One of the most painful parts of grief is the loneliness. No matter how many people are in our lives, missing that one person makes the whole world seem empty. No one can replace those who have died. Even if we remarry, or have another child, or adopt another pet, no one will ever be the person loved in this specific way, in this specific time. This is why grief lasts, and in some ways loneliness, too, for the rest of our lives. Accepting this loneliness is part of who I am.
It doesn’t stop me from having good and strong loving relationships. I think of my loneliness for my husband as a way of keeping a space for him. It is a way of honoring the love we share. Day One “There’s nothing lonelier than grief. Sometimes I wanted to cry out . . . ‘Please please look at me help me can’t you see how unhappy I am?’ But . . . they would have gathered round making soothing noises . . . maybe offering me tissues . . . and none of that would touch the deep dark ocean that circled silently inside . . .”—JOHN MARSDEN
This is the loneliness of grief. You want people to understand and pay attention to the part of you that is sad, that is in hiding, yet you know there is nothing they can do to help. The only thing that would really help is the impossible: to have your loved one come back. That's when memorial cards can really help people. Does this loneliness ever go away? Yes and no. I spend more time in company now than I did when my husband first died. I have moments when I am busy and I forget how lonely I am—lonely for a specific person. Day Two “There’s grief and then there’s the loneliness of grief. The way it’s just yours and yours alone.” —DEB CALETTI
While many other people also love and miss my husband, it doesn’t make grief a shared activity. We each had a special treasured relationship with him, and although it’s nice to hear stories about him and know he is remembered and loved and cried over, he is mine in a special way, as is my grief. It may sound a bit odd, but the specialness of our relationship makes the loneliness of my grief special, too. It took a long time, but there are now ways in which I am actually grateful for the loneliness of my grief. Day Three “I miss your face. That big bright smile. You always had it, in any weather. It’s hard for me to find one these days. These cold November days. Except when I think of you.” —KELLIE ELMORE Kind words like this are great to help people through their grief, a well designed memorial cards uk can also really help in the long term.
I use this quote to illustrate loneliness because it tells me why I am lonely. What I miss is not any old smiling face. I miss one face in particular, one that no longer exists tangibly. Part of me cannot accept that the face I love so much does not exist except in memory and photographs. Loneliness for the physicality of my beloved sometimes makes it hard to smile. Thinking of him always makes me smile, even if the smile comes with tears or rage or fear or confusion. Day Four “It is true that the grief journey is very lonely, but it is also up to you to decide just how lonely you will make it.” —ELIZABETH BERRIEN
Is it truly possible to decide how lonely my grief journey is? May I have choice in how I experience grief? My loneliness feels deep and forever but perhaps I can say and do things that give me a different feeling. If I allow for the possibility of my loneliness lessening, a space for healing may open up. I can be lonely and not lonely at the same time. Day Five “No one ever has the answers you need, the ones you want most, the ones you whisper as you lay alone in your bed with the lights extinguished and the lonely ache of loss settling in.” —LEE THOMPSON
When someone we love dies, we have so many questions and no answers. Our world is shattered and we don’t know how to put the pieces back together. Attending each other, providing funeral memorial cards and doing whatever we can always helps. Sometimes we don’t even know if we want to. Nothing makes sense anymore. Some people feel that the lonely ache of loss increases rather than decreases over time.