I am beginning to incorporate some of the things he did into my spring routine. I am going to start some basil seeds in March. Grow sprouts, collect violet and redbud flowers for salads…I realize that these secondary losses can actually be recouped and used to celebrate this kind and creative man. Last year, I grew butternut squash from seeds that he had collected, and I kept those seeds as he would have. It is a way to carry something of him/us forward.

    It also helps my confidence, because I still engage in less helpful behaviors, like that 4th glass of wine and sad music that I know will lead to weeping and sometimes wailing loudly. I know that I will feel terrible in the morning, and I do it anyway because I can’t bring him back, but I can bring the raw feeling of losing him back. Remembering him though adopting his gardening traditions is healthier and makes me feel less sad.

  9. Brian C.  February 4, 2019 at 10:52 pm Reply

    Over the years many people I have known, grown up with, befriended etc. have died and there is usually a short period of grief then “back to normal”. I used to think that was the way it works- until Mom died. This month, February 21st, will mark 2 years since she passed and the grief is far from being done. Unless you experience a deep grief like this you don’t truly understand. This is something you adapt to, get used to but it does not completely go away. It gets more manageable. It seems that the last few weeks going into this month, the grief has intensified, from Mom’s birthday on January 24th to the anticipating the 2-year mark (I don’t like to call it “anniversary”…). Starting the 7th of this month I am sure I will be recalling the events that led to her eventual passing. At this point it looks like this is going to be a looooong month…

  10. Joan Dublin Ireland  February 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm Reply

    I lost my 95 year old Mother very suddenly on 15th January 2018. I was her full time carer for eight years. My Brother took early retirement to help me look after her. It is just me and my brother at home now as neither of us married. I have a Sister who is married but her husband has being ill for many years and was lucky to get a heart transplant after only 5 months on the waiting list. Unfortunately he had a lot of complications after the surgery and will be in the hospital for some time. Nobody ever talks about her including my nieces and nephews. At Christmas at dinner her name was never mentioned. It is as if she was never here. I feel so hurt and miss her so much,as we were so close and went everywhere together when she was well.Our doctor said at her funeral that I looked after her till the very end ,but i feel guilty as sometimes i was a bit cranky with her as iwas in a lot of pain as i suffer from chronic daily migraines and i also needed a knee replacement which I had last September.I was hoping that I would die during the operation ,so I could be with my Mother and the rest of my family in heaven.I prayer to her every night to send me a sign that she is happy and has not forgotten me. If i mention her name I am told to get counselling. We are a very small family. We have a 92 year old family friend in Australia and I call her every week as she is the only person i can talk with and she understands how i feel. My brother is very good to me and looked after me so well after my surgery ,but nobody can take the place of your Mother. I dont go to bed till 5am as I find nighttime the most difficult to cope with,as I cant stop thinking about her .Maybe one day with The Lord’s help I will get peace of mind.

    • GaryB  February 6, 2019 at 8:04 pm Reply

      Hi Joan:
      I hear you on the frustration that nobody is mentioning her. I am having a tough time though its still fresh as my wife of 37 years passed from horrible robbing stage 4 lung spreading to brain cancer. I find it offensive but I cant say anything as all her family has not even called me now going on 6 months. But even when I see people including my own daughters at the holidays-my poor wife was not mentioned and she loved/lived for the holidays! They have wonderful memories and not one mention of them. I did not feel it was my place and was hoping to hear more but it never came. Now as we near Valentines day its our anniversary and then the 37 year running clock-my greatest accomplishment as I would tell her-ENDS for good! I have been really hit hard already so the day should be most brutal. But as for people not mentioning her-my wife-their mother or even when my son had lunch with in laws recently even he said the mention of her seemed to be uncomfortable to many. I dont get it and I never will and I am only going on 6 months or whet will be endless grief. But as you the silence about my loved one is deafening and hurtful.

  11. Chantel Lalonde  February 3, 2019 at 6:19 am Reply

    Losing my mom was the most devastating thing I have ever been through. Not even 7 short weeks after she left I found out my dad was on a dating website! Double devastation! I no longer have a relationship with my dad so I lost both parents within 7 weeks. I feel completely abandoned and miss my beautiful mom every day and still dream of her every night and wake up crying when I realize I’m only dreaming she’s here with me. July 3 2019 will be three years that I lost my best friend… my amazing mom! My kids have also lost both grandparents whom they were extremely close to. My dad has never even tried to maintain a relationship with his own grandkids! My heart still hurts daily. I don’t think it will ever stop!

