We All Have A Grief Secret

I remember well the first time I ever saw Post Secret online. It was the year the site started, 2004. I remember thinking what a brilliant, creative way to anonymously share the secrets we hold, those we can’t imagine someone knowing, but wish we could express.

If you don’t know about Post Secret, I can get you up to speed in 30 seconds or less, because it’s a simple but brilliant concept. Post Secret was started by Frank Warren who invited people to mail him postcards with their secrets. That’s it…that’s the concept. And you know what? People did. So many people. So many secrets. So many creative and personal acts of secret-sharing.    

If you didn’t know about this before, you might have seen the CBS Sunday morning story about it over the weekend. If you didn’t, you should absolutely take eight minutes to watch it. 

This is what had Eleanor and I thinking about secrets again. Not just any secrets, but grief secrets specifically (we were thinking and talking about grief – weird, I know). The thing is, we all have grief secrets. I promise. I speak not just from my own experience, but from years of working with grievers and supporting friends in their losses.

As you may have experienced, there are moments, sometimes quiet moments, sometimes fits of tears or anger, when these secrets come out. Prefaced with reluctance or apologies like, “I can’t believe I am about to say this but . . . “ or “people would think I am terrible if they knew this . . . “, and the person says something they kept bottled up inside for who knows how long. And then suddenly there is a sigh of relief – relief it has been said, that it isn’t trapped inside any longer. 

In the interview above Frank Warren says,

“In some ways, I think when we keep a secret, that secret is actually keeping us . . . maybe haunting us, maybe inviting us to reconcile with part of our past we’re hiding from, maybe keeping us from having intimate relationships with others or ourselves”.

This is likely no more true in grief secrets than other secrets, but we have seen how much power these thoughts, beliefs, and memories can hold in grief.  These secrets can leave us struggling to move forward, struggling to connect with others, and so looking at our grief secrets can push us to face things we’ve been avoiding. 


The Grief Secret Challenge

In the spirit of something we love around here, finding creative ways to cope, we are challenging you to share your grief secret. We know – this isn’t an easy challenge by any stretch. The very nature of a secret is that we don’t want to share it for some reason. But there can be a value in sharing our secrets – a value in facing them and examining them and finding the strength to get them out. When we do, the secret loses a little of its power.

There is also value in sharing together. The nature of secrets is that they isolate and keep us separate. When we share and see what others share, we create new space for support and we are hopefully reminded that we aren’t alone. So, we want to compile as many of these as we can, PostSecret-style. We will compile them here on the site and share them on social and we hope to share the physical postcards in some sort of installation or project. 

How To Share Your Grief Secret:

There are three ways we are asking people to share. 

  1. In the comments. Guess what – you don’t have to use your real name in our comment section! You can, but you certainly don’t have to. So if there is a grief secret that you want to get off your chest right this minute, leave it in the comments below.  
  2. Share on social media. Okay, I hear some of you screaming ‘are you kidding, I am NOT sharing a secret on social media. We assume this won’t be where most people share their deepest grief secrets. But there might be a secret you have wanted a reason to share on social media, and this is just the nudge you needed. If that’s the case, tag us @whatsyourgrief and use the hashtag #griefsecret. 
  3. SEND US A POSTCARD! We were inspired by PostSecret and part of what we love about it is the deliberate and thoughtful act of sending a postcard. Secrets are hard to face, and the act of creating a PostCard and taking the time to mail it gives you some time and space to reflect. It also lets you consider what next steps you might need to take beyond just sharing the secret (more on that below). Your postcard can be anything you like, but if you would like to print out an addressed postcard for ease, we have a template you can print out if you click here. If you use your own postcard or envelope, mail your anonymous grief secret postcards to us at the address below. Get creative and artistic, or don’t – just write it down and drop it in the mailbox. Whatever works for you.  There are no rules here.


Thoughts on sharing grief secrets

We want to be clear about something – sharing a secret, a grief secret or otherwise, it isn’t going to magically fix everything. Sometimes getting it out makes you feel great and you realize that’s the end of it and sometimes facing, labeling, and sharing a secret is just the first step (especially for our deepest and toughest secrets, secrets where we’re stuck). Don’t believe me? A couple PostSecret postcards have my back:

Facing a secret can be a start. Naming it can be a start. Sharing it can be a start. But sometimes we need to go further with it. We need to tell friends or family. We need to seek forgiveness or forgive ourselves. We need to find self-compassion. Or, as another PostSecret postcard so eloquently suggested – we need to talk to a therapist or counselor. 

