Grief – such a small word



Grief is not the opposite to love. It is love. Love turned inside out, upside down and back to front.

Grief is such a small, tiny word. It doesn’t encapsulate the feeling that your heart has been ripped in two; the piece that can feel joy and happiness, knows how to laugh and smile now missing, what remains is the half that feels sorrow and pain, longing and guilt.

It doesn’t express the lurching fear that washes over you each and every time you contemplate the world, your new world, now missing one vital person.

Grief doesn’t explain why your insides feel rigid, your stomach leaden. Why you can no longer eat, sleep, create. Why if you try to smile your skin feels taut, unnaturally stretched over your skeleton.

Grief does not help you to comprehend how incredulous it seems that the sun still rises, that people continue to love, laugh, hope.

Grief does not cover astonishment that the human body continues to function, lungs inflate, hearts beat but you cannot remember the simplest of tasks, making toast is unfathomable.

It doesn’t begin to prepare you for the oceans you will cry. For the times you will wake with cheeks wet, pillow sodden. For the inherent sadness, now as much a part of you as your bones.

The main thing, the most important thing, that grief knows is how deeply you must have loved to be experiencing such pain. The gratitude you feel for having your life enriched by one special someone. The privilege it has been to have known them, to have loved them, to have been loved in return. Grief can be a million happy memories. A comforting presence of a life that once was.


Written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday. Word prompt – opposite.



21 thoughts on “Grief – such a small word

  1. Thank you for this post. Wherever it came from, it resonated. I’m going through some of what you’re describing right now and I don’t think I would have been able to verbalise it so well. Thanks again. 🙂

  2. Your post resonates with an obvious recent loss and I can relate to your words as I felt similar feeling when my dad died a few years ago now. I remember the feelings as you described as I went to the cemetery and beside the burial grounds is a golf course and even though I was feeling numb from the past weeks grief around me life was going on. I knew my feelings were mine and I couldn’t share them so it sort of made sense at that moment that everyone else should be getting on with what they do. Hope that makes sense.

  3. What a beautiful post filled with so much love it is overwhelming as is your grief. I am truly sorry for your recent loss. My mom recently passed and the painful yet special part of grief is that it belongs to you and only you…no one will experience quite the same way and that’s what makes it so personal. I thought the holidays would be difficult but “ordinary living” has turned into something far from ordinary…opposite. Blessings, Oliana

  4. I was so sorry to hear of your loss, Louise. Your post expresses I think the feelings of many people who have lost a loved one, and it is so beautifully written. Glad to see you back on WP. Best, Andrew

  5. great post. i think it will sound better if you rewrite the second sentence. instead of just saying, “it is love,” you can say, “it is love’s alter ego.” then again, my brain is wired differently. english is my second language.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss…empty words, I know, but to empathize and listen is all one can do for one who is grieving. It’s a private process we all handle differently. One thing you mentioned struck a deep chord within me: the inability to create. When my first husband died, then later on my mother, then my father, I could’t write. My well of words dried up. It took years for that well to refill.
    I’m happy to see you back.

Thanks so much for reading!

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