What is Absent Grief?

By: Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation
Monday, January 3, 2022

Losing a loved one and going through their service at a funeral home in Amboy, IL is one of the hardest parts of life. What happens if you can’t grieve the loss of a loved one? What do you do if you feel like your emotions are frozen in place? Working through your grief over the loss is one of the best ways to heal from it, but if you can’t grieve, you might have absent grief.  

Absent grief is when someone shows little to no signs of normal grief, such as crying, lethargy, missing the deceased, or anger. Many doctors believe that this kind of grief comes from an underlying avoidance or denial of the loss. Symptoms of absent grief include no signs or symptoms of grieving whatsoever, irritability, forgetting about the loss, not feeling connected to the loss, and denial.  

Though absent grief is very common, many people don’t know much about it. Here are some fast facts about absent grief to provide guidance and context:  

 
  • Grief is often unexpected – Grief looks and feels different for everyone, so it’s often tough to pinpoint when someone is experiencing absent grief. Check in with yourself or the grieving person to see how you or they are feeling.  
  • Avoiding grief isn’t obvious – There are many ways people that experience absent grief try to avoid grieving. For example, they can focus on taking care of others, lose themselves in drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, or dive into work in order to distract themselves. 
  • Absent grief can have physical symptoms – Holding in your feelings of loss can take a toll on the body, leading to heart palpitations, insomnia, fatigue, or eating disorders.  
  • Death isn’t the only event that can cause absent grief – Other life events besides death can cause absent grief, including divorce, job loss, regret, or loss of a romantic relationship or a friendship. 
  • Anticipatory grief can lead to absent grief – Anticipatory grief is when someone grieves a loss before its actually happened. Oftentimes, if you grieve before a death, you won’t feel as much pain after the death.   
  • You can move on - You can move on from absent grief. Once you accept the loss you can work through your pain and grief to move forward with your life. If you need help doing so, don’t be ashamed. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.  funeral home in Amboy, IL
  • Absent grief isn’t just denial – The “denial” stage of grief is when you try and deny the death happened. Most people face denial in the first few hours or days after a loss. But denial becomes absent grief when the denial continues on much longer.  
  • It’s OK if you weren’t close to the deceased – Some might feel like they have absent grief if they aren’t grieving, but it might simply be that they just weren’t that close to the deceased. If that’s the case, it’s OK. You don’t have to demonstrate deep grief over someone you weren’t close to.  

Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation is here to help if you have more questions on absent grief, dealing with a loss, or Amboy, IL funeral homes. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.

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