The Grief Never Leaves You

 

Woven grief

The grief never leaves you, you know. It lingers on, hidden from view but an eternal presence woven into the fabric of your being.

You move on. You accept that this is how life has to be from now on. Joy returns, new life grows and living can be good again.

But the grief never leaves you.

You realise this at times both obvious and unexpected. Anniversaries, holidays, significant family events… How could that absence not be noted?

It’s the unexpected ones that catch you, though. That bring forth the pain so suddenly it seems impossible that you could have moved on, that your life didn’t stop the moment they left you.

A song on the radio, a photograph, a name in a book. Reminders of a life taken too soon, of memories you shared and of memories you have had to create without them.

Giving away something that once belonged to them feels like giving away a piece of the person they were. If you gave it all away would they cease to exist?

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been – months, years, even decades.

The grief never leaves you.

As the pain takes your breath and the tears cloud your eyes, you ask yourself, “It’s been so long. Why this pain? Why these tears?”

It’s hard not to chide yourself. It’s hard not to feel indulgent, ridiculous even.

But you’re powerless to stop the feelings of loss, of sadness, of wishing things were different.

Because the grief never leaves you.

 

 

 

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76 thoughts on “The Grief Never Leaves You

  1. Sometimes we never get over grief and it lingers, and lingers. That isn’t desirable because it can be hard to move on…but on a more positive note, it can remind us of cherished memories. In a way, I suppose grief is a reminder to us to cherish what we have around us. You just never know. Best wishes.

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  2. The unexpected reminders that bubble up to the surface are perhaps the worst. The hole that’s left behind can be managed on special occasions and holidays. The melancholy is anticipated and can be contained, but the random ghosts that resurface catch you unprepared. It feels like a kick to the heart.

    Your grief suggests they are still with you and that seems like a good thing to me ❤

    Hugs Heather.

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    • That’s what it’s like exactly. You’ve described it so well, Joanne.
      The kick I received this week I didn’t expect at all which just makes it all the harder as you say. And it was such a small thing, that I feel almost silly but grief’s an inexplicable thing at times, I guess.

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      • I have a very wise younger son and he once told me that the little moments are the ones that give texture and meaning to our lives.
        I guess that’s why the little things are the ones that can suddenly derail us unexpectedly.
        Grief is powerful and often inexplicable. I guess all we can do is acknowledge it and let it have its moment.

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  3. That unexpected blow to the heart, the one that blindsides, the one you don’t have time to steady yourself for, those heart wrenching out of the blue thuds that remind us how vital a part the person played in our lives.
    Sending hugs across the miles and hoping the support of many brings you some comfort. Xo

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  4. When we love someone so deeply, the impact of not having them to share in our lives, seems to leave a gaping whole in our hearts. Some days we are able to muster through & some days, the sadness & sense of loss just overcomes us. Sending you hugs with the wish that your heart feels more peaceful in knowing you are not alone. XO

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  5. Grief – the wound that never quite heals, the space that is never filled again, the scar only you can see. It never leaves and can hurt like it was only the previous day no matter how long ago it was. The agony the some people never understand because they think that time heals it and it goes away forever. I send hugs.

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  6. Grief is its own master – no-one can send it away when it knocks again, let alone banish it. But I believe we would be the poorer for being entirely without it when once it has visited.

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  7. It never leaves you and the 3 am wake-time is the worst when all the memories flood in. You turn around and try and think of the ocean tides waxing and waning, hoping for relief and sleep. It never leaves you but around 7 am you get up and put on the kettle. Another day.

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    • Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Yes, it always surprises me when my life is going along nicely and then suddenly something – and it can be something quite innocuous – will remind me of that person and then the grief and pain just reappears so strongly. It’s never really something you ever get used to.

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  8. I think grief becomes a part of you, you carry it with you constantly and sometimes you’re more aware of it than others. I know it’s a part of me, without reducing me to tears on a daily basis or anything, it’s just there, where they are not xxx I hope you’re okay xxx

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    • Yes, I agree. So many years on, the tears don’t appear on a regular basis but it struck me how they will appear in the oddest moments. Sometimes I can get through an anniversary or a birthday quite well but then be reduced to a blubbering mess by a mere comment from someone. The grief always is a part of you, as you say. Thanks, Elaine. xxx (I’m okay. Something happened last week and I needed to write this to rationalise something that seemed irrational. And I knew I would get some wise words like yours that would help.)

