Silent Grief – The “Aloneness” of Grief

Our Western culture has inadvertently conditioned us to avoid death and grief. Our society tends to isolate those who are struggling with illness, pain, death and grief — hoping that if we don’t see their pain and struggles, the pain doesn’t exist, and won’t alter our tidy and predictable lives.  We tend to behave as if death and pain are contagious diseases, ones that if we stay away from, we can avoid contracting ourselves.

I don’t believe this insensitivity is intentional. Society has not prepared us for how to deal with pain and loss. We are brought up to believe that life will remain predictable and under our control. Then when the unexpected, death or illness, does happen in our lives, we are ill-equipped to deal with the emotional pain, and upheaval, that it brings. Society subliminally sends us the message that we are expected to quietly bear our pain, while still maintaining our daily lives, ‘getting over’ our grief in a timely manner, while not unnecessarily disrupting anyone else’s life.

Unfortunately, for those grievers who are experiencing these life altering challenges, this unintentional alienation by those we were looking to for support, only further increases our suffering. The griever’s life is in pieces and we have no idea how to start to put the pieces together again.

Society’s expectations of the griever are unrealistic. For a griever who has lost a loved one, who was an integral part of their life, nothing will ever be the same, and the pain will always be there. Life is turned upside down. Learning to live with pain and grief is a process and one that cannot be forced.


…Some of the details…are often kept quiet and hidden, our ‘silent grief’, as if these feelings are somehow shameful and aberrant. I have found that when we keep the details in the dark we are left feeling even more alone, isolated, and often doubting our sanity.


12 thoughts on “Silent Grief – The “Aloneness” of Grief

  1. Reblogged this on The Infinite Fountain and commented:
    Thoughts on the ‘aloneness’ of grief. Thank you, Rebecca for sharing this. I can only echo her sentiments. There are those of our friends who have not remained silent and continue to stand by us. The silence of others can be deafening. It is not always their ‘fault’ most people simply cannot deal with grief, their own, let alone someone else’s.

    • I have always said that, after Jason died, my head fully understood how hard it was to be around us, but it was more difficult for my heart to understand the silence and aloneness. It added to the brokenness of my heart and left many of those secondary wounds/scars people talk about. I have worked hard on forgiveness, even without apologies or acknowledgement.

      You are fortunate to have friends that continue to stand with you. I firmly believe they are so much more precious and valuable than they will ever know, and they provide places of comfort and love along this journey no one would ever chose to walk.

      Hugs to you, and thank you for responding and reblogging.


  2. Thank you, Rebecca, for finding these quotes and your always cogent observations. We are just past the 3-year mark after losing Jake and, while there are those of our friends and family who continue to stand by us, the silence of others can be deafening. We have moved on, knowing it is not necessarily their ‘fault’. They simply cannot deal with it. Peace to you and yours.

  3. This past week I just watched the film with Matt Damon “We bought a Zoo”. I did not realize that the movie was based on a true story of Benjamin Mee losing his wife to a brain tumor. As I watched it, I thought this is different, the main character is actually portraying how grief really is. Saying things that grievers really say. I may read the book by the same title written by Mee.

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