September 24 2013
Written By
Barbara Karnes, RN
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The Emptiness of Grief


barbara - August 13 2020

Hi Rav, an interesting part of life is we tend to not appreciate something until it is gone. So normal but doesn’t make it hurt any less. You might write your dad a letter and tell him from your heart all the thoughts and feelings you are having with him gone—the I wish I had, the how much you miss him. Write from your heart and tears and then burn the letter and scatter the ashes to the wind. It might be good for your mum to write one also. Blessings! Barbara

Rav - August 13 2020

I just lost my Dad to cancer at the beginning of July. He had been fighting it for almost two years and I really felt he was getting better, then all of a sudden he started declining. To begin with I was in shock and now the reality has started to hit. Me and my mum took care of him the last 10 months as he had lost his mobility. I never use to have time to do anything because I would be helping to care for my Dad. I use to complain all the time because I never got time to just do what I wanted. Now I feel so guilty for feeling like that. I’d give anything to go back and care for my Dad. The emptiness I feel is horrible. Me and my mum are really struggling. It’s just me and her left in the house now. My brothers don’t even come to check up on her and it’s really frustrating me. I just feel so lost right now.

Jasleen - May 28 2020

I lost my beloved mother in March 2020.. my
Life has been so empty without her.. I have no clue how I m gonna live my long life with the only person who loved me more than herself.
May never recover. I miss her.. I cry every night n every day n all the time…
Reading the lines made me feel I can relate the way of pain mentioned in article…
Thank you

Ellen - January 06 2020

I just lost my sister. She was my second mom. She had Parkinson’s and it is a very dehabilatating disease. She lived 6 hours away,so it was difficult to see her often. I’m so happy she isn’t suffering but I feel SO empty. I was closest to her and my other sibling who died three years ago. I am grateful for my supportive husband, children and know it takes time to grieve.

Gill - December 17 2019

The anniversary of my husbands death is approaching and I’m feeling sad and empty. He died 13 years ago. It’s very true that you never stop missing a loved one, just have to learn to live with it. I wish I could be happier, but I don’t think I ever will. My heart has a big hole in it left by his death. Don’t get me wrong, I live my life, I work, have a lovely family and grandchildren, friends and a partner of 3 years. Previous to him, I was with someone for 6 years. But they aren’t him. He was my soulmate, my best friend and we met very young and married young, grew up together and had a family. He can’t be replaced, I understand that, but I miss him so very much and I miss the life we had too. I feel sad for all the things he has missed. He would of so loved the 10 grandkids we have now, would of loved that he could teach them stuff and they would of adored him. It’s always worse this time of year as he died on 2 January and was taken to the hospice on Christmas Eve. People ask me if I’m looking forward to Christmas…… I smile and say yes…. but I hate it. Thank you for your wise and kind words. I will allow myself this sadness and these tears. Xx

Vanessa Stirling - May 04 2019

Sometimes things about the loss of a loved one gets so fuzzy and confusing. So many questions and little answers are known. But your post brought comfort and clarity on where I’m at right now in the process of losing my only 35 year old sweet son, Joshua. He passed last June 12th, 2018 from a sickle cell fatal crises and it has been devastating to say the least. I feel guilty to move on without him. I feel at peace he’s no longer in pain but then it will sway back to wanting him physically here with me because I miss him so much. Thank you for giving me insight on this agonizing grief process of loss and guide through the process.

Stephanie Spataro - April 10 2019

Grief is something that can last forever. Especially with love. It has been 14 years since my first love passed away and his birthday is today. Still shedding tears 14 years later. I will take your kind words and remember to take it easy today. 💔 Definitely feel that hole in my heart today.

Barbara - February 09 2019

Little Flower, I am so sorry for your loss. At a time like this there are no words to bring comfort. You might write your sister a letter. Put all of your tears, feelings and thoughts on paper. With love and confusion in your heart write about the good times, the challenging times, the guilt, the frustration, the overwhelming sadness. Put it all down on paper. Then burn the letter and release the ashes to the sky, to the wind. You might help your mother do the same. My blessings are with you and your family. Barbara

Littleflower - February 09 2019

I just lost my sister to suicide, and the emptiness is so raw. The unanswered questions we will never know. why didn’t any of us see how bad it was for her. How could she. why did she. watching the pain my 93 year old mother is going through the guilt so many of us feel, the never to hear her voice again or see her vibrant smile. my heart hurts so much. trying to be strong for other family and reaching out to all her friends who loved her so much and their hurt. I just want my sister back. I know she is with the lord because he is a loving God and has found her peace and forever a sweet angel and with my dad. just getting through the day sometimes feels impossible. I know time will help and one day at a time, however sometimes it is one minute at a time.