  12. carolyn akers  February 1, 2019 at 3:28 am Reply

    I lost both my parents within 6 weeks of each other 2 years ago
    I only began grieving their lost last year and had a deep depression my friend whom I spoke to about things died suddenly impacting my grief
    I to lost a lot job friends and a from work husband and family members all distanced themselves
    I’m in a ok place now my life has changed forever
    Keep the memories they live through us I will not quicken my grief for no one I have found peace and acceptance now.
    But I will continue to grieve when I need to

  13. Vicki513  January 31, 2019 at 4:22 pm Reply

    I met with “avoidance” like that when I wanted to show the FBI Agent a photo of Eric, and he said he didn’t want to see it, then turned around and deliberately walked away.
    What the hell could it have brought up. We never found any remains to math the DNA samples we gave to authorities. I don’t think anything would have been set off. There was nothing TO set off.
    He just didn’t want any of the victims of September 11 to be human except the ones they could carry on about in terms of heroism.

  14. Jan  January 31, 2019 at 10:10 am Reply

    It was 5 years Jan 23 my mom died ( feels like yesterday). Will be 1 yr Feb 12 my dad died. 1 yr May 19 my nephew died. I can’t imagine life ever being “normal” again. My sister and I talk about mom all the time. But when i try to talk about her to others in the family, they turn off. No one even mentions any of my loved ones. On Jan 23, my mom’s best friend called me and I was so happy! Not one relative called. It’s not that people “forget” – they just don’t care. Life goes on. The best thing you can do is find someone who is going thru a similar loss. I met a lovely women thru my dad’s nursing home (her mom died a short time before my dad). We talk a lot about our experiences. I think it is comforting to both of us. At Christmas, she gave me a beautiful ornament that looks like angel wings. She said to remind me of my dad, her and me. One of the things I remember from one of the first “64 list” articles I read on this site was “your address book will change.” How true – the people you THINK will be there for you are not, those you never expected to be there are.

  15. Sally Carr  January 31, 2019 at 3:58 am Reply

    As ever your article resonates with me! My circumstances are not “conventional” and I don’t have much of a network to share my memories with but my bond with my soulmate grows a little more each day. 138 weeks after his death I love him more than ever and in a strange way his death has helped me recreate bonds with those that I lost many years ago…my mum and dad, my baby daughter….I now light a candle every Friday evening (the time he died) , let the light shine on my little collection of photos and just let my love and gratefulness fill my mind.
    It will take time and education for grief to be truly recognised as one part of life’s whole….for many societies death is still a taboo subject and people do not wish to be reminded of their own mortality…hence the desire to encourage grievers to “move on “. Sites like yours are invaluable and I thank you for caring.

  16. PAM  January 30, 2019 at 11:55 pm Reply

    This was a very timely article for me. Thank you.

  17. Mary  January 30, 2019 at 9:09 pm Reply

    Great article. My husband died 11 months ago. 95% of my friends have disappeared. One friend who I have known for over 40 years told me that he did not want to me to mention my husband’s name, he did not want to see me cry or have to deal with my emotions. I have been invited into their home several times and respected his request. It as if life is normal and nothing has changed. I realize that the anxiety that I have over this relationship is not healthy. How does one end a 40 year friendship?

  18. Louise McOrmond-Plummer  January 30, 2019 at 8:34 pm Reply

    What a great article. Two years into my grief journey after my beautiful hubby, Ken, died, I’m just at the stage now of feeling some embarrassment because I still grieve and want to talk about him. So this article was a very timely reminder that I’m okay 🙂

    I have recently had the best time – so therapeutic – making up little picture books about my Ken for my grandkids. I first discovered the website Lovebook Online as a Facebook ad, and bawled myself silly because it looked as if you could only make these books for a living person. Then I discovered you could tweak the text and illustrations to say whatever you like and there was no holding me back. I had so much fun unearthing lovely, funny memories and illustrating them with an adorable little stick-figure that looks ridiculously like my man. The result is a beautifully bound book titled “A Hero Named Poppy Ken” that is an overview of Ken’s life and character, a hopefully not too heavy-handed look at his cancer and death, and the knowledge that he will be with us for always. I truly feel like Ken is, in a sense, alive in that book, for his grandchildren to know, especially those who were very young or were born after he died. I recommend this 🙂

  19. Emily Hefner  January 30, 2019 at 7:06 pm Reply

    I really enjoyed this article and found it to be very helpful. My daughter died 2 short months ago, and I can’t figure out how to let her go. We do, however, speak of her several times a day to each other, our grandson, and other family members who are very willing to listen. She was a big part of everyone’s life. We are trying to decide how to memoria0her but as of now have no solution. Just too early to even believe she’s really gone.

