Trevor Hayley


Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant

A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life

Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia



Grief – I don’t know how to feel

Grief is, because love is #10

Can grief be defined? I mean, when someone is alone, in the middle of the night, when all is dark and quiet, can this overwhelming experience, coupled with the confused emotions be defined? I will leave that as a question for you to answer for yourself, because grief is so individual of an experience. No two grief journeys are going to be the same. Not only are we all different as humans, but the relationship that we have with the loss is also so individual. If you think of two different people, experiencing the same loss; for example children of a deceased parent, although there will be similarities and a shared experience of sorts, there will also be differences.

Grief is not neat, or concise; it is messy. If you are finding yourself grieving right now, and are looking for some semblance of order, or even sanity, these qualities may be elusive. If anything, when we are completely alone, not having to keep up appearances for the world around us, the experience may feel more like insanity and disorder. You may be thinking “I am losing my mind!”

If these thoughts are overwhelming you to the point that you feel something is really wrong, it may be worth talking things over with an experienced counselor. This is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that something significant has happened that you need help with. But there is no correct way to grieve; the best that any of us can do is just ‘go with it’ which may lead to times where there are feelings of insanity and disorder.

For me, some of the best quotes of the grief experience, come from those, who as opposed to trying to give a nice concise expression to grief, just express the dramatic emotions and experience. We tend to resonate with such quotes, as we consider our own grief experience. The following quote from CS Lewis, prolific author and thinker, including the Narnia series, when expressing his grief over the death of his wife, Joy Davidman in 1960, expresses his own journey so well:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or, perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

Something like fear, but not being afraid; fluttering in the stomach, restlessness, yawning, mildly concussed or drunk. There is such a breadth of experience in words and phrases such as these, inviting us to consider them, their impact and implications for ourselves. By not providing a concise definition, quotes can become more of a shared human experience.

Just remember you have experienced a loss. Normally when we lose something, maybe something valuable, we will do everything in our power to find it. But, some losses will never be found. Life will somehow needed to adjust to take into account the fact that the loss will always be there. This finality is what makes grief, although critical to our survival, so hard.

The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash


Trevor Hayley
Servicing Greater Adelaide and Regional South Australia

Phone: 0409 107 372


ABN 73 737 609 724

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