Before we send you off and hope that you share, so we can share, so we can all feel a little less alone, we want to leave you with some of the power grief secrets people have shared on PostSecret. A word of warning, some of them are difficult. They’re secrets for a reason. So if it is a touchy day for you, you might want to browse them another day. 

We always love it when you share WYG posts on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or wherever you share. We love when you email them or text them when you think they might help a friend or client. But we usually don’t explicitly ask you to do it. Today we’re asking, because we really want to get the word out about this.

We hope as people start to share, then we start to share, more people will start to share. So if you have a minute, please help us spread the word! We even created some Instagram images for those of you who only use IG.

If you are a grief group counselor or facilitator and want us to send you some printed grief secret postcards to use in your groups, just send us an email and we’ll mail you some!

Thanks for helping us get the word out. 


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May 3, 2019

61 responses on "We All Have A Grief Secret"

  1. My husband and father of our 4 children died last night. While death is always a shock our family has been residing at deaths door for close to 10 years. We have gone inside only to be pushed back to the threshold repeatedly on the journey. Autoimmune disease, cancer and multiple undiagnosed chronic illness changed our lives and family over the course of these years. It changed who we are, how we live our lives and what we believe about the world in good ways and bad ways. We have learned to love hard. To smile when we want to fall apart. To look for the rainbows while enjoying the rain. My secret is, after these years on the roller coaster of living in constant fear and often turmoil I can exhale. The worse has happened. We (he) fought the good fight. Pushed back against an illness that tried to take him on multiple occasions. He came home to his family many times from ICU over the years against debilitating odds to have more time. So the landscape of our lives has changed. I exhale for myself and my children. Now we learn to navigate this life differently but we are thankful for the practice of a often changing course over the past 10 years that has made us flexible travelers.

  2. My secret is I hate hospice. I also hate my sister because she was too sad to come over and help me. They send patients home to die with family members who have never witnessed death. They collect lots of Medicare money while providing only pamphlets and hospital beds. Nurses, social workers come once a week and sit typing reports on their computers. They do not provide experienced humans to educate or guide the family through this terrifying experience. My beloved dad suffered and I was helpless. Being afraid to hurt him more when I should have given him pain meds and tranquilizers for us both. My mom was lucky she was mentally ill and didn’t understand. Death is about money in the U.S. Not only funeral parlors take advantage of our grief to make money, hospice is making even more money off the government.

    • I agree the toughest time of my life and the most confusing at a time when all I did was what I was told and supposed to do. Yet I feel I failed and fact is none of us in that situation fail. We do our best with the limited skills we have. We were never prepared-who expects this? The literature is useless-we have no time to sit and read and learn. We are thrust into a losing battle from the start. My poor wife sat on a commode for over 3 hours till we could get a nurse in for emergency one night. She sat like a saint refusing to move while in pain and suffering lung/brain cancer. It was a 24/7 battleground for myself and my 2 sons just trying to do our best for her. To this day 8 months later so many thoughts and visions still linger. While we did not fail-we did our best-there is still a feeling of could have done better-somehow-someway. The hardest part is we knew time was leaving her and yet we still carried on each day as if there was hope-it was for her-even though we knew-she refused to

  3. When my mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in her 50s and they had given her a couple of months to live, I was so scared that I could not even be around her. We had lived together for 30 years and had been best friends. But I would describe myself as being wild with panic, all the time, pants-wetting terrified. Of the unknown. Of what symptoms would unfold. Of what her death would be like. She wanted me close to her but the non-stop panic made my entire body be in agonies of physical pain, and I could never breathe properly and I literally wanted to be unconscious all the time but there was no responsible way of me doing that. The fear was UNBEARABLE. I will always regret not sleeping in her bed with her like she wanted and I have nightmares about it all the time and my body physically aches with regret all the time.

  4. I’ve been with my husband for 24 years. Since I was 19 years old and never in that time have I even thought about cheating, but the past few years have been really difficult……we have problems he doesn’t want to deal with, let alone talk about, which has left me feeling unloved, unwanted and really, really alone. 9 months ago, my high school crush contacted me and within 20 minutes of talking, I knew I was in trouble. Every one of our passions in life was the same….same upbringing …same everything and I knew immediately, he was going to be someone I loved. He had demons though….a year prior his second marriage failed and it sent him over the edge. He was drinking out of control and making really destructive choices. The sadness in his eyes always conflicted with the smile on his face and I knew I had to help him….or he was going to fall. So, I loved him….tended his wounds and made sure he knew how wonderful he is. In turn, he made me feel like the most beautiful, sexy, interesting, girl in the world….things I hadn’t felt in years. I loved him and he loved me. Honestly, we never even slept together…..instead, we made out like kids in his car and sneaking away for a hour or so at a time. Before anything could go further, he was offered a job where his children live and he took it…..but he was so scared without a saftey net of loved ones, he was going to slip……and that’s exactly what he did. He drank himself to death. He died feeling alone . I keep going over every conversation, thinking maybe I could have done something…said something. The pain I feel is unbelievable. It’s only been a few days. I can’t talk to anyone. I have to just pretend he was my just my friend . I have no one to lean on. Thank you so much for letting me get this out. I don’t know what else to do.

