We don’t talk about this grief experience very often. It is a truth though. When someone we love dies, we change.

Grief rocks us. My friend said, “The me that I knew is gone. I am not who I was before he died. I am grieving my son, and I am grieving myself as well. I have changed.”

Then she said, “And because I have changed, the relationship with my husband has changed. I miss the relationship we had before.”

So many aspects of grief are not recognized. We don’t name them. I applaud her insight and awareness. Sometimes grief is just one big ball of intensity and it is difficult to name all of the things that we are experiencing.

When we lose someone we love, our inner world can change. Because everything is different, we can sometimes feel inadequate; there can be a loss of confidence. We experience things that we never have before; the intensity of emotions can be alarming and debilitating. We are exhausted. Grief takes all of our energy. Sometimes for a lot longer than we anticipate.

Yes, the loss of who I once was. This is real and it is uncomfortable. Often I will hear people say – “Who am I now?”

As we adjust to a world without our person in it – we begin to realize that the world is different. A spouse, a sibling, a child, a friend…. Who are we without our person?

Who are we on the outside? Have our hobbies changed, our friends changed, our physical environments changed?

Who are we on the inside? Has our confidence wavered, or is our faith in question, or are we angry more, less tolerant.

I am grieving the loss of myself – because our world has changed, we change. When we acknowledge this as part of our grieving experience, we can hold ourselves with more compassion as we feel the loss.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs