The grief that does not speak
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote: There is no grief like the grief that does not …
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Last update Nov. 2, 2021.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow201American poet 1807 - 1882
„Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.“
— William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Variant: The grief that does not speak whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break.
„Grief does not expire like a candle or the beacon on a lighthouse. It simply changes temperature.“
— Anthony Rapp, book Without You
Source: Without You
„Man needs to suffer. When he does not have real griefs he creates them. Griefs purify and prepare him.“
— José Martí Poet, writer, Cuban nationalist leader 1853 - 1895
"Adúltera" [Adulterous Thoughts] (1883)
„My grief was cold. It was nothing to share. It was nothing to speak about, nothing to feel. “
— Alice Hoffman, book Green Angel
Source: Green Angel
„Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.“
— William Faulkner, book If I Forget Thee
Variant: Given a choice between grief and nothing, I'd choose grief
Source: The Wild Palms
„Grief like anything else – like a stone – is content only; God gives us the form, that serenity, purity and self-possession with which to surround and live grief.“
— Aldo Capitini Italian philosopher and political activist 1899 - 1968
„There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.“
— T.S. Eliot 20th century English author 1888 - 1965
„There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.“
— George Eliot, book The Mill on the Floss
The Mill on the Floss (1860)
„For sudden Joys, like Griefs, confound at first.“
— Daniel Defoe, La vie et les aventures de Robinson Crusoe
Source: Robinson Crusoe
„Grief takes many forms, including the absence of grief. “
— Alison Bechdel American cartoonist, author 1960
„Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of Grief the blunder of a life.“
— Benjamin Disraeli British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and Prime Minister 1804 - 1881
Book VI, Chapter 7.
Books, Coningsby (1844), Vivian Grey (1826)
„The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either.“
— Wendell Berry author 1934
Source: Jayber Crow
„Don't make it sound like that. Like some ordinary sort of grief. It's not like that. They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite. Over. This is a fresh wound every day.“
— Cassandra Clare, book Clockwork Prince
Source: Clockwork Prince
„But woman's grief is like a summer storm,
Short as it violent is.“
— Joanna Baillie Scottish poet and dramatist 1762 - 1851
Act V, scene 3.
Count Basil (1798)
„Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance. “
— Andrew Solomon, book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
Source: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
„Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.“
— Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Source: The Year of Magical Thinking
„And it was grief that made Mankind your lover,
And it was grief that made you love Mankind.“
— Joyce Kilmer American poet, editor, literary critic, soldier 1886 - 1918
Main Street and Other Poems (1917), In Memory
Context: Your eyes, that looked on glory, could discover
The angry scar to which the world was blind:
And it was grief that made Mankind your lover,
And it was grief that made you love Mankind.
„In every heart there should be one grief that is like a well in the desert.“
— Edith Wharton American novelist, short story writer, designer 1862 - 1937
„Grief restrains grief as dams torrential rain
And time grows fertile with extended pain“
— J. V. Cunningham American writer 1911 - 1985
'Exclusion of Rhyme' Alan Swallow Denver 1942
„No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.“
— Clive Staples Lewis, book A Grief Observed
A Grief Observed (1961)
- For Father
Five phrases that should not be said to a person experiencing grief
We all once said stupid things. I myself have uttered such words, not knowing what loss is. Now I know what not to say, and this knowledge helps me a lot. I hope my advice is helpful, and the next time you're around a grieving person, you'll know what phrases to avoid.
"Were you close?"
What can be the answer to this question? A person either says "yes" - and this is sad, or "no" - and such an answer is often no less sad. Grief brings with it many difficult feelings. If your friend hasn't had much contact with the person they've lost, it can only increase their pain. It doesn't matter if they talked every day or haven't seen each other in years. The main thing is to support him.
“Everything happens for a reason”
After my father died, someone I knew posted a big motivational picture with this inscription on my Facebook wall (an extremist organization banned in Russia) – most likely to inspire me. I removed it immediately. There is not always a higher goal, and even if something good follows from tragic situations, one should not confuse positive “side effects” with the cause of trouble.
"You are doing well"
We may think that a friend is doing well, but we do not know what he is really feeling and thinking. You can’t just take and draw a line under his feelings with one such phrase.
"God does not send more trials than we can bear"
Another fundamentally wrong and extremely useless statement. Many people go through much more difficult situations than they can bear. We are not designed to experience pain alone. We must take part in each other's lives: both in joy and in sorrow. If we see a friend going through a bereavement, we should reach out and help them up.
"If you need anything, let me know"
It is difficult for a person in grief to ask for help. So do not wait for requests - act. Do something specific.
This is how my friends behaved when I was bereaved:
- Shannon gave me a set of "humanitarian aid": tea, handkerchiefs, a magazine and a necklace.
- Gretchen brought a box of chocolates and a card signed by all my friends.
- Karen drank coffee with my mother every morning for seven weeks.
