Shadow Grief

Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows.
William Shakespeare

Shadow grief is the intense sadness that overcomes us when least expected, like a shadow from the past that darkens the day, the moment or the mood.(1)
Often called a grief burst, this reliving of grief may occur at any time, usually at the most unexpected moments, and comes and goes for a lifetime. While shadow grief is often associated with mothers whose children have died, anyone can experience this type of grief burst. 

To read about my experience with shadow grief, click December 26: Relearning the World


1. Healing and the Grief Process, Lynn Keegan, RN, editor. Boston: Delmar Publishers, 1997, p. 81.

To understand the many forms that shadow grief can take throughout our lives, I recommend:

Living in the Shadow of the Ghosts of Your Grief: A Guide for Life, Living and Loving by Alan Wolfelt, Companion Press, 2007.

Product Description:

Explaining how multitudes of North Americans are carrying the pain of all types of loss—not just the deaths of loved ones but also the loss of a spouse through divorce, children who leave home, and the decline of health as they age or get sick—this balanced resource empowers mourners and grief counselors to turn grief into an experience to be learned from. 

Defining the varieties of heartache and its consequences, this effective guide explores how to inventory, understand, embrace, and reconcile one's accumulated sorrow through a five-phase "catch-up" mourning process. Readers will learn to use a spiritual and holistic approach to examine and integrate the ignored loss from their pasts, so that they can go on to live fuller, more balanced lives.


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June  2016



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How complicated and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
. Mary Jane Moffat
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