Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Grief?


Since Eve died and was born, I have often found myself wondering -- am I doing this dance of grief properly?  Is this right?

I hear other bereaved women asking themselves the same thing.  And I am coming to realize more and more that there is no "right way," just as there is no "getting over it."  There is no out, only through.

I am slogging through, as best I can.

But what is grief?

Grief is feeling nothing.

Grief is feeling everything.

Grief crumbles and grief builds.

Grief is anger.

Grief is evidence that you loved what was lost.

Grief is healthy.

Grief is more painful than you could imagine, before grief came into your life.

Grief is terrifying.

Grief is recovering from amputation of the soul. 

Grief is a part of you dying.  A large part.  An important part.

Grief is the birth of the person you are becoming.  A different person.  A better person.

Grief is long.

Grief is a seemingly endless marathon of sleepless nights, even after months have passed.

Grief is exhausting.

Grief can be traumatic. 

Grief is life-altering, permanent.

Grief is waiting.

Grief is patience.

Grief is wondering if you will ever again feel as happy as you look in pictures, even photos taken now, in the midst of it all.

Grief is hard.

Grief is ever-changing. 

Grief is learning a new way to trust God, and yourself, and others.

Grief is suffocating.

Grief is freeing.

Grief is a seemingly unending free fall without a parachute.  

Grief is learning what's important, really.

Grief is lonely.

Grief is intimate, and grief is close.

Grief is not a mental illness.

Grief can be a gift.

Grief shows us a new way to pray, a new way to connect with the God who grieved His Son's death.

Grief is ugly.

Grief is beautiful.

Grief both requires and cultivates courage and endurance.

Grief guides.

Grief instructs.

Grief refines.

Grief can contain joy, and can lead to joy.

Grief is feeling fragile, feeling like you are walking around with your skin torn all off.

Grief heals. 

Grief is everything, and grief is nothing.

Grief is love.

Grief is.

What is grief to you?


  1. Beautiful, Beth. Grief, to me, is proof that he was here. Grief is the worst thing I've had to go through. Grief falls away, bit by bit, day by day, but will always be with me, like skin. Grief is as wide as the love is deep.

    1. Beautiful, and exactly, exactly right. xoxo

  2. Beth You have such a way with words, Beautiful! I would have to say right now exhausting. I feel so tiered maybe the sleepless nights have finally caught up me. Maybe all the "other" stuff has compounded my grief. I am not sure but right now I feel worse instead of better. I am so thankful for this post it lets me know I am not alone in my feelings.

    1. It's a hard week for you, Tesha. I hope maybe after this week you are able to get some real rest. You deserve it! Big hugs.

  3. Great post! When my Grammy died I actually typed "Am I grieving right?" into Google. I just felt like I was doing it wrong and was desperate to find a "correct" way to grieve.
    I realized that every grief is different. Even for the SAME person, they will grieve differently for each situation in their life or person lost in their life. The grief I was confused about was the grief specifically tied to my Grammy, and it needed to honor HER, go through my emotions about HER, and I had to come to peace with not having HER around anymore.
    Once I got specific with it and personalized it, I felt like it was appropriate for me, and for her and my relationship.
    I think in the future I will continue to treat grief this way. Each situation as its own, working my way through the obstacles and different emotions, with a focus.

  4. So so true... all so true. I'm finally seeing that grief can be a gift... it's taken me over 2 years, but I'm getting there. She's brought beautiful things to my life... and made me so things so differently. Thinking of you and love to you and Eve xoxo

    1. This is so true. I have done things that I know I never would have done if Colin hadn't died. As much as it hurts, losing him has made me a better person, I think.

    2. I totally agree with you both -- it's only 6 months out from Eve's death for me, and already there are significant changes that I can see in my behavior and choices. So glad, knowing that our babies have made such a positive, lasting impact on us with their short lives.

  5. For me, it's approaching 4 years since my dad passed. It still seems like yesterday. The grief never really lessens...I just get better at dealing with it. I think knowing it's okay to grieve does help. But that missing part...the longing to have someone in our lives that can never be there's the whole we ARE better for having them in our lives but now we do know what we are missing.

  6. "Grief is the birth of the person you are becoming. A different person. A better person."

    Love. Beautiful. Thank you so much for this, Beth.

  7. Grief is the nightmares all night, waking up relieved that it was only a dream. To realize that it wasn't.

    Grief was his indifference. Grief is realizing it was and is his infidelity. Grief is it being rubbed in my face.

  8. this post is so very very true in every way

  9. Grief is like loosing part of you and feeling it is there somewhere but you can't find it. An empty, horrible pain deep in your heart that won't go away, no matter how you try to get rid of it. Grief is endless tears, anywhere anytime, a deep deep cry that only stops on it's own. Grief is selfish, It's all about ME that hurts, no one understands ME, no one hurts like ME. The world becomes very small because it all centers around your pain, your hurt. God promised us he would never leave us, he is there, healing those deep cries and torn heart, minute, by minute, day by day, year by year until you can finally let out a sigh and say " I can do this" I lost my husband of 37 yrs. I know of this pain.

    1. Big hugs, Sheila. Your words are exactly right.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King