Touched by loss. Empowered through community.


Monday, October 22, 2012
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I recently learned that there is a condition in the world of bereavement called complicated grief.  At first the concept struck me as strange, and incredibly ironic.  After all, isn’t all grief complicated?  The loss of a spouse - it’s supposed to me the most stressful thing that can EVER happen to a person.  You lose your loved one, and along with it, your sense of security and self.  There is a deep, often unrelenting sadness that accompanies all of that.  There’s nothing UN-complicated about any of it.

It got me thinking… why is it all so complicated?   It’s no secret that grief will impact our relationships. The ones we have with our family, our friends. It will affect how we relate to others and how they relate to us. The fact of the matter is, grief causes a ripple effect that is felt through everything.

I have good, kind, wonderful friends.  I have a loving, supportive, there-for-me family.  Yet, still, I find myself keeping people – even those I am closest to – at arms length.  I can’t think of a single person that I truly I let my guard down to.  I don’t cry on anyone’s shoulder.  I am unwilling/unable to let people see the sadness within me.   I don’t ask for help.  I have a tendency to pull away. 

Clearly it is a coping mechanism – a survival tactic.  The person I loved most in the world - the one that I would let my guard down to, whose shoulder I would cry on, who I leaned on for support, confidence and strength - died in front of my eyes.  What happens if I lean on others, and just like that, they’re gone too?  What then?

Like many of you, I’ve been scarred.  Wounded.  I have lost so much.  I can’t fathom losing again.  I don’t want to depend on anyone, for fear of that. 

Let’s face it: the layers of grief are complicated.  There is no easy way around it.  There is always another layer to peel back, and another layer lurking beneath that.   However, the walls that I am building around myself aren’t easing my grief.  I am not any less sad because I pretend not to be.   

I know one thing for sure - I can’t allow myself to be deprived of happiness because I am afraid of more pain.   And I won’t.   Maybe it’s as simple as that. 


You put words to what I've been trying to figure out. Thank you so much, Laura

Honest, heartfelt, and relatable. Thanks, Laura.

Thank you so much for writing this THIS week. Every week there seems to be a new realization about life without my spouse. I am not the only one!

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