The Crippling Loneliness of Grief


There is no worse feeling in the world than being amputated from the one you love. There is an earthquake between two people, a rift a million miles apart. There seems to be no little thing that can fill the gap and the ache of loneliness that sits inside of you now. There is an endless pain in the chasm of separation.

Being lonely can touch you in many different ways.

There is the physical aloneness. There are no footfalls anymore. The phone remains still. The house is empty. There is a pillow all alone. There are clothes that remain unworn and a silence that is thick throughout every room. The voice you hear is yours alone and you ache for the companionship and the feeling of belonging that is now lost to you. You struggle through each day and are crippled when darkness comes. You wish for so much that can never be and you have never felt lonelier in your whole life.

There is the alone feeling that comes when nobody seems to understand. Other people don't feel or respond to the loss in the same way that you do. Friends drift away or waft for a while. You get the look; you know the glassy one that means they are lost to your world. You begin to doubt yourself and become lost to who you really are, because it seems you can't be yourself anymore, at least not with everyone. There is the ache in knowing that behind your smile is your suffering that they just don't see. There is the splitting off of who you are when you have to hide your real self from the world.

There is the struggle of dealing with the grief, the pain of loss all alone, day in day out. No matter how many hands uplift you and hold you through the tears, it is you alone who has to do this. It is your grief, your pain, your feelings, your faith, your routine, your habits, your choices. That can seem an enormous and totally unreachable insight. To know that you have to delve deep within you to deal with this grief because when you look inside there are no resources, nothing for you to draw upon to help yourself. You've become totally depleted.

Then there is the loneliness that comes from looking at the world and knowing that you will never have again what they have and take so much for granted. You hear the ingratitude all around you in the way people speak to their children and their loved ones. You hear the moans and complaints and it makes you feel like screaming out loud and screaming at them. "Don't you know what you have?" "You are so so lucky!" and then collapsing in tears because you wish you still had what they do.

There it is in all its ugliness, in all its truth. The loneliness of grief is not pretty but it is real. I have experienced all of the above, as have many others and that can in itself make you feel a little less alone, at least for a whisper in time.

For each and every one of those alone moments you will find your own way to deal with them but here are some suggestions that might help:

Your loved one's physical presence has gone but they will remain a part of your life always. Keep your connections with them strong throughout each day.

Know your worst times of the day. Think about 2 or 3 things you can do at those times which might help you through.

Seek out and find someone you can truly be yourself with and be totally and absolutely honest with. Someone who understands and gets the you beneath the mask.

Allow yourself to grieve, allow yourself to feel all the pain, regret, guilt, anger, and sadness. Get your feelings out, express them and let them free to free you.

Fill your void, the depletion of you with something each day that will sustain you. Many people have told me they come to my Facebook page every day because it helps them and uplifts them. Find your daily dose of comfort and hope to face the coming days.

In all things be kind to you and give yourself the compassion you would give others. You are dealing with something huge, something enormous. Know that you are doing the very best you can right now and that is all you can ever do.

"Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it......" from Eat, Pray, Love

Maureen Hunter is an inspirational writer and grief steps mentor giving comfort and hope to many. She is passionate about helping people to step through grief and build a new and different life after loss, one in which their loved one is always a part of.

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