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Delayed Grief

Guest Rachel T

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Guest Rachel T

Hello everyone,

I'm new to this site, and am looking for support in helping me with what i'm going through.

I developed severe M.E. 14 years ago - 18 months before my beloved mother died. The illness destroyed my life, and although i was on the up by the time i lost my mum, i had in no way recovered, either physically or emotionally. Added to the burden was the death of my grandmother 2 days after my mother died, and then two weeks later, all in October '96, I was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.

After a dreadfully stressful year fighting the cancer I did go into (and stay) in remission, but the years since then have been one long struggle because i never recovered my health due to M.E. The problem for me now is that having coped reasonably well with all these difficulties for many years, I have suddenly been hit by the most unbearable outpouring of grief, anger and depression. The worst of it is definitely because I didn't grieve for my Mum, and she was absolutely my best friend and soulmate. I am suddenly realising what I have lost, and other losses are also raising their head too (such as for my grandmother, my long term relationship, not having been able to have kids...the list goes on!).

In regard to my mother, I literally 'blocked her out' for all those years, so on top of a 'normal' albeit very intense grief, i think it has been made much worse because it's been bottled up for so long. in the years that i didn't grieve i didn't even think about my mum (except missing her when i was crying over other things, such as my illness). it is as if it is a debt that has to be paid off, but with added interest for all the years i put it off . I'm just wondering if anyone can relate to anything i'm experiencing? at the moment my whole life is taken up with crying, shouting with anger, beating up the pillows, or simply collapsing and staring into space with exhaustion from it all. the difficult thing is not now being able to separate what is my physical condition and what is this massive emotional outpouring. i am hoping my underlying physical problems have improved, and that maybe that is why my body/ mind is letting this out now.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Wishing everyone else on this site luck in dealing with their grief and problems. It's definintely not something one can understand unless one's really been there.

Good wishes,

Rachel. x

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Hi Rachel. First let me offer you my condolences. I lost my Mother 4 weeks ago and still not really believing it. While I am not experiencing delayed grief, I cry often and talk to her all the time, I think we all share a bond here. It is just something another cannot understand unless they have experienced it. The loss of a parent is a huge deal and all I can think of is allow yourself to feel what you need to feel now and let the grieving/healing begin. I spoke with a woman today who lost her Mom in 1988 and her eyes filled with tears as she told me about her Mom. I don't think we ever really "get over" something like this, but with time and gentle compassion toward yourself, peace can be achieved.

Warmest Regards


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Hi Rachel

what a hard time you seem to have had. I always feel so alone in my grief, then I hear of others stories on this board and it makes me realise I am not alone.

I totally get what you are describing about delayed grief. My mother died ten years ago, and only a few months ago did I realise that I had done no grieving at all and now it is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I found this message board and if you spend some time browsing you will find some other similar threads about delayed grief. At first I didnt think it was 'possible' to be experiencing such intense emotions over something that happened so long ago, but my feelings are definitely proving otherwise, and I think you hit the nail on the head when you said

I literally 'blocked her out' for all those years, so on top of a 'normal' albeit very intense grief, i think it has been made much worse because it's been bottled up for so long. in the years that i didn't grieve i didn't even think about my mum ...... it is as if it is a debt that has to be paid off, but with added interest for all the years i put it off.
. That is exactly how I feel. It feels like a big black hole sometimes and I don't know if I will ever get over it. I have been going to counselling and it is definitely my lifeline at the moment, I could not deal with all of this on my own - are you seeing a counsellor or therapist or is it something you would consider? It really helps to have someone listen for as long as you need.

I wrote a poem which I posted in the poetry section called 'Grief's Blindfold', perhaps you might relate to what I describe in there. Poetry is very cathartic, maybe it is something you could think of trying at this difficult time?

I don't know if I really have any advice about how to get through this because I am struggling so much myself, all I can say is that I totally relate to what you are saying about not having grieved, and it is definately REAL. I guess we just have to learn to take each day as it comes and support ourselves as best we can? I don't know, I feel so lost some days.

Keep posting and maybe we can give each other some guidance through all this. You must be a much stronger person than you think you are to have dealt with so much and still be here today, albeit in an unhappy state - that is what others keep saying to me, although it doesn't feel that way!

Wishing you some peace and nurturing at this time,


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Something similar happened to me. 20 years ago I had cancer & while I was going through treatment, I held everything together. I consoled my parents, built a relationship with a new boyfriend, took control of my health issues, helped others in the hospital dealing with the same diagnosis, kept in touch with my job. It wasn't until it was all over, & my life looked perfectly normal again, that I had trouble coping with what I just went through. By then, friends & family couldn't understand why I had those feelings now. I ended up going to a professional counselor(with no medication prescribed), for only a few months, but it was exactly what I needed. Talking through those delayed feelings & hearing how normal all of my concerns were, helped me work through it. I can honestly say that those feelings were resolved & I was able to move forward.

Best regards.

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Guest Rachel T

Hi Rachael,

Thanks so much for your message. I think you are right- it's not really possible to give advice , except to be kind to ourselves and to try to keep going. Yes, i am seeing a counsellor, and i don't think i would have got through the last 18 months without her. Talking about how i feel definitely helps. I will look at that poem you wrote too. I'm extremely tired today so won't write any more. I don't get on the computer every day but would love to keep in touch nonetheless if you can be patient with me! Would be great to hear more about you/ your life if you get time to write, or if you want to write about your mother and why she was so special to you then that would great too.

Bye for now and warm wishes,

Hope to write more soon,


P.s. Thanks so much to the other people who posted too- sorry not to reply individually - struggling! R x

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  • 4 months later...

That is what I feel it is. It is someone who for one reason or another has not been able to grieve. Whether it be small children that you have to be "strong" for, the "shock" of death that just won't let you grieve and I'm sure there are many more. Everyone needs to eventually get it outor they take the chance of exploding with emotion. I feel it is much worse to hold it in and repress your feelings.

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Hi there Not2B4got10

I'd like to suggest that you create a new topic, telling us a little about yourself and your loss (your story), in "Behaviours in Bereavement", so that your post is seen and that way you will receive many more responses ... additionally Marty (our wonderful counsellor on this forum) has either written or uploaded some articles on this subject and I'd highly recommend you surf around this extensive resource on the Grief Healing page.

In the interim, here is an article that you might like?


We have already been speaking via the Messenger, so I will keep this brief :-)

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Rachel, yes I have it too. I didn't get over my mom and then my dad died and its a double whammy. Like someone said to me in a post there is no timetable and we all heal in different ways and in times. You had to do what you had to do to get thru what you were going thru. I'm in tears, my fuse is extremely shotrt and I think you are right that now you can let down your guard a little you are dealing what's been tucked away in your mind. I can relate and wish you the best.

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