  5. My Dad died in our home tragically when I was 18 years old. Though we lived in the same house, he was very distant and as far back as I can remember only told me he loved once (a few weeks before he died). I felt very much alone and in the way in my very dysfunctional home. I was supposed to drive the family car to go shopping on the day my Dad died. But he drove it to work (knowing my plans) instead of driving the old car he always drove. I was really angry and remember thinking “I wish he were dead”. That afternoon, my maternal grandfather who lived with us, shot and killed my Dad when a violent argument erupted between my parents. For the past 45 years I’ve carried the secret of wishing my Dad dead, and then having it happen that same day. The guilt has been with me 45 years, and I don’t think it will ever go away. I wish I had not had those thoughts over something as insignificant as driving the family car to go shopping.

  6. My 4 year old son walked on the ice of the little pond following the dogs the evening before he died. It didn’t break and I didn’t yell at him in particular or do a good job of explaining why it was dangerous. He drowned the next day in the afternoon while the babysitter was on duty, when he walked the 1/4 mile to the big pond by him self with the dogs. I didn’t teach him how to stay safe.

  7. When my husband was dying with cancer I discovered he had been having an affair.Thats it.

  8. I prayed and prayed to God to relieve my daughters suffering from Drug use. He did, he called her home. I do know she is no longer in pain.

  9. I am a grief counselor in the area of Palliative Care, working from east coast Canada. Requesting post cards, as I feel this is a wonderful idea I could present to some of my groups. If there is any way I could promote outside my office even with a poster and information. Please email me and I will forward you my mailing address

  10. I think about death every moment of everyday… I can’t wait until it’s my turn and we can be together again because I sure do hate being here without him – this is not a cry for help… just my one and only wish.

    • May I ask how long it has been?
      My wife has been gone 9 months and I feel same as you do.
      I do not see it ending either.

      • 1 Year, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 3 Days, 6 hours, 24 minutes -since the exact moment he passed away.

        Everyday gets harder not easier…

        • Thanks for responding.
          Sorry for your loss and I hear you.
          I know it will ever end-the never ending quest to join my wife as well.

  11. My mother is mentally ill and has tried to take her own life multiple times. The few times my father had serious health issues I was beside myself with grief just imagining he might die. Recently when my mother was in the hospital, both my sister and I were relieved it was her and not our dad. She’s finally getting what she wanted. Our family was never enough to make her want to stay alive, and I’m not nearly as sad about losing her as I will be when our dad passes.

  12. My son, 31, died suddenly and unexpectedly while I was thousands of miles away on a vacation in Europe. He had Down Syndrome and had lived an extraordinary independent life until his last year. In hindsight, his body was declining but neither I nor his doctors could see it in the aggregate. He developed a complex and rare eye condition that required eye drops every two hours which he could not self-administer. He was living in a condo five miles away and I was his sole support. It was an arduous four months of multiple daily trips back and forth and navigating numerous systemic roadblocks to arrange for outside nursing assistance to take over some of the shifts. He was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea right before I left for my trip and we had an appointment for him to be fitted for a CPAP machine the day after I returned. I doubted he would comply without supervision.

    I was facing the gut wrenching decision to remove him from his own home (he owned his condo) and put him into institutional living. He was fiercely independent and would never have forgiven me. Then suddenly, he died from a pulmonary embolism the night before I was returning home. After the agonizing, raw grief abated I could not tamp down the thought that at least I never had to mount taking him out of his home and that I now had a lot more freedom in my daily life. I don’t feel especially guilty about these thoughts because they are based in the reality of his life and his death. But they are not thoughts I feel I can express to anyone but my husband, although not his father, lived through it all and understands without judgement.

    I know I would trade everything to have him my sweet son back alive. If I had had any inkling he was going to die while I was away I would have stayed and guarded his door .

  13. When I miscarried I could have held my tiny walnut sized baby and given it a proper burial with ritual, but instead I flushed it down the toilet.

  14. My brother died last year from after a long illness and depression. After he died his adult children shared with me that he had always told them that I was his favorite sister. I was not vert fond of him and don’t know why. I don’t feel any guilt about it either.

