I recently sat down and generated a list of 30 words that could be used to describe grief.  Obviously this list relates to my experience with grief, so I am interested to see if anyone else can relate with some of these words.  I plan on doing a series of postings that will not only define these words, but expand on why I thought they would be good descriptors.  The first word I chose was:

Relentless:  Defined as unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh; unrelenting

There were days I would fight as hard as I could to push my emotions back down.  Some days I would win this battle and some days I would not.  Eventually it would wear on me to the point that I would have to deal with whatever it was that was bothering me at the time.  Grief would not be ignored. 

After the death of my daughter Katie, I had the strength to ignore it for long periods of time; in fact, I pushed it deep inside of me for almost a year, never speaking of it.  I thought I had won the war, but little did I know a new battle was about to be unleashed on me.  Just when I let my guard down, it pounced on me again and this time, it would not let up.  It was fierce and it started to really kick my ass about the same time I experienced the death of my son Noah.  I had no more fight left inside of me and I was sent into a tail spin I never thought I could pull out of, but I did.  I finally gave in and surrendered to grief and the process of recovery.  If it wasn’t for grief’s relentless attempts of making me stop and acknowledge what I had gone though, I would still be running and hiding from the pain which would have ultimately prolonged the process we all must travel one way or the other.

Anyone have other thoughts on this word?

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User Comments ( 6 )

  • An excellent word. I’ve said that Grief moves in, puts its stinky feet on your couch and demands to be fed.

  • Erika

    since you encouraged me to pitch in, i will… 🙂

    grief, for me, is most certainly relentless. like you, i have lost two children. i lost my son, arthur, november the fourth, 2007. my son, erik, was still in the NICU at the time, fighting for his life. i had to partially submerge my grief for arthur in order to be present for erik, who needed me. i walked the halls of the hospital in tears, choking back pain and rage when people would say, ‘at least you have another one’ or ‘good thing you had two’, as if i had a ‘spare’. often, that is what i would say, ‘i didn’t have a spare!!!’. people can really say some screwed up things when they don’t know what to say….

    after erik came home, my grief for arthur was pushed down more as the demands of a young, tiny, premature baby took over my days and nights. when i woke up that morning and found erik next to me, blue and bleeding from the mouth, my wall came crashing down. the next ten days were spent in the PICU as erik fought for his life once again. when the fight was over and i was left with empty arms, grief took me down to the ground and nearly took me completely under. there were times, in those early days, when i would try to walk down the hallway and i would just fall right where i stood, crumbling to the ground in grief. these days, i don’t outwardly crumble to the ground, but only because i have never stood back up again. inside, i still crawl. the weight of grief, i personally feel, will never allow me to stand erect again.

    i have another son, my youngest, who now needs me. i smile, i laugh, i play, and part of me still struggles for every breath. sometimes, i hear a baby crying. i think it’s my son and i run to him but find him fast asleep. sometimes, i hear children giggling but there is no child there. my mind is broken, just like my heart. people see me with my young son, now 25 months, and say with such wistfulness how brief childhood is, telling me to savor every moment. every time, rage leaps into my throat and i struggle with what to say. 1) they don’t know anything about the brevity of childhood and 2) how dare they entreat me to mourn my living child! i can’t afford that kind of grief!! they fill me with fear when they talk that way, bring on more fear of loss! often, i have responded, ‘at least your children are still living’. or even a completely honestly, ‘i can’t mourn my living child’. most recently, i tried a more compassionate approach, telling one mother, ‘you haven’t lost anything. you have all of those ages and stages wrapped up in one wonderful, young man’. she actually cried, thanking me for saying that. i walked away with my own grief waves crashing inside, just like the tides. they wash in, they wash out, but they will always wash back in again. i crawl through life, hands and knees. only those who crawl with me understand.

  • It has been 8 1/2 months now since the death of my only son Nicholas. He was 21 years old, and about to begin his senior year in college with a degree in Criminal Justice. When you mention the word Relentless, I think of my quest to find out who murdered my son, because I owe it to him, myself, his mother, his only sister, and my family to do all that I can to find the truth of what happened to him. Secondly, I think about the Relentless grief and emotional toll that we all endure everyday. While also trying to function and survive day to day.

    Thank you so much for this website. It truly helps me to carry on.


  • Jaime Longueira

    Relentless in it’s pursuit and vicious in it’s assault on us sometimes…I fall apart, I wont fight it like most men…women work better in terms of emotional release I think…CRY get IT out…we can go back to being tough guys afterward…LET’S BE HUMAN FIRST…GRIEVE OUT LOUD…it’s really ok…

  • Relentless is a good word. At times I feel wow light then the darkness overwhelms.