Complicated Grief



I am haunted by unremitting waves of helplessness that threaten to engulf the futile thread of hope to which I cling – hope that I could somehow ease the pain pulsating through my daughter’s veins. She has suffered a loss like no other: the death of her little girl  – a brave, remarkable and stunningly beautiful child who died over six years ago, shortly after her fourth birthday.

I silently witness my daughter facing each day without herdaughter, resolutely putting one foot in front of the other as she attends to the needs of her family. Her pain lurks furtively beneath the surface, eager to pounce in the face of what could have been … shouldhave been … school plays …  dance recitals … birthday parties. Her tears speak a language only grieving parents understand.

Her loss is vast and untouchable, her suffering tenacious and enduring. It is not enough that I listen, or offer compassion – it will never be enough. I am powerless to expunge or diminish her grief, and knowing this supersedes my great sorrow at having lost my granddaughter.

My daughter harbours no anger, no bitterness – not even towards the well-intentioned people who offer unhelpful platitudes (“It’s God’s will” … “It was

meant to be”). She is a reservoir of tenderness and compassion, sprinkling shining drops of love all around her. A spiritual person who believes in a higher power, she does not blame her God for the death of her child.                 

But I am less forgiving. Privy to the crushing sorrow that at times shatters her hard-earned composure, I am tormented by my quest for accountability, wishing for a higher power upon whom to foist my relentless anguish. Without a God to blame, there is no God to forgive.

A gentle breeze brushes away the tired cobwebs that imprison my tangled thoughts, setting them free and infusing my mind with sacred silence. I am wrapped in its cloak …  feeling its stillness …  hearing its hushed voice inside my mind … tasting the grace of its loving embrace. I reach a maze of dust-covered windows, and sense a stirring behind them. Trembling, I press my nose against the window, a glimmer of hope entering my being as my eyes rest on the misty silhouette of a woman.

She turns to face me, an ethereal vision of love. It is my daughter, arms stretched towards me – a gentle invitation.

I am unable to resist. Side by side, fingers entwined, we inhale the aura of possibility and the sweet scent of forgiveness.

Light filters through the window and I am alone, filled with the soft serenity of a new dawn.


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Posted on June 24, 2018 by Adele Gould
In: Bereavement, Uncategorized
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