  15. I hate my husband for dying. I can’t forgive him and he lied to me, which caused his death. If he had told me something it was hard for him to face, he would be here. I just hate him and he abandoned me. I can’t feel gratitude or love, things people tell me to feel now. I wish I could forget that I’ve met him and I regret the day we first spoke. I had no idea he would fuck my life up because the love was bigger than the love I have for myself. I can’t forgive and I don’t want to.

  16. When I lost my husband a little over two years ago, two other people went with him: myself and the little girl that we didn’t conceive. I think about my husband all of the time, and I also think about how life would have been inf he was still alive. We would be chasing around a nineteen month old toddler (at the oldest). We would be taking her to museums and parks (we both love long walks). We even had a name for her (I’ll call her L here). I knew that she would be a daddy’s girl, and my husband would spoil her.

    I don’t tell others about this because they will think that it’s odd and unhealthy to also mourn someone that didn’t exist, But I just didn’t lose a marriage, I lost a dream. Throughout my whole life, I knew that I wanted to be a mom. Now, that dream seems unlikely. I get really jealous that others can go ahead and have a second, third, or fifth child. Why? Why them and not us? I refuse to acknowledge those children’s existence.

    I’m angry that my husband’s life got cut short. I’m also upset that we will never get to meet L. As for me, I don’t know why I still exist.

  17. I have so many guilt secrets when I think about it . In addition to resentment at my wife passing and leaving me alone in “our retirement and golden years. There was resentment of her smoking that caused it despite years having stopped-the damage was already done and it chose the worst of times to show its ugly face as if to deny us any shot at a good life. But also I recall not spending enough time when she was in her final days as hospice inpatient. I became a coward I could not bear to see her go- she lung and brain cancer and her brain cancer was causing the staff problems through and I was told her last few nights were hard. I remember the shock on her face when she called nurse for “potty” and she came and said you have a catheter and bed pan now. When she was first admitted they would help her but she had 8 days at inpatient-her final days. To see her be told that hurt me-shocked her. Another regret led into that as she was never told she was dying. She even looked up at me and asking “am I dying” and I lied and said “no-stop that of course not youre not dying”. She was brought into hospice for her last days but she always said it was rehab to get home and when hospice took her from us at home they even told her”we need to get you stronger to get back home. We all knew that was not the case-but she didnt- or refused to hear of any end. To this day we all debate what did she know but through her 2 months she refused to be told she would not make it. The guilt of knowing she would not weighed so heavily on my head as I soldiered on for the 2 months home hospice as I soldiered on same with the “rehab”. Despite knowing what Drs and nurses told me. It hurt but I could never tell her she was dying. If she did not want to know who was I to tell her? That was a dirty little secret we/she took to the end. So I turned coward because nurses told me she had a few rough nights and I couldnt dare to see that and be helpless as I would be. Then she went onto her coma and in 2 days she was gone. I have guilt because I was scared to see her going as she was with so much anxiety and delusion. It hurt so bad my heart. Please forgive me is all I ask. Please when I go let her be the first to see with her “hi Daddy” I so miss now every day. Its all I want as I soldier through my days aimlessly and sometimes zombie like- to be with her. I have our companion urn in our bedroom- I want to keep her till I go and then we go together into our niche. It was always together for ever for us. I only hope that time comes sooner than later. But oh so much secret guilt I will take to our grave with me. How could I ever have known to act it all came as a sudden and horrible shock. To think we were riding off into our retirement sunset rightfully thinking another 20 or so years and it all came crashing down within hours. How fair was that? I am still battling with God and church on it. I may never get back properly with God but I need to make good somehow-someday-How else can I ever see her again? But for now my anger and resentment and guilt remain heavy on my soul. God/ Heaven help us all who come here to post these grief secrets known only to us and for us to bear.

  18. I can’t. The guilt is so overwhelming that I feel like I’m choking just thinking about it. I don’t know how I am supposed to heal when there is so much I can’t bear to think about, let alone say.

  19. When he died I was relieved. It was too soon, he was in his 30`s but I was exhausted worrying about losing him in some other way. He was an aggressive alcoholic that liked to pick fights. He had already been stabbed, I was relieved I got to listen to his last heart beats and he slipped away in a nice clean hospital bed.

  20. My Mom had a very extreme reaction when I came out to her during my first queer relationship. She told me she never wanted to see me ever again and that she was sexually abused by her dad and brother as a child. With the help of various therapists I’ve deduced she has symptoms of borderline personality disorder, likely caused or impacted by her abuse. So much has happened and it’s not healthy for us to have a relationship right now, so I have her blocked in my phone and have her e-mails filtered. I promised myself I wouldn’t unblock her number or check if I’ve gotten an e-mail from her for a whole year.

