Styles of Grief

One thing I’ve learned after losing Jason is my husband and I have different ways of grieving. I’m really withdrawn and my husband is open. I find it hard to express my feelings because of the pain it causes me. My husband finds that Compassionate Friends is helpful and I find it to be too overwhelming.

Each of us are made differently. Therefore, we grieve in different ways. Different does not mean right or wrong, it just means different. The wife may find it difficult to express her feelings, or talk about her child and the husband may think she doesn’t care and is “cold”. The husband may cry easily in public, talk very openly and this can put strain on his wife since her style is so different.

It’s unfortunate, but up to 75% of marriages end in divorce because of the strain put on a family after the loss of a child. The whole family is effected. One example I found in a book I read, “Gone but not Lost” by David W. Wiersbe, is:

  • Think of your life as a huge ball of yarn with many strands of many different colors. Each colored strand represents one of the people you know and love. When one of them dies, the entire ball of yarn has to be unwound to remove the single strand. That’s how it feels when a family member dies. Your life is “unwound,” and that creates tension and conflict.

While conflict is normal in a family and marriage, it doesn’t have to end in separation and divorce. To help resolve the differences and conflicts that may arise in your family try to remember the following:

  1. Remember that each person grieves differently.
  2. Support your spouse physically, emotionally, spiritually.
  3. Take the time to talk about your thoughts and feelings with your spouse.
  4. Give each other permission to grieve openly.
  5. Concentrate on resolving conflicts, instead of on the conflicts themselves.
  6. Do things together: quiet walks, going to church, praying, going through the cards people sent, dining out.
  7. Focus on the future.

I would love to hear from others who are having troubles with their relationships as a result of losing a child. Whether it is your husband/wife, parents, sisters/brothers, etc. email me with how it is effecting it and/or how you have pulled through. As I mentioned above, there is such a high rate of divorce and separations as a result of losing a child. I would like to offer others, along with myself, some happy endings and also some of the unfortunate realities of separation. Thank you ahead of time!