What It’s Like to Grieve


I found this on a grief support group.  The person who posted it said she didn’t remember who the author was or where it came from.

Although it was written by a woman who lost her husband, almost everything in here can related to the loss of anyone we love.

Please Understand

Please understand that my world had fallen apart. My world, my life, is no longer secure. Don’t run from my tears. I cannot control them. I’m not made of stone. Grief comes at me in waves and when it hits, it hits hard. I never know when a wave is coming and I just have to ride it out until the waters calm. You don’t need to say anything. You can’t make it better no matter how much you might want to.

Please talk about [my husband, wife, parent, child, relative, friend] to me. It’s not going to bring him back – I know this but it’s more of a comfort to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him and I’m sorry if I repeat myself. My brain doesn’t process things quite the way it used to. Don’t be afraid to mention his name. YOU can’t make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for allowing me to shed them when I need to.

Just don’t abandon me. Please don’t act like I have some contagious disease. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to upset me. Grief isn’t catching. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, ‘I’m sorry.’ You can even say, ‘I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that.’

Just because I look normal does not mean that I feel good. Only ask me how I’m doing if you really want to know. Please stop telling me, ‘You’re so strong’.  I am not strong. I alternate between numbness and overwhelming moments of grief. When you tell me how strong I am I feel like you don’t see me at all. Please don’t tell me what I ‘have’ to do. I know I need to eat more. I know I need to sleep. I’m grieving, not stupid. Understand that there are times when I cannot physically force myself to eat because food tastes like cardboard and if I’m able to swallow it, it just sits like a lump in my stomach. Realize there are nights when my mind races and memories haunt me so that I cannot sleep. Eventually, I will be able to eat more than a few mouthfuls of food and I will be able to sleep for more than short periods at a time.

This is not something that I will heal from. This is not a cold or the flu. I’m not sick. I’m not depressed. A pill can’t fix this. I’m grieving and that’s different. The worst of my grieving may only begin months after [my loved one’s] death. Don’t set time limits on my grief. It may take six months or six years for me to function properly again.

I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life we shared, the plans we had for our future, the places we will never go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. His smile. his laughter. his kiss and his touch…my whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same. We built a life together and I loved our life. [My loved one] chose me to share his life with him and to be his wife. He didn’t choose to die.

I will not always be grieving as deeply as I am right now, but I will never forget [my loved one], the absolute love of my life. I want to incorporate his life and the gift of love we shared with one another into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with laughter and other times with tears. Both are okay.

When you tell me what I should be doing, I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that [my loved one] is no longer here, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right. I don’t even understand what you mean when you say, ‘You’ve got to get on with your life’, or ‘You’re young, you’ll bounce back quickly’. My life IS going on. I’ve been forced to take on more than it feels I can bear some days. It may not look the way you think it should. My new life, that I never wanted, will take time for me to adjust to and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, joy will slowly return to my life.

Please do not tell me you understand how I feel. You don’t.  Even if you have also lost a husband, you may partially understand, but as you didn’t lose MY husband, so you cannot possibly know exactly how I feel.

I need to know that you care about me. I need your hugs. I need you just to be with me. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time. Please don’t say, ‘Call me if you need anything.’ I’ll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. If you think of something, just do it. If you want to call me then just call. Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may say no at first or even for a while but please don’t give up on me. Right now there are some days when it is all I can do to get out of bed in the morning. But don’t give up on me. Somewhere, in time, I may be ready and if you’ve given up on me then I really will be alone.


For more information about The Grief Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.

The Grief Warrior Project is in the process of becoming a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.

We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics.  Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or warriorprojectmaine@gmail.com.


In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.


We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.


The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.

In the event of a crisis, please call 911

In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline:


John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs.  After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.

But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops.  So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses.  However, they’ve been downsized considerably as I’ve reduced the floor space at 189 Main Street by half, and relocated inventory to other shops, to reduce my workload.

All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project.  If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our little store or buying from our booths at the shops listed below, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.


189B Main Street, Lewiston ME.  (Entrance through the back of the building, off Park Street.)
As of Thanksgiving of 2017, Heritage Collectibles has closed its 189 Main Street storefront, and is in the process of moving most of the antique & furniture inventory to other shops (see below).  We are keeping what had previously been the furniture gallery section of the shop, however and will use that to house Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps…. it will primarily offer books, maps, records & ephemera.  We’d love it if you would follow our blogs!  (Our Heritage Books & Maps blog isn’t presently as active as the Heritage Collectibles one.)
 https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com https://heritagebooksandmaps.com

This will also be the location of The Grief Warrior support groups and eventual drop in center.

Our other locations:

Oxford – The Undercover Antique Mall, 960 Main Street.   (207) 539-4149.
We have some great, less expensive inventory for you to check out at the Undercover Antique Mall, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm!  We’re in booth #56.

Scarborough – The Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, 578 U S Route 1.  (207) 229-4263.  Looking for cookbooks and kitchen-related items?  Check out our small space (#99) at the Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm!

Waterville –  Hathaway Mill Antique Mall, 10 Water St.   (207) 877-0250 
We now have a space (Booth #23) in the brand spanking new Hathaway Mill Antique Mall!  Here you’ll find only items produced in or before 1965.

Westbrook – The Den of Antiquities, 1399 Bridgton Rd.  (207) 650-3007.
Just ask for us by name, or by booth 56!  The Den of Antiquities is a wonderful antique shop with loads of great items, including our own!  Please come check us out, Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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