    My secret? I moved to a new state last year and feel SO RELIEVED she doesn’t know my current address. It feels good and safe to know she can’t just show up at my place unannounced. Even though I miss her and I want her in my life, I really can’t. I’ve been grieving our relationship for 5 years now even though she’s still alive.

    To anybody who has lost somebody who is still alive, I’m sending you love. When I do my daily meditations I often think of the other “me’s” out there who have lost people due to mental illness and trauma. <3

  21. 10 years after initial diagnosis and treatment, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer metastatic to her bones in 2013. After the initial difficult year, she has done well on progressive courses of treatment. We have spent nearly all of our savings between medication.insurance, and other expenses. Now we are on the last possible treatment regimen. She is losing weight, getting weaker, and easily fatigued.
    My first partner died of cancer 20 years ago. I survived being widowed at 50, but being widowed in my 70s seems unbearable. At the same time, I wish this would just be over. I don’t know if I can bear to go through her dying. I worry about money all the time, and how I will get rid of all her stuff and mine. I don’t know how I will go on. Everyone thinks I am brave.

  22. I lost one of my best friends last summer. We had a very special and different friendship. (She had special needs, I was a good friend to her and somebody that worked with her to teach her skills). I had the opportunity to know her and share an amazing friendship with her for many years. Looking back, I really regret not taking and cherishing all the time I had with her even on days that were a bit more challenging then others. I get mad at myself looking back at the times where I would get home from work and not want to go to her house for a tutoring session or a community outing because it was already a long day but in the end she always made sure I had fun. The night before she passed away , I was going to do some errands and almost invited her to come with me. Due to time constraints, I opted to just go and I really regret not going to pick her up because if I did , I would have been able to say goodbye in person one last time. This was also the 2nd significant loss I had to go through with 18 months, with both being individuals that I have supported at one point or another. My heart crushed both times, even into more pieces the 2nd time around. I’ve kept it a secret, but I have somewhat built an emotional protective wall around me with all the children that I support because I am afraid that I am going to have to go through this grief a third time. I feel doing this will save me from some heart break (not all) and make it less painful if it ever does happen again

  23. When my mother was dying, in hospice care, from pancreatic cancer, we (I) had the responsibility of dispensing the oral morphine. Not well educated on the signs of impending death, I thought my mother was in pain and administered another dose of the morphine. When i called the hospice number to ask advice and get emotional support and information ( I needed reassurance! ) the person who answered the call blurted OMG, you gave her HOW MUCH? – the prefilled syringe was what I gave her- and when she died 8 hours later, obviously I believed I had killed her. See how I am still explaining how I was only following instruction? For years I kept the secret from everyone…. I ” put down ” my mom. 10 years later I learned that the amount I gave her was such a tiny dose it was impossible that I killed her, and I learned that what I interpreted as pain was the normal breathing patten of the dying person…. but it’s all still a secret from everyone but my spouse and the nurse who finally educated me.

    • My wife was in home hospice 3 weeks before they took her to inpatient for final days. Oh how I hated doing the medications-the morphine- Ativan-Haldol- I just did and gave all I was told to do. Now I read more on hospice and was I used to kill my own wife? I dont think so as she died in hospice center. But I think back and wonder about it. But I was out of my mind in fear and stress at what I was doing and what I was watching as my wife was dying from cancer. I look back and ask her-did I do all right? Did I do what I should have?Please forgive me if I did not for I have no idea what I was doing. I was prepared for retirement with you-not to see you die at 62 only 2 months after! How could we ever have been thrust into those situations we were? It was love but really nothing could have prepared us. The hospice training was quick – we had no idea what we were to be up against. Please forgive me.

  24. Not a mom, not a grandmaMay 2, 2019 at 9:30 pmReply

    My husband and I were unable to have children and adopted three children as infants. I was very upfront that I wanted a closed adoption with records never to be opened. Of course times changed and the older two found their mothers and said “she is my mother”. I was and still am devastated and heart-broken. We maintain a relationship and I try to be happy for them but all trust is gone and I grieve for the loss of two children, five grandchildren and two great grands. They don’t see much of these birth families and want things to just go on like nothing changed but for me everything changed forever. So I pretend when I see them and grieve alone when they leave. I know other adoptive parents don’t feel this way but I do.