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      • I think sometimes we need to share these things to realise that it’s not just us…grief is so personal and can make you feel so alone, but other people do understand.
        I’m the same, i carry on with my lovely life, and then suddenly there’s something that triggers a thought or a memory and the tears come…so often with my blog I wish I could show Caroline, I wish I could share my food with her, I know she’d love it, but the truth is that I only started the blog after losing her 😦 even in the grief there are gifts xx

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  9. My father died when I was 19 and very busy with college and “growing up.” I went to a movie the night before the funeral. When my mother died 46 years later, I went to a hospice grief support group. Guess who I ended up talking about? That’s right, my father. It took me all those years for the grief to finally come out. My mother lived a long life. My father was cheated.

    Yes, grief is always lurking there somewhere.

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    • Al, I’m so sorry you lost your father so young. Like you, I’ve found that new grief will always conjure up the old grief. I also think that the shocking deaths – the ones that come out of the blue or that take a life well before their time – leave much more of a scar than the deaths that come as a natural part of life. It’s like the blast of it imprints on your soul forever.

      I’m glad you got the chance to revisit that first loss and be able to talk about it. It’s always an ongoing process to come to terms with such a loss.

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  10. Truth is stated well in your post. There are a lot of things that we will lose along the way, and grief is a sign that we loved!
    Blessings,
    Dajena ❤

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  11. No it never leaves you. It does slowly compact though, so it remains just as important, yet takes up less brain-space and you stumble unexpectedly a little less frequently as time goes on. It is also the emotion that makes us believe in love and in the essential goodness of most humans. I hope even our distant online sympathy softens the pain a little.

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    • Thank you, Hilary. It does. 🙂 I wrote this post partly to try and rationalise something I was feeling was a bit irrational and partly because I knew it would be something that others would have experienced and that they would offer wise words, as you have.

      In my case, it’s been twenty-two and a half years since that terrible loss and my life is very full of joy and love but the pain can reappear at any moment, triggered by the most mundane of things. I had such an experience last week and I had to realise that it will always be there somewhere beneath the surface.

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  12. Even though they may be physically gone they’re never really… gone. All those holes fill in eventually. Kind of. Maybe a little. Sort of. Not entirely, though. Just my two cents…

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    • And I thank you for those two cents. They are worth a great deal more. I think sometimes, as life moves on, we are less aware of the hole on a day to day basis but then something can come along to remind us that it’s still there really. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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    • I think perhaps after all this time, I have to admit to myself that this is a scar that will probably never heal properly. Heal enough for me to live my life and get the most out of it but there will always be the moments that take my breath away again.

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  13. I think most of us, by the time we get to middle age, have lost people dear to us. I don’t know if everybody deals with it in the same way. In my case, there was initially nothing but despair. It seemed like the world would never be the same again. Then, little by little, real life forced me to deal with other, unconnected things. Sometimes I would laugh at a joke or smile at something somebody said. Then I’d remember, and guilt would be added to sadness.

    Now, years later, life goes on, not quite as it was before, but stable somehow. Many days, I don’t think about it at all. Then I’ll glance at the calendar and notice the date is an uncelebrated birthday, or I’ll see the photograph on the back wall of a happy day long ago, and my breath catches in my throat when I consider that some of those smiles I will never see again.

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  15. People expect grief to go away after a few weeks, as if we had accepted that, when you (are forced to) go back to work, it means you’re (or you should be) functional again hence everything’s back to normal. Why are we needlessly putting so much pressure on each other? Of course grief lasts for years, and the absence of loved ones is felt forever. I read once that in some very old cultures, they use to make a sculpture of the face of the person who died, and bring it out whenever there was a significant decision to be made within a family, so everyone would consider what that person would say in that situation. I am not saying it’s the best way to deal with it (is there a best way?), but I thought it was interesting that they addressed the fact that people aren’t erased from family history and people’s minds when they die. In our times, we collectively act as if we should forget right away, but I can’t think of anything more unrealistic and cruel.

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. It’s the holidays and I’ve been away from the blog. I like the idea of bringing out a representation of the person who has died to be part of the decision making, particularly if discussing something that, had they been there, would perhaps have affected them or have been relevant to them. They should never be gone from our thoughts or actions.

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  16. It has been seven months since my husband died after a very difficult 5-month battle with aggressive cancer. Many people do not mention his name anymore. I like to hear his name.Previous comments are spot on. The grief always is with me no matter how happy or carefree I might be the moment. I want someone to say, “tell me about your grief and how you are really feeling” but most people are uncomfortable and don’t want to know any details…..such as–sometimes I can’t breathe or I have experienced physical pain or I sob uncontrollably. I grieve for my loss and I grieve for his loss–he was disappointed not to be able to finish landscaping our yard and completing projects in our house. Our hopes and dreams were never large in scope but they were hopes and dreams nonetheless. Thank you for the conversation about loss and grieving.

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    • Thank you for your heartfelt comment and I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. The grief is still so fresh for you and you can only walk this path your own way. I hope you find someone who understands and can be there to sit and listen when you need it. My thoughts are with you.

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