    • Louise McOrmond-Plummer  January 30, 2019 at 8:19 pm Reply

      Hi Emily, I think it’s perfectly okay that you haven’t figured out how to let go of your daughter, and I don’t think you have to do so. You can have a relationship with her that will last into eternity. Memorialising is a beautiful way to preserve what we can of our loved ones; I have planted a tree for my husband, got tattoos, had his ashes made into a ring and have had little picture books made up about him for our grandkids.

      I’m so sorry for your loss xxoo

  20. Anne  January 30, 2019 at 7:04 pm Reply

    I love this post. Thank you! My husband died August 2017. Seventeen months – same way we number baby’s ages . . .
    I’ve had a LOT of wonderful support from family and friends. And my kids and I have been closer than we’ve ever been. But (isn’t there always a ‘but’?) sometimes I restrict myself because I don’t want to bring up how I’m feeling when the close friends, family members, and the kids seem to be ‘doing okay’. I have to keep reminding myself that, to outsiders, I appear to be doing ‘okay’, also. Not that I’m NOT okay, but you know what I mean, right?
    I hesitate to further burden the ones who’ve carried so much of my burden so far. None of my immediate support system has shut down, but I think it may be time to look at #3 a bit more.
    Thank you for all you do! You’ve been a wonderful resource!

    •  July 6, 2020 at 3:12 am Reply

      My husband died at home (hospice) on January 13th 2020 from Stage 4 lung cancer Adecarcinoma which had spread to his liver and his brain. His cancer was so rapid. He only got to have 1 radiation treatment. As I was bringing him to his 2nd radiation treatment his left eye was like rolling in the back of his head. As I got him to his radiation treatment appointment I explained to the lady could the Dr please see Carlton before his treatment because something was wrong with him. The radiation Dr took one look at him and said “Either he is having a stroke right now, or he is dying” He had to go to the ER ASAP!
      They did another scan which showed his cancer had spread alot more in his lungs,liver, and brain. And that he was MUCH too sick for radiation or chemo. My husband looked up at the DR and said “Look Doc, don’t sugarcoat this. How much time do I have left?” The ER Dr said maybe 30 days. Hospice would be your only option. Carlton told the dr he wanted to be comfortable at home. This was January 6th Monday. He was admitted to the Baptist Hospital and the next morning his oncologist was so sweet and talked about hospice at home with me and my husband. He was in the hospital and was d/c Thursday evening. Hospice nurse and aid came out to our house. The Hospice nurses were so kind n compassionate to both my husband and I. As each day came and went Carlton’s cancer completely took over. I slept very little so I could make sure he had his breathing treatments every 3 hours, and make sure his oxygen was on correctly. See, he wasn’t used to having oxygen before he was diagnosed with his cancer on December 22nd 2019. My dear sweet husband only lived 20 days from receiving his cancer diagnosis. It was so very difficult to watch my husband as his cancer took completely over his body. I do gave one special memory I will alwats treasure. 2 days before he passed away.
      We both watched The Rifleman. He even smiled a couple of times. He was not just my husband, you see he was also my besttttt friend. I met him when I was 19 and married him at 20. We have a very special 14 year old son Eric whom he is now in Heaven with now. See our 14 year old middle son Eric was killed May 7th 1999 Mother’s day weekend while he was riding his bike home. It’s been nearly 6 months since Carlton, my husband went to be with Jesus. I really would appreciate your prayers. I do not have ANY emotional support and being alone and grieving 39 years of so many treasured moments and memories does take time. Grieving is not easy by no means, and doing it alone is quite difficult.
      Again, please think about me. I do not have anyone to take to and am disabled.
      Thank you very much. God Bless ???

      • Trinity  September 15, 2021 at 9:46 am

        Thinking of you and God bless you and carry you through this grief, Debbie. There may be grief groups like Griefshare or another in your area that may help support you and give you others to talk with who are walking the grief path too.

  21. Martha  January 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Thus is such a good article. I find talking with my nieces and nephews about my husband to be very good. And traditions — every year the feast of Epiphany (January 6) was a special celebration for us, but especially important for my husband. I couldn’t bring myself to host a party the first two years after he died, but have the last three years. It is not just continuing a tradition, but a way to remember and celebrate him as well.

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