Overwhelm leading to Speechlessness?

lonely man sitting along on bench


The experience of grievers seems to have common elements, one of which is speechlessness. In a certain stage, I was speechless. You can call it shock, or shock-induced speechlessness. Nevertheless – speechless.

Another common element in grief seems to be speechlessness in (some) people surrounding us. Some of my what I though of good friends have not found back to talking. Talking to me. I am puzzled. It is 2 years + and some friends have not spoken to me, some stopped after the initial condolences.

This is not about blaming those but finding reasons why this is or could be so. ‘Could be’ as I only know as much as to what has been said to me or other grievers.

Changes in the bereaved person:

  • Death and grieving changes us on a fundamental level
  • Grieving is intense, probably the most intense experience for me in my life so far
  • Grieving shakes the fundamental trust in life

Specifically what I have experienced:

  • I am more often honest and direct, even if it means confronting a friend: This is a change to how I was and reacted before. In the past, I let certain comments ‘wash over me’ whereas now I call on the ‘bulls..t’. This change has (probably) made me less socially digestible and for those who knew me before it is a definite change in character.
  • I make fewer excuses: I say what I want and what is important to me. I am more clear about priorities. 
  • I’m more open to accept help and am immensely grateful for it
  • I’m no longer overly accommodating or accepting of bad behaviour: As mentioned before I take less ‘bulls..t’. It does not always make it easier than glossing over. Which is probably why…
  • I’m more reactive and less passive: The positive side of this goes hand in hand with the negative side. I’m more often and openly angry at things. I don’t do things because everyone does them.

Many of the points above I assume make it a bit more challenging to deal with me. Especially those who knew me before and have an expectation that I still am and behave the way I did. Even I myself am challenged with the changes I have to get used to in myself. The fact is: It’s me. It’s my New Normal self… until it changes again. And it takes more energy to be someone else than I naturally am.

What has been said/written to me:

  • It’s been a while and I know that I have been quiet and non-responsive.
  • I know that on all our paths we have such circumstances and challenges.  Thanks for being an inspiration. Its my time to learn.
  • Thanks very much for your email and for sharing the feelings you are going through. I have realised that I am not as courageous nor as bold as I thought.
  • You have a very advanced soul to be able to cope with all you have had to face and I admire your resilience, your courage and your positive nature in dealing with these circumstances that life has thrown on your route.

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