  25. My husband died 20 months ago (I realize I’m counting like someone does with a young child . . . ) We had 43 years together. It wasn’t all perfect or easy, of course. But it was very good. I loved my husband. He loved me. And we loved our life. I would live it all over again with no changes, if it were possible to do so. So, my secret – I’m sometimes jealous of my children. They’re married or in very loving relationships. I remember that with such longing. And I’m so happy for my kids! But, also – jealous . . .

    • I lost my wife to horrible cancer in August. I am a combined jealous and envious at every couple I see in our age range or older. All I think of is “that should be us- why were we robbed”. I am not sure that will ever change either.
      I think your and my reactions are fairly normal and common in grieving.

  26. I am angry that my Dad died and left us, especially when our family was finally so happy after many years of trying to find our way together. Now I am all my mom has and I am struggling to have time to myself and time with my own family without feeling guilty because I don’t want her to be alone. He was supposed to be here for us and for my mom and he isn’t. He left me to handle everything without him and I am not strong enough. I wake up everyday thinking it’s going to be different and it never is. I feel like I have so many grief secrets that I will never heal and they find a way of coming to life in my dreams or I guess nightmares is what they truly are.

  27. I talk to my deceased adult son in my mind every day. He answers me. Sometimes he tells me things I don’t know, and things that will happen in the near future. He is always right, but it is still hard for me to believe in him. I do believe in an afterlife and have always been able to communicate with loved ones “on the other side” but his death made it really hard for me to believe my own BS. Yet I feel closer to him now than I did when he was alive.

  28. I know my life, my previous life as I knew it, ended when my mum suddenly died to a rare, rapid, fatal cancer, 45 days before becoming a grandmother for the first time. She went from perfectly healthy to dying in 10 weeks, 7 from the diagnosis.
    I’m in my early 30s and nobody I know ever went through the loss of somebody really important, so nobody can understand what I’m going through.
    I feel like I belong to a different Universe, separate from that of everybody else I used to know and share my life with.
    Occasionally, I just feel like ending things with all of them, and start only seeing people who understand grief. I’m tired of cheering them up about how much they’re helping, where the truth is that I need to do self-care after most interactions. But I know ending things would be stupid.
    The truth is that “I feel” alone because “I am” alone, something that was hard to accept. The people around me just don’t get it and right now this adds a layer of discomfort in the daily horror I face. For me, the same day starts everyday and ends everyday, before starting again. For them, it’s thoughts about work, life, relationships, things I don’t care about anymore.

    • I too detest wearing this mask just so other people in my family and neighbors wont run away from me. Although family? they pretty much have. Un fortunately for us we know we have to put that mask on for the outside world as painful as it is. We have to try and act like we care-give a damn while they all have long since moved on in their lives. They now talk about holidays-birthdays-baptisms-vacations-happy stuff and I want no part of it. Yes all things I once loved but now all are gone since my wife left me and they were all things we shared. It was her that made them and life special. She is gone and for all intents and purposes so am I.

  29. I love but resent my wife for dying (August 9-2018) just when we had both retired after working and having a hard life. My Mom had passed away 2 years before and eased our way to finally be financially free of debt. In addition we bought a beautiful retirement home with our always dreamed for in ground pool. We were just about to get back “OUR TIME” after giving so much work and effort. We had maybe 2 ok months before her diagnosis of stage 4 lung with mets to brain cancer. She was not herself during the treatments. It was attributed to her own smoking that she had done for so long with too many packs a day. I resent her for leaving me along in a now too big house at a time that was supposed to be “our time”. She never gave me the chance to be her white knight again. We deserved 20 more years (me at 64 and her only 62) to be able to see our grandchildren grow-to travel and see places we always talked about. It was the perfect retirement plan and now she ruined it because she smoked from maybe 16 to 45. She stopped after heart attack at 45. She was now 62- we saw no signs of anything- But it decided to ruin 2 lives at the most inopportune time just when life had turned the corner towards good times and golden years! I sit here now alone in anger and resentment at it all. Now my life as well has been ruined. As if I want to live without her. My Mom outlived my Dad by 38 years- My God dont let this happen to me I cant take it! Why was I allowed to stay? This is hell and torture and yes I do resent her for leaving me all alone now. But I love her forever and cannot tell anyone I resent her at the same time. It will always be my untold secret to my kids.

  30. I’ve had terrible nightmares involving my parents since, well forever, but it became worse once my Mom passed on xmas eve 2017. My Dad died 3 months ago and the awful dreams came back with a vengeance. I feel like I did all I could do for them, but in my dreams I let them down in every way and I watch them die all over again. Everyone else in my family says they have great dreams about them so I haven’t told anyone but my husband. Also, I’m glad that he’s gone in a way since the end was simply awful but also so I don’t have to celebrate xmas anymore if I don’t want to. My husband and I aren’t into it, no kids, so parents to keep happy.

