Grief and Lingering Feelings of Resentment

Desert CactusDuring the past three years, I have chronicled my journey through grief, trying to make sense of the myriad emotional and physical stresses one has to deal with after a major loss, such as the death of one’s child or life mate/soul mate. I’ve explained that grief is not the simple and almost clinical state that Kübler-Ross’s five (or seven) stages of grief seems to indicate. Instead, there seems to be an infinite shading of emotion in the process we call grief.

Some of us do feel shock, denial, anger, guilt, sadness, depression, and acceptance, but most of us also feel anxiety, frustration, loneliness, confusion, despair, helplessness, panic, questioning (both as a need to know why and as a cry of pain), loss or gain of faith, loss of identity, loss of self-esteem, resentment, bitterness, isolation, inability to focus, suspended animation, waiting for we know not what, envy of those who are still coupled or who have yet to suffer a loss. And we suffer myriad physical symptoms such as queasiness, dizziness, sleep problems (too much or too little), eating problems (too much or too little), bone-deep pain, inability at times to breath or swallow, exhaustion, lack of energy, restlessness, and seemingly endless bouts of tears.

Except for sadness, I thought I’d pretty much dealt with most of grief’s effects, but recently I’ve become aware of lingering feelings of resentment. I’m mostly over the resentment of those who are still coupled, with only an occasional twinge of self-pity when I see couples out walking together, and I thought I’d come to terms with my resentment of his long illness and his leaving me here to deal with grief alone, but apparently a pool of resentment still lies deep within.

I am thin-skinned, taking offense at things that were not meant to be offensive, feeling hard done by when things do not turn out my way, railing against real or imagined unfairness. Of course, we all feel this way at times, but grief seems to take minor faults and magnifies them into major stumbling blocks. The death of the one person who connected us to life also makes us (well, me anyway) feel as if life should be granting us special privileges to make up for that great loss, but life doesn’t work that way.

I’m not proud of this resentment, but there it is. The good thing is that grief’s effects are now mostly making themselves known one at a time rather than all at once in a horrifying and cloudy kaleidoscope of feelings so that I can pay attention to the resentment, and perhaps get beyond this stage to a more even-tempered state.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

2 Responses to “Grief and Lingering Feelings of Resentment”

  1. lstocker13 Says:

    I lost my 2yr old almost a year ago due to an act that should have been prevented. Now I am dealing with criminal charges to go along with my ache. I have other children living and this is not the first child I have lost. It changes you every time you have to grieve over a loved one. I can honestly say that the person I was when I lost my first child is no where near who I am today. There are so many feelings that it is hard to put them into words because they sort of blend together. Then when you think are almost whole again all it takes is a small thing and all those feelings are right there again as new. I don’t think you ever really “get over” grief because of that fact. The mind remembers those feelings and there is no way to completely eradicate them. You just move on and hope the hole left stays covered until the next time. You can function and live and even be happy again but the hole never closes.

  2. Penny Adams Says:

    Grief is a never-ending affliction that is bound to us for life, but it is an emotion that is entirely our own. We grieve for ourselves, rather than the ones we have lost, and only by making adjustments to our own lives can we ever hope to get through it. We lean on our family, our friends, and in some cases, our faith. But despite our feelings of loneliness and despair, we are never really alone unless we choose to be. My heart goes out to all who have lost someone, as I know first hand how unbearable the pain is. Were it not for my amazing family and friends, I’m not sure that I would have made it this far. But I have made it! Never be reluctant to lean on those around you, whether it’s been only a few weeks or a few years. Facing your grief is the only way to get through it. And getting through it will be one of your biggest accomplishments in life.

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