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  • Sarah Menzies

What's in a word.

Grief - 13th Century, from the French word grever, meaning to burden, and the Latin gravare, to make heavy.


I've been considering Grief. I feel my grief changing and I'm unsure what that looks like. It got me thinking where does the whole idea of grief, as an emotion, come from.


When I was a teenager I studied A level English Language. This was partly because I was interested in writing, but also because I wanted to avoid the sceptre of Shakespeare that I thought would be involved with the Literature course. One area of my A level was a section on language change throughout the centuries. My teenage self wasn't impressed, but as an adult I quite often consider words, where they come from, and what they mean now compared to the past.


Grief, just one word to cover so many emotions. If someone says they are angry or sad you know what mood to expect. But when someone says they are grieving, it gives no true insight into their mindset. It could be sorrow, depression, anger, anxiety, numbness, shock, aloofness, some, or all of them, in a dizzying display of inconsistency, or none of them at all.


My grief has shifted, for the moment, from shock and loss to a more deep seated sorrow. I miss Lauren, the person she was, the laughs we would have, and the ones we should still be having. I miss her picky eating, her messiness, and even her insistence on wearing her dressing gown at every opportunity.


The words don't fully give the actual emotion, they are the best I can do. As I am told often, "There are no words". Therein lies the biggest problem. How can we talk about grief when we don't have the words to describe it. When the word we use, grief, is wholly inadequate to depict the feelings and sentiments that we are undergoing.


I guess some things can only be felt in your heart, and only truly understood if you have the misfortune to experience them first hand.


What I would say is that there are large moments of normality, when Lauren's death does not dictate my thoughts fully. Those moments are helped by the inane conversations I have with friends. The truth is I dont need them to understand, to try and come up with something deep and meaningful to make sense of it all, it would be nice but let's face it, it is not possible. The reality is they do help by giving me some normality, some respite, from the "Grief".












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