What Does Grief Feel Like?

Grief isn’t one feeling.  It isn’t just feelings of sadness.  Grief can include numbness, confusion, anger, shame, guilt, outrage, relief, nostalgia, loneliness, overwhelm, and even happiness to name a few.  Grief can also present as depression or make depression worse.  However, the difference between depression and grief is that grief is a natural process that is universal.  In other words, grief occurs in everyone’s life at some point or another.

Ubiquitous and Unique

On the other hand, a grief journey is a unique one.  No person experiences grief the exact same way as another and each loss is different.

Grief Can Spur Big Questions

Grief can bring up a lot of difficult, existential questions.  For many, a grief journey includes reevaluating the relationship with the deceased person.  However, grief can also initiate questions related to who we are.  You may find yourself asking, who was I before and who am I now?  What do I want out of my life now?  What does it all mean!?!? Big, big questions.

For some, the natural response is being mad at God and asking “why” questions.  These questions can be painful.  These questions can also bring about a deeper understanding of who you are and what you want out of life.

Dark Night of the Soul

It may not seem like it at the time during what is commonly known as a “Dark Night of the Soul.”  Sometimes life comes crashing to a halt.  Introspection, tears, and questioning are part of the process.  The intense emotions and disruption, also bring with it opportunities for personal evolution, change, and new understanding.  Sometimes when we experience loss, from it, we also regain ourselves.  Such a process, in its trials and sufferings, comes in the end as an act of grace.

Grief Timeline

Grief takes time.  It comes and goes like the weather.  Some days are calmer than others and some days it’s dreary like the sun never really came out.  Some days you’ll find yourself “almost” like your “old” self, laughing and spending time with friends.  Other days seem endless.

Grief is easier when you have someone to walk with you along the way.  Sometimes friends or family say thing that don’t help like “just get over it” or “stop thinking about it” or “cheer up.”  Life will be different now.  Not everyone is comfortable with grief and death is too scary to look at for many.  Maybe it just seems like you feel like you’re too much of a burden to keep saying the same things to your loved ones.  Whatever the reason, whatever the feeling, it’s okay to feel whatever it is that you feel.  A grief counselor or therapist may be the support you need to find out who you are on the other side of grief.

I understand.  I’ve been there too.  Feel free to reach out.