What’s Your Grief 101

Welcome to What’s Your Grief 101.  Today’s post is a bit of a guide, a place to start here at WYG.  For those of you who have been hanging out with us for a while, these may be familiar old favs, or classics you didn’t even realize you’d missed.  For those new to WYG, these are the posts that will give you a taste for what we are about and somewhere to begin.  This is not a best-of list, but rather articles that lay a foundation.  If you are looking to refer a new griever to WYG, this may be a good place to tell them to start.  If you have just found or been referred to us, we hope this helps you dip your toes in the water.

Before you dive in we want to take a moment to say how glad we are that you found us.  If you have been a long-term grief friend, we appreciate that you stuck around; we’re flattered you subscribed; we’re over the moon that you may have sent others our way.   When we started this little corner of the internet we had no idea if anyone would read it, and we are amazed every day when our readership continues to grow.   We also know, as our site fills with more and more articles, it can get more and more overwhelming when new people find us. Where do I start?  What should I read first?  Your ability to focus, concentrate and retain information is shot when you’re grieving and here you are on a website filled with hundreds of articles.  Eeek.

So we hope the short-list below will help. Click on each image below to go to a different post.  If you relate, leave a comment. If you have a question, ask.  If you like it, share it.  And if you love it, subscribe!

grief makes you crazygrief side effects

The Myth of the Grief Timelinebeyond the 5 stages64 thingsGrief, Emotion & Major Life DecisionsWhat’s Your Grief Style (aka coping for your kind of crazy)16 Tips for Continuing Bonds

March 28, 2017

9 responses on "What's Your Grief 101"

  1. Mine felt like I was dying, not going crazy. I was watching it happen, knowing he was trapped inside the burning building as well as being aware I was being forced to watch as he died. When the tower he was in began its descent to the ground, the hope I had that he’d be okay if he were inside dwindled almost to nothing. That night, when they still hadn’t heard from him, I had a sliver of hope but the thought that he hadn’t made it was stronger and it was so intense I felt like my breathing was being suppressed. Suddenly I was having a physical reaction that had never happened to me until that day. I’d lost other people before 2001, but I never felt like I was suffocating until the day that occurred.
    We didn’t have a ‘formal’ funeral until 2004, three years after no evidence for identifying his remains had surfaced. I was afraid the Funeral Home wasn’t going to let us do it, my daughter wanted to do a formal service (I did a memorial in 2001), but they surprised me by saying they’d do it. We buried an empty casket (devoid of the remains but with a Bible in it and pictures of his family.) It felt completely strange and still feels odd.

  2. So glad I found you. I have an on-line support group, which I find very helpful, but it’snot really for this kind of grief.

    Here something I posted there this year:
    A different kind of loss
    Grief is usually associated with death. Of a parent, spouse, child or friend. But there is a whole other kind of grief. Grief for the person who’s still there.
    I’m talking about the overwhelming sense of loss and despair felt by those who still have the person they love, but have lost them to stroke and/or disease. Yes, they’re still there. Except they aren’t. They may be unable to respond, trapped by illness, in a body that can’t indicate the slightest emotion. Rage, sorrow, envy, remorse, shame, love, even humour not even mirrored in their eyes. And yet, who are we to say they aren’t all present, just not accounted for? By the sufferer and the sorrower.

    Then there’s the other kind of loss, where the person you love is also there but, this time, semi-present, thanks to a stroke. That’s what happened to my husband. And this may be even harder. He was once, and still is, greatly loved. A man who relished company, conversation and companionship. And still does. He knows he’s not what he was, but can’t explain just how or why. He tries and, because speech is difficult for him, he cries. When this happens, he can be easily diverted. A kiss. A simple “I love you”. Promise of a treat. Any and all of these make him, apparently, “forget” what was causing such sadness. But do they. Or is he just trying to make things easier for those he loves, too?

    But he can’t make anything easier. He’s now a child. I’ve acquired a fill-in- the- number-year old son. One with whom I cannot truly share my thoughts and feelings. One with whom I will never again share the things we loved to do. Enjoy a good meal and a glass of wine. Read and discuss books, movies, theatre, music. Make love. Hike, play tennis or golf. Explore different countries, try out different languages, cultures, food. Share old friends and make new ones. We can’t even live together. Life now is a series of visits.

    What do I do? There are some options. Grief counselling or therapy. Support groups. On-line this and that. But try and find one that deals with this. They’re all about death. Death of a parent, spouse, child, friend, even pet. Social workers, community services, various religious groups are all ready and eager to embrace the experience of finality. But this demi-ending, this limbo, seems to go unacknowledged anywhere, by anyone. And so, I try to endure. For those of us, like me, without family, this means days, weeks and specially week-ends of mourning. A sorrow so overwhelming can only be shared by a very few, very, very close friends. Grief takes over just when you think the worst is done. Out of nowhere, apparently, a thunder storm of tears. A paroxysm of grief, just to remind me that I must go on. Must continue to visit, love, console All the time with a smile on my face. Offer an encouraging word and hug. Promise a treat. My reward? The knowledge that my love is still returned. A hundred-fold.
    Is that enough? It has to be.

    • Jennifer, we are so glad that you found us too! Your words are beautiful and tragic, and I am sure will resonate with many here. You may have seen this post already but just in case….http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/ambiguous-grief-grieving-someone-who-is-still-alive/

    • Jennifer I immediately starting crying when reading your post. My husband suffered from a stroke last year and we are all still trying to make the adjustments. Knowing where we all fit in now because indeed it has changed but for the one it has changed the most is for my husband. I don’t know how to feel most days and some days are better than others but unfortunately they don’t last long. I would love to be able to communicate with someone that understands me completely. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I have had the privilage of working at our hospice for over 20 years as a grief support counselor and when a client introduced me to WYG I was so delighted to have a resource to refer clients to. Before I started recommeding WYG I read your blogs for several months to make sure what was being taught was sound. BRAVO thank you for your sensitivity, insights, candor, information shall I go on…..I appreciate the time and energy it takes to write and research and to keep current. I especially valued this most recent email giving new users a place to start. Warmly Layla from Kalamazoo

  4. You may all hate me for this but I was the other woman. I reunited with my very first love after 40 years. When I saw him again after all that time, I knew I was still in love with him. We live 3000 miles apart so an innocent lunch was all it was meant to be. To make my story short, I was divorced and he left his wife so we could be together. Sadly, it didn’t last and we parted but he phoned every single day. He complained of a pain in his hip and by the time he was diagnosed, cancer was in his pelvis, liver and lungs. We stayed in touch until the end. It’s his birthday this week and it will be so hard for me to cope. As it is I cry every day so I can’t imagine how I will be. I know it wasn’t right to be with a married man but the heart wants what the heart wants. Please have some compassion for me at this difficult time. Thank you all.

    • Oh Linda, I am so sorry for what you are going through. Loss is loss and grief is grief. Unfortunately, the circumstances of a loss can make it hard to get the support that we need as we grieve when others don’t validate our grief. You may want to check out this post on disenfranchised grief, as we specifically reference situations like yours and how it can impact your grief. Take care during this especially difficult week – you have every right to grieve the loss you have experienced.

      • Thank you for your kind words. My sister teaches palliative care and explained disenfranchised grief. Not being a part of the funeral and normal grieving process prevents us from healing. I am SO grateful for this group. It seems that even my oldest, closest friends don’t understand. Thank you again, your kindness is SO appreciated.

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