How Do You Write About Grief?

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

~Edna St. Vincent Millay


We all experience grief and loss. Some of us more than others. There is no escaping its grip.

The longer we live, the more we lose.

The grief of losing a thing, and the fear of losing it,
are equal.”     

In trying to comfort others, or share our grief experience, we get stuck in the sphere of emotion and physical sensation. How do we speak about grief?

We turn to metaphor and imagery.

A black hole.  A sinking ship. A shredded heart. Time stands still. Grief eats like acid.

Sometimes, grief can be described in the same way as love.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.”      

For is there grief without love?

Siesta Keys Beach, FL

“All you can do is learn to swim.”

Author Anne Lamott writes, “You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

Siesta Keyes Beach, Sarasota, FL. March 2019

Author: EvelynKrieger

I'm a people watcher and word crafter, author of fiction and essays. I also blog on living the creative life during hard times. When not writing, I work as a private educational consultant. Special interests: dance, the moon, astronauts, beaches, poetry, staying alive.

21 thoughts on “How Do You Write About Grief?”

  1. Enriching and thought-provoking quotes about grief … it was only as I got into my thirties I began to understand that I would lose more and more people … a saddening awareness of reality. The ocean metaphor is so true, not quite sure I agree with the Seneca quote though. The fear is debilitating but the actual grief off the scale, or so I think. Beautiful photos to accompany your post on a very difficult subject … one that should be talked and shared more openly with one another.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There is so much strength and resilience in your post, Evelyn. Your words touched my heart. Grief is hard to describe. And for some, they never learn to dance or they may avoid dancing altogether. For others, dancing reinforces the void left behind. For me, it is both at different times. For all that you have lost, I hope you dance with hope, with those who comfort you, and with the kind of freedom that allows further healing and salutogenesis. Grief may hide behind metaphors and emotions, but its true form exists somewhere, somehow. I bet that grief’s true form remains a mystery. Nevertheless, we see glimpses of it in the voids it leaves behind and in our strengths to adapt to our changed selves post-loss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, you, G. L. My hope is to help others in their grief journey, which really never ends but hopefully gets better. You express yourself so eloquently and offer much wisdom, as well. I feel honored to have made your acquaintance.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Evelyn. Your writing always touches my heart. I lost my mother in 2017 & I miss her more deeply than words can say. It’s so true that the longer we live, the more loss we will experience. Yet, I’m learning, as you said, that grief is intertwined with love. My mother is no longer here as she once was, but her love remains with me and comforts my hurting heart.

    Thank you for your healing words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The thing about writing is through words and envisioning; sitting down and getting dirty with how an emotion might look or drawing on life experience, you are able to live many lives, touch many hearts, and expand how you write about feeling.

    Felt deeply, I enjoy Anne Lamott’s quote as well as your own words on the power of metaphor and imagery!


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