  31. My husband was very sick for 3 years, we had just turned forty. We thought he might make it… he’d get worse then better, then worse. I had such a hard time becoming the head of the house. Our son was young and I had to work so much more, plus take care of my husband. On particularly insane days, I’d steal some of his pain meds. I know it was awful but I just needed something to take the edge off.
    It’s been over a year and I am angry and sad. I feel guilty that I couldn’t be more available to my sick husband because I had so much to do. I should have held him more. I was so scared of him dying that we never talked about it. Like if we mentioned it, it would happen. I wish we could’ve talked about it. I miss him so much.

  32. We agreed during his illness, I would not make a move to attempt treatment, help, or resuscitation when his final moments came. On the morning of his death, he hemorrhaged something fierce to the point it looked like a crime scene. I sat there with his head in my lap, covered in blood, first listening to him gasp and gurgle and then nothing. I sat there for another hour… before I called anyone, just to make sure he was dead.

    This is what he wanted, what I had promised, he knew I was emotionally resilient enough to do it and I have zero regrets.
    Nonetheless… not exactly details you can share with his family

  33. I feel guilty that I don’t miss my husband of 30 years more. His long illness turned us both into people I didn’t much like. I miss the man I married, but not who he turned into. I’m beginning to see signs of the me I used to be, but I feel oh so guilty and yet angry that I got so lost over the years. Is this just another part of the grieving process?

  34. Hi there.
    I’m glad I stumbled upon this forum while searching for some reassurance that not only do I suffer in silence. My story is I suppose a little different as the person whom Im grieving for is alive. This is my 22 Yr old son whom I adore and love so much, he was the funniest kid made us laugh popular, kind and had a lovely spirit about him. He was always an ansious child as he got into his teens 16/17 he began to withdraw from everything with this surge of ansiety that sweeps through all of his thoughts each and every day. Unfortunately he began to smoke weed which I never new, he hid it for yrs and when I did find out he was in deep oweing money all along to these dealers which I paid off 3 times. He spiralled into depression and won’t seek help, I am helpless in helping him he confides in me and when he is low I he says he is better off dead. I now have learned to cope as if I’ve lost him I dread when the phone rings. I think about him every minute of the day and night I’m burnt out emotionally and mentally. He won’t get help, is there such a thing ‘grieving for someone still living’? I would love advice 😔😢

    • Yes, to grieving your son…I had to grieve two sisters that were living..One passed now but I had to grieve the hopes and relationship I wished for. When my therapist said you have to grieve your sister’s..At first I say back and said she’s not dead?! My therapist had to explain you must grieve your loss…It’s not just in death..

    • Hi friend, yes… you can indeed grieve somebody who is still alive. Have you heard the term ambiguous loss? Here’s definition from Google, though I know WYG has sometimes covered this topic before: “Ambiguous loss is a loss that occurs without closure or understanding. This kind of loss leaves a person searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, and often results in unresolved grief.”

      My form is grief is with my mom, who’s also still alive, though her mental health and trauma prevent us from having a healthy relationship and I miss her daily. WYG is hosting a webinar called “The Grief of Non-Death Losses” and I’ve had it on my calendar for months. Join me and we can grieve together? <3

    • Dear mom of 22 yr old. See YouTube of Tammy Stewart. . Living For A Purpose. She helped her son get a new life. You must address your hormones properly with 1 of the 15 practirioners in the USA who KNOWS how our bodies work. In the meantime, stay hydrated and eat vegetables and try not to do processed foods. No grains or dairy for long while. See knowthecause.com too. I pray he gets 3 friends who he will listen too. My deceased friend never got help for his depression and when he got deathly sick all his friends were far away. You get some godly friends and eat healthy!

  35. I never really grieved my dad who died in 1982. Yes I was sad for a few weeks but somehow I put it out of my mind. My daughter died in 2017 and I learned what real grief is. I’ve been thinking of my dad more often since her death. He was a great dad and I’m sorry I didn’t grieve more. He came to me in some dreams – and I believe in the afterlife.

  36. My grief secret: While I miss my mum terribly and always wish for one more day with her, I’m also constantly aware of all the times she did things that hurt me & the times I needed her to be there for me & she chose not to.

  37. My husband was sick for ten years and suffered horribly the last year of his life. During this time I was employed in a bad job situation. When he died, I was relieved that his suffering was over. I retired and made some other changes in my life that made me feel back in control, and I felt something like happiness for the first time in many, many years. I feel guilty about this and never admit it to anyone. Now that it has been four years since he died, I can begin to think of him the way he was before he got so sick, and I miss him so much.

