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The Gray Area of Grief

The ones we have loved and lost may be gone, but their words of wisdom stay with us.

464 days...

It has been 1 year, 3 months and 9 days since I lost him. My strong, funny and smart dad lost his battle to mental illness on January 29, 2021. Ever since then, I have found myself floating between deep grief and days of happiness.

My dad, preaching one of his many wonderful sermons.

My dad, preaching one of his many wonderful sermons.

Are you in the grief gray area?

I call this back and forth feeling the grief "gray area". Gray area days are days when I might start feeling despair, retreat to the solitude of my bedroom to weep, and then in the next hour, be laughing with my children or enjoying time with friends.

This back and forth gray area time can be confusing and lead to so many questions:

Which feeling is appropriate for the amount of time since the death?

How does society think I should be acting after this amount of time?

If you are in this grief "gray area" like I am, perhaps you have come to the same conclusion I have: it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter what part of your grief journey you are on, or how long it has been since you suffered your loss...you can act however you wish.

Any feeling is okay

It is okay to feel:

-Sadness

-Happiness

-Despair

-Joy

-Guilt

-Love

-Anger

-Coziness

-Longing

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Gray Area Tips

When you are in the grief "gray area" it is easy to slip back and forth between feelings.

Tips to turn the gray into peace:

  • Go for a walk: nature therapy is free and effective
  • Write or draw: tapping into the creative side of the brain can also tap into joy
  • Call a loved one: this call can be to vent or cry, ask for time together, or simply to connect with the world (less isolation)
  • Photos: look at photos & videos of your lost loved one. This can cause tears but many times will bring a smile to your face as well.
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Lastly, allow it...

When those gray days become grayer, and the despair and reality of your grief hits like a ton of bricks, my only advice is to simply allow it.

Sometimes, you need to allow the crying. The anger and despair at the situation to leak out and consume you. I know this is not healthy long term, but truly, I have found that grief bursts like this help. They allow a little of the deep hurt out into the world, and a little more joy in.

Whatever you do to relieve and live with your grief is up to you.

Blessed be your journey.

© 2022 Katie Palmer

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