31 Unpredictable Behaviors of Grief

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Someone once did a study and decided what the 5, or is it 7, stages of grief are. We are all humans and want to fit in so many of us look at those scholarly stages and try to decide where we may belong.

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I screamed in the car. That must be anger.

I cried in my bed. That must be depression.

I left his toothbrush by the sink. I’m thinking denial.

No. They did not arrive in a specific order and I’ve read enough blogs and books on the topic of grief for widows and now to understand that it is grief doesn’t follow any set sequence of behaviors or emotions.

It’s OK to not be Ok and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. And for a while people who are grieving will definitely feel like they don’t belong.

Today I am thinking about how unpredictable our behaviors are as we grieve a loved one.

As I think back on some of these episodes that I may or may not have experienced, I cringe and laugh that I even made it to today.

Has this happened to you? It’s OK if it hasn’t but it’s OK if it has too.

1. You have cried/ had to leave in the supermarket after seeing an item your loved one would like.

2. You buy their favorite food anyway.

3. Your eye twitches uncontrollably

4. You have suddenly lost weight.

5. You have unexpectedly gained weight.

6. You find your car keys at the bottom of the kitchen garbage bag

7. You sign up to sponsor ASPCA abandoned animals late at tonight.

8. Amazon delivers random packages you don’t remember ordering.

9. Your mouth hurts from grinding your teeth in your sleep.

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10. You suddenly no longer get a monthly menstruation.

11. You drink more alcohol to deal with depression.

12. You experience extreme exhaustion.

13. The doctor prescribes anxiety medication which you use and helps you numb.

14. Visiting a psychic medium to communicate with the dead is a legitimately good idea.

15. You talk to birds, find white feathers and read books about Near Death Experiences.

16. You have no desire for sexual relations ever again.

17. You are extremely horny.

18. Your heart aches with chest pains and shortness of breath. A broken heart is real.

19. You sleep too much; napping and not wanting to get up.

20. You can’t sleep; waking up in the middle of the night with a monkey mind that won’t stop.

21. You don’t want to go to church anymore.

22. You seek out religious support groups for help.

23. You sleep with your loved one’s dirty clothes because you like the lingering smell.

24. You talk to your loved one’s photo

25. You write your spouse a letter and compose a letter back from him to you.

26. You put a place setting out for dinner for your loved one.

27. You have dreams where your loved one came back and never really died.

28. You are convinced that your loved one is sending you signs from the other side.

29. You make crazy decisions like traveling by yourself to Thailand.

30. Decide to try moving forward with online dating.

31. Get a puppy.

It’s like one of those “never would I ever” moments.

Grief changes you. You don’t really have a choice in the matter.

You do have a choice in how you decide to live the rest of your life.

Grief can be cliff to multiple and very real physical symptoms. If symptoms persist and make it difficult to function in everyday activities, it is best to seek professional help. With the guidance of therapists, bereavement groups and medical professionals we can all get to the next best place to be.

Hospice and Community Care has a website filled with links for articles and resources available in your own area.

My mantra has always baby steps forward.

Grief never ends. I miss my mom and my dad and Mike and even Mike’s parents. A few years ago they were all part of our lives and our holidays. I know things change when your kids move out – but I think I have been through a lot of changes in the past few years.

My latest mantra I heard this week that stuck is “What you appreciate, appreciates.”

The more you appreciate what you have i.e. the people in your life, your health, your pets, the good weather etc. the more it comes back to you.

Check out the REVIEWS on my book about Life after Loss here:


9 Responses

    1. Thanks for reading. I’ve read about both 5 and 7 but also that it can be a whole mish mash of emotions and stages. You’re right – every person is different.

      1. My father and I were estranged when he committed suicide when I was 28. Without seeing him in a casket made grieving very hard, there’s no end of story. I’m not sure I’ve completely grieved because it causes so much pain, I just file it away. That’s obviiously that’s not the answer. 🙂

      2. I am so sorry for the loss of your father and for the estrangement. It never ends but we do live and learn from our losses. What a difficult situation for you – grieve when you can and live while you can. Hugs.

  1. #32 – You leave the supermarket on the verge of nervous breakdown after hearing 3 dead singers croon “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas three times before the checkout line. Major breakdown occurs when you get home before you unload groceries.

    Enjoyed this post.

    1. Absolutely. The music they play in the supermarket is the worst. I think that’s why those food delivery places do so well. Thanks for reading. 💕

  2. Grief is such a complex emotion. Reading through this, I saw myself in a lot of these! I recently had a friend who went through the same complex relationship I did with grief – lost two grandparents in a very, very short space of time – and it’s phenomenal how differently we all react. Like me, she grieved her grandmothers passing while she was still alive, while her grandfathers she very much struggled with both before and after!

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. Grief does hit hard and it can be alarming how it makes you behave.

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Runaway Widow
Join me, Kristin, on my journey to adjust to the sudden death of my husband and learn to live as a young, middle-aged, remarried widow.

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