Ambiguous Grief July 23, 2020

Ambiguous Grief

Not Feeling Like Yourself? You May Be Experiencing Ambiguous Grief

This is a great time in history to talk about ambiguous grief.  Feeling the pain of loss but the person hasn’t died.  Alzheimer’s has taken every memory they have of you. It feels as though the pain behind holding a lifetime of stories, connection and love is easier when the person is gone. When they are standing in front of you but the soul you connected with and shared experiences with is no longer there. It looks like them, it sounds like them but it’s not the same person. 

What Is Ambiguous Grief?

So many scenarios can create an ambiguous grief. Some are easier to define grief. Memory loss, dementia, addiction. I can say I feel grief over the disease that has taken them but yet they are still here physically, Other more ambiguous forms of loss and grief may not be defined as grief in the moment.  It may be the loss that hides in the shadow of a death. If a child dies you grieve the death of the child and the fact that you won’t see them grow and physically are no longer present. That constant ache of no longer being a mother or father. The loss of that label or not knowing how to answer the question, Do you have kids? These types of grief can be more ambiguous.

What More Could Happen This Year?

2020 has been a waterfall of opportunities for ambiguous grief to show up. Loss of routine. Loss of job. Loss of security. Not knowing what is coming next and when or if things will ever get “back to normal”. 

Maybe That Feeling Is Grief

As July comes to an end we move into the back to school season. Stores are full of school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes. Much of that inventory would be picked over at this point. The apparently all important yellow wide ruled composition notebook would already require 3 different stops just to find one still available. They are still stocked full of everything. 50 cents for a box of crayons yet the container looks as though it hasn’t been touched.  Parents do not know when or if or how their kids will go “back to school”.  Grief over not knowing. Grief over knowing it is not going to be the same this year. Grief over the thought of kids missing out on the social aspect of school and grief over the possibility of sick children or sick teachers. 

I Was Feeling Good Yesterday, What Happened?

Taking it all in stride on a Tuesday and breaking down and not knowing if you can take it anymore on a Wednesday, this is what ambiguous grief looks like. Thinking, I didn’t have anyone die. My family is healthy but my great grandmother is high risk. 

Ambiguous Grief Is So…….Ambiguous.

So much can fall into the category of ambiguous grief, well because it’s ambiguous. As I mentioned before, you may not even define it as grief in the moment.  It can look like watching too much Netflix. Knowing you need to go for a jog but you just don’t feel like it. I could look like loneliness, hopelessness. All the time in the world but lack of inspiration and motivation.  Take a look at what’s going on in your life. Are you feeling that ambiguous grief. Is it starting to affect your daily life? Maybe it is time to confront that grief and recognize it’s okay if you aren’t feeling the best or you haven’t started a new business or written a book during the pandemic. The more you dig into that off feeling you will be able to confront it and start getting that motivation back.

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