The Best Grief Definition Is From A Griever

what is grief

What is grief? According to Webster, the grief definition is “a deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death to which a bond or affection was formed”. Grieving is to suffer grief. How can a word so full of emotion be so cold and unfeeling? Webster apparently never lost anyone.

I remember standing beside his bed holding his little hand. My body in a complete state of shock. How was this happening?! I allowed my mind to imagine the world tomorrow. Our world without him. His little voice. The way he rolled his eyes and smiled when I tried to joke with him. The way his spiky hair felt after a haircut. How his hand fit perfectly in mine. When I hugged him he was perfectly squishy and I would squeeze him so tight. I missed him already and he was still here.

It was my way of trying to prepare for what was to come. Motivation to stay in the moment and soak in every single detail so I could remember it all. Every mother goes through this process as her child is dying.

She imagines the deep sadness. The longing to hold her child in her arms. The gaping wound that will forever cause her heart to bleed. Emptiness in her home, her car, at the table, and everywhere in between. A void that no one else will ever come close to filling.

Her understanding of grief and what she expected it would be like. The only problem? She is wrong! Webster lied.

The definition of grief doesn’t come close to representing what grief really is. No wonder the world is unable to comprehend and support us. So for all of the mothers that sadly come after me, this is grief.

what is grief

Grief is…

Trying to process the void that exists not really knowing what comes next.

Love overflowing from your heart without a place to put it.

Disappointment when you know they are in the next room only to remember they are not.

The constant feeling of being homesick. New normal never feels right, but it is all you have. There is always something missing.

Feeling as if part of your life has been erased. After a while you question if it even existed. It is just gone.

Anger at everything. What happened. Things well intentioned people say. Things they don’t say. Often irrational.

Looking in the mirror and not recognizing your own reflection. The world doesn’t see how you’ve changed.

Standing in a room full of people feeling more lonely than you thought possible.

The pressure of all eyes on you. Waiting to see if you will crumble or keep going.

What if… that can never be quieted.

Struggling to carry the weight of your loss on you shoulders making daily life exhausting.

Yearning for someone to say their name. To talk about them. To remind you they haven’t forgotten.

Connecting everything in your mind back to them.

Guilt, even where guilt shouldn’t exist.

The intersection of conflicting emotions in the exact same moment.

Challenging every belief you have and igniting a journey to discover your truth.

The sudden ability to put yourself first and see your priorities clearer than you ever have before.

The newfound love of your own mortality. Each step being one step closer to them.

Grief doesn’t go away.

There is no cure. The process is unique to everyone so do not compare yourself to anyone else. People say it gets easier. I say it gets different. Less intense, but still a lot of the same. You don’t get over it. You just learn coping mechanisms to live with it. Your life is forever changed. As happiness creeps back in (and it will), there is always a shadow of loss and sadness in the background. Always! Grief is never ending love.

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7 Comments on “The Best Grief Definition Is From A Griever”

  1. the vid is always there no matter how long ago you lost this little person its been 44 years for me and I was not lucky enough to say good-bye but as I do everyone when they leave my sight or hang up the phone Thank God I did tell her I love you and mommy will be here when you come back I got to see her in the ICU after she passed away.I have since lost a grandson and a great grandson which isn’t supposed to happen but God has a reason we’re not to know why but when I see HIM I’ll ask.

  2. I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions of grief–is that at some point it will go away. I just don’t think that’s true. There may be moments that feel less raw than others, but I think it’s a road we will always be on.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I know writing about grief can be quite the process.

    1. I agree! Everyone assumes you will eventually get over it and move on with life. Your post today was spot on about the anger that stays with you. The moments that feel so raw when you least expect it. Somehow we just have to learn to live with it. XO

  3. Thank you for sharing this- I cannot imagine the strength it took to write it down and the strength it takes to live with those definitions of grief every day. Much love to you and your family!

  4. I work in Hospice care and we are providing a grief workshop for some of our patient’s families. May I use some of your definitions of grief? I feel they truly encompass what so many of us feel and I would like my clients to hear them.

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