  38. I find myself staring at/ stalking boys who look similar to my son who died by suicide as a teenager. I see the boys and I am compelled to stare until I am able to see a distinct difference between them and my son. I told my close family about it and they looked horrified, so I haven’t brought it up again.

    • This makes absolute and complete sense to me. Until you have a child die you cannot possibly understand what happens to a mother’s heart.

  39. My friend’s mom was recently diagnosed with cancer and was able to have the tumor removed with surgery. While I am of course happy her mom is going to be okay, I am angry and jealous that when my mom was diagnosed with cancer she died two months later. Why did this have to happen to me.

  40. My grandmother had dementia for years and the family and my grandfather cared for her. Her illness caused her to be violent , yelling at everyone and hitting my grandfather. She thought my grandfather was dead or cheating on her when he is wheelchair bound and clearly right next to her. This was a large change in behavior coming from a loving, soft spoken and sweet woman. She died a few months back at 93. I loved my grandmother very much but my mourning happened during her illness. She was no longer there or very are of what was happening in reality.

    The entire family misses her and we all feel a sense of relief that it is over. None of us would ever say that to my poor grandfather, who is deeply mourning the loss of his partner. He said he would deal with the violence as long as he could just to have her by his side.

  41. I’m smoking pot too much to mask the pain and just so I can be social

  42. My mom died almost 2 months ago. She had a 23 year long battle with stage 4 cancer, over half of my life. I was so tired of dealing and worrying about her illness, when it was going to come back, her mental state, her relationship with my dad, etc. The last 6 months we spent most of the time catering to her…. I feel guilty for sometimes being glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Sometimes I am happy knowing that is no longer a worry for me, and I am enjoying myself. I loved my mom and miss her each and every day. I am thankful she is not suffering anymore, selfishly I am glad I don’t have to worry any longer and wonder what is next.

    • Ann,
      My sympathy to you in the loss of your mother.
      I recommend the book “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness. Found in the YA section of my library (but don’t discount it based on that), I found it exceptional.
      Be gentle with yourself.

    • 23-year long battle with stage 4 cancer is a long time at that level. Anticipatory grief is like sudden grief except there is a longer period getting ready to say good-bye. As a caregiver it becomes how one defines oneself. “I am my Mothers’ caregiver.” On death the challenge becomes “Who am I now?” No longer a caregiver but just me…. Feeling guilty does not mean you did something wrong (then or now). It does reflect the new reality that you are not needed in that role any longer. The “New You” is redefining itself and having fun or enjoying social activities with friends is a part of defining that new you. No guilt required. You loved your Mom and for every day forward that love will not change. Balancing your responsibility of remembering and honouring is a gift you give to your Mom. By being true to the you you are striving to become honour you to yourself. They do not have to be exclusive of each other.

  43. My secret: my boyfriend died unexpectedly last fall and while I miss him sometimes, I am glad he is gone. Since his death, I no longer have to deal with his lying, manipulating, anxiety and cross-dressing which has been so nice.

  44. I’m grieving the possibilities with the love of my life which seemed to exist until I found out he didn’t tell me his true age. Today I’m especially grieving the loss of my dreams and I can’t talk to anybody else about it because I’m ashamed about it in so many ways.

  45. My dad died from brain cancer when I was 14, 3 days before my birthday. We buried him on my birthday. My birthday is difficult every year, yet I act happy because everyone says “Happy birthday”. My grief experience has been unsupported, unacknowledged by my family and I resent them for it. I resent that they don’t speak of my dad or honor the person he was or the role he played in our lives or how he suffered. They disrespect him. I feel alone and at times stuck in my grief.

    • A life time together often blends two people into one. The loss of a partner is like losing half of oneself. Remembering your Grandma as she use to be before dementia is one way to honour her memory and bring some peace to you and your Grandfather. We all grieve at different intensity and in different ways. Respect his and know in so doing your way of grieving is OK too.

  46. I feel hopeless and joyless every day and my mom passed away a year ago. Nothing helps – not my boyfriend, not the medicine; I’ve even stopped drinking. I don’t know if I’ll ever be myself again.

    • Kristin,
      I feel the same way. I lost my father to leukemia on February 28th of this year and every day feels like a curse. My Mom said it best: “It’s like a life-sentence.” We just wait to go to heaven to see him again, but how does someone wait their whole life?! Just know that you’re not the only person who feels that way. I take some comfort in feeling less alone. Love you.

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