- Jennifer helped organize events for the anniversary of her father's death.
- Jill just hugged me tightly without saying a word.
You don't have to treat the bereaved person as if you were best friends if you weren't before. Choose your way to help depending on the closeness of the relationship. Maybe you just cook dinner or leave a note. And you will come home to someone really close every day for seven weeks.
Of course, the pain does not go away after seven weeks. It does not go away in six months, and in a year. The pain of loss remains with us forever. Set a reminder on your phone and tell a friend a year later that you remember his loss. And you will always remember.
5 myths about grief that prevent us from recovering after a loss
September 20, 2021Life
These misconceptions prevent us from moving on after a sad event.
You can listen to a short version of the article. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.
There are many misconceptions associated with grief and healing in our culture that hinder recovery. It is believed that grief must manifest itself in a certain way, otherwise something is wrong with a person.
But everyone grieves in their own way, and there are several types of grief. For example, scientists distinguish:
- Anticipated grief . It occurs before the loss occurs. For example, when an incurable disease is found in a person or his loved one.
- Normal (uncomplicated) grief . It includes all the natural feelings and reactions associated with loss.
- Prolonged grief . In this case, a person experiences a very acute reaction for a long time - the same as immediately after a painful event. Sometimes it lasts for several years.
- Delayed grief . It is characterized by the suppression of normal reactions to loss. They usually show up later.
In any case, loss or trauma causes severe experiences that unsettle and deprive life of meaning for a while. In order not to get stuck in them, it is worth abandoning the following five myths.
1. You can grieve only because of the death of a loved one
In fact, any loss can cause grief. For example, the loss of the opportunity to celebrate the long-awaited graduation from school due to the coronavirus pandemic. The loss of relationships and the future that you envisioned with your partner. The death of a friend or public figure, even the tragic death of a stranger. All this can lead to grief.
But we are accustomed to believing that we should not grieve over such occasions. That there are people who are much harder than us, which means that we just need to "pull ourselves together." Such denial of emotions does not lead to anything good.
Remind yourself that whatever you feel has a right to exist.
The fact that you are somehow happier than others does not invalidate your current experiences. Be kind to yourself and accept your feelings. Until you admit that you are going through a difficult period, it will be more difficult for you to move towards healing.
2. If I returned to my usual life early, it means that I don't care
If you occasionally rejoice in the little things or enjoy your ordinary activities, this does not mean that what you lost was not of great importance to you. Such moments are completely natural and do not diminish your grief. However, this myth is so ingrained that when a person shows few outward signs of grief, they are considered wrong.
This is actually one of the subtypes of complicated grief, and there is nothing abnormal about it. Moreover, it can even be taken as a sign of psychological stability.
Loss takes a toll on the psyche, and the fact that you have the strength to deal with everyday problems is something to be proud of.
If you are experiencing the loss of a loved one, think about this: this person would surely rejoice in good things with you and be proud of your stamina. You don't have to cling to pain to prove how important what you lost was to you.
However, there are times when a too quick return to your usual life is a sign of an emotional stupor. In this state, a person does not feel anything. This psychological mechanism helps to survive a strong shock. But most often, the emotions suppressed with its help still manifest themselves, only with a delay.
3. If I grieve too long, something is wrong with me.
There is no “correct” way to grieve. Although studies show that grief lasts an average of 7 to 12 months, grief does not have a set timetable. Do not blame yourself if the period of acute experiences ended quickly for you, or if you experience pain even several years later.
Protracted grief can be considered a problem if it significantly compromises quality of life or mental well-being. In this case, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist, he will help you deal with what you are experiencing.
4. We must wait for catharsis, and only then try to let go of our grief
It seems that we must certainly suffer in order to come to some secret conclusion. That only this will allow you to come to terms with the situation and move on. And that this is possible only if you dwell on your suffering and spend all your days in tears. At least that's the impression one gets after movies and TV shows. In fact, this is not always the case.
Life will go on as usual, and gradually you will adjust to live with your loss. But conclusions and full awareness of the situation can only come a few years later, when you gain new experience. There is no point in forcing yourself to spend all this time in suffering.
Don't cling to your pain just because it symbolizes love to you.
Of course, you shouldn't ignore your feelings. Try writing your experiences in a diary to better understand them. And let yourself cry when you feel the need. But don't think that grief has to completely take over your life so that you can experience relief.
5. Grief has an end
You must have heard of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Such a model gives hope that as we move from one stage to the next, we will come to a healing. But grief is a much more complicated process, and there is no universal map that helps you get through it. Instead of stepping from stage to stage, in fact, we are constantly returning from one emotion to another.
Grief is a cyclical process that never really ends.
Over time, we begin to better recognize and control our reactions to it. We may even feel like we've come to terms with the loss, but the next day something triggers the cycle again, such as a birthday or a disturbed memory.
But don't despair.