Janet - December 19 2018

At last i have found people who understand how I feel.,,,
I’ feel for you all having lost my Lovely kind caring Dad to dementia 15 month a ago,
I have this awful emptiness inside..when I go out I feel lost, restless its awful but I’m hoping time will heal xx

Scott McGowan - April 26 2018

My wife of 23 years with no known heart condition dies of a sudden cardiac arrest in August of 2017. We were also in business together for a little over 20 years at the time of her passing. The feelings of emptiness were quite profound for the first few months – a whole different aspect of the experience of loss apart from the pain and sadness.

After 8 months I find that the emptiness is still there, but is, in a sense more in the background rather than the foreground of my mind. I use my time differently. Her absence seems more foreign and strange at this point than upsetting. I’m not sure how else to describe it. It’s like I’m a stranger in my own life, yet I have adjusted to this odd dimension of my existence, especially when I am home.

I have cried my heart out and most days now I just have a moment or two on average of tears. It happens at unpredictable times, but I know to expect it to wash over me at some point or two during the day. It’s just seems odd that it only lasts half a minute or less because crying my heart out had come to be such an unpleasant but new, normal.

I don’t feel guilty to be feeling better. I’m happy to be feeling better and I know she would want me to heal and keep moving forward with a better quality of life.

It is so odd for “we” to have become “me”, especially with no warning.

I was finishing authoring a book with her help at the time of her fatal cardiac arrest. I returned to it 7 months later and it is now up on Amazon.

How strange for her to not have shared that exciting moment of accomplishment. How strange to not be able to watch movies together and share our thoughts on the commercial breaks. No more lazy days together. No more nights out singing karaoke or dancing to a band we both like. No more inside jokes. No more running a business together. No more helping our 19 year old son transition and grow into young adulthood. No more vacations together.

What a harsh reality I have had to learn to accept. Though she was 15 years my senior, we were soulmates and thought we had another 10 to 15 years to grow old together.

She always told me that she knew she would pass before me and that she wanted me to find someone else. Just never thought it would be so soon, let alone without warning. We were getting ready to plan and pay for a winter tropical vacation.

I know I’ll find someone else. It’s just a matter of time and some more healing. Dating sites seem like a crapshoot. I’m sure it will seem strange for awhile when I find the next right someone.

The future has never seemed so uncertain to me. At age 51 I am starting back at square one as far as having a life partner / companion.

I know she would want me to view this prospect as an adventure, but she’s still my first choice, but like Mrs. Sandberg’s book states, option A no longer exists….

Life goes on and I will make the best of everything and do her proud by slowly beginning to live life more and more fully once again…

Steph - January 07 2018

I disagree. I think a person can very well “heal” and “recover” from loss…and the grief that comes with it. Healing does not mean you won’t miss or long for your loved one. But missing and longing is not grief. Nor is it mourning. God bless everyone.

barbara karnes - September 11 2017

Chris, I read your comment about the emptiness you are feeling. Your father’s death two months ago is still like an open wound, a gaping, ragged, horribly painful wound. This wound will gradually heal but the scar of that wound will always be there. Time is the only thing that heals the wound. You don’t recover, you don’t really heal (even though I just used the word) from grief, you learn how to live with it. Time fills in the space between the pain. This will get better. The challenge here is to live and love inspite of the loneliness.
My blessings are with you. Barbara

Chris Fenton - September 09 2017

My dad died suddenly two months ago at the age of 59. As an adult he became more like a close friend than a father and always put me and my two younger brothers first before his own needs. If I had issues with my wife or kids he would be the first port of call for advice. If I watched a great movie or tv show I would be on the phone talking to him about it. But now there is nobody on the other end of the line. My mentor is gone and now I need to move on without him but this is difficult. Things that I used to enjoy I don’t and a rarely look forward to events these days. I just feel hollow. Empty. I’ve experienced anxiety and depression in my past but this feels a lot different. I can still function, eat and sleep but I just feel like I’m going through the motions, like I’m on auto pilot or something. I’m assuming this is grief and things will get better but boy it sucks right now…

Barbara Karnes - August 03 2017

Pennu, I noticed your comments. As the article says "Emptiness is a normal, natural part of the grieving process. I also acknowledge the hollowness of words from others to “make it better.” I am sorry for your losses. Sometimes life is very, very difficult. Blessings to you. Barbara

Pennu - August 02 2017

I feel so much emptiness since my father died. I also lost my husband and my mother in the past 4 years

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