Defining Grief

We’ve just marked the 4th anniversary of Mum’s death and it will be 25 years this Summer since Dad passed away.

As we know, the grief we feel when we first lose someone we love is both intense and all encompassing … but it does lessen as time passes. I’ve always found it quite hard to describe what my own personal experience has been like, but I read something recently that could have been said by me, if I’d had the ability to articulate what I’ve felt, and still feel, into words.

“Patterns of grief change over time … even though the loss is still at the centre of your life, it gets smaller. Eventually, the pain settles and lands … a heart-shaped feeling that you can carry around for ever.”

{These words were said by actor Jason Watkins in a Life in the Day interview with the Sunday Times on 1 March, 2020. He and his wife lost their two-year-old daughter in 2011 to sepsis.}

12 thoughts on “Defining Grief

  1. Anniversaries can be painful, no matter how many years have passed. That is a very emotive quote and so true. Leo was talking about Paul’s mum dying yesterday and he innocently asked ‘Nanny, where are your mummy and daddy?’ and tears immediately sprang to my eyes, even though 31 and 23 years have passed. Grief never really goes, we just learn to live with it.
    I hope you spent the anniversary of your mum passing doing something nice to remember the happy times together x

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    1. Let’s share a hug. x
      On Mum’s anniversary, I was on a train heading to South Lakeland in order to go to a funeral the next day. 😦 C’est la vie.

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    1. My sister and I have come to learn that even though our stories are so similar, are grief can be so different. We spoke about it at a conference we were invited to. I think it’s really important that people know that grief isn’t a one size fits all!

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  2. Thinking you of you, Ruth … I always find the weeks leading up to the anniversaries of the deaths of my parents hard, remembering so many ‘lasts’ that we didn’t know were such at the time. My own experience has been that it is not so much that grief gets smaller, but that life gets bigger round it … Wise and thoughtful words from you today :).

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  3. That’s a lovely quote & so true that the pattern of grief changes. Sending virtual hugs your way as you remember you mom; hard to believe it’s been four years.

    For Christmas this past year, I made Robbie a scrapbook with all the memorabilia from his dad’s passing 16+ years ago now. It included the funeral program and obituary and all the cards & notes & emails we received at that time, plus photos I’d taken of the flowers and printouts of the scriptures and poems that were read at the service. He’d been talking about his dad a lot & I thought it was the right time. It made him cry, good tears, and he said it was one of his favorite gifts ever.

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    1. What a gift! I can only work on mum’s album for short periods of time; otherwise I spend more time weeping than collating and crafting.

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