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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Silent sorrow

A few weeks ago, someone used the term 'silent sorrow' in a conversation with me. That term stuck inside my mind, although I did try to forget about it. However, 'silent sorrow' doesn't disappear. It's always hidden in the back of your mind. Sometimes, new acquaintances touch upon this subject and then a sudden burst of grief appears.

The term 'silent sorrow' often implies that grief is private and cannot be shared in public. 'Silent sorrow' relates to traditional relationships (eg, pregnancy loss) and to non-traditional relationships, like "extramarital affairs, cohabitation, and homosexual relationships" (eg, 2007 study 'Silent sorrow: Grief and the loss of significant others').

In 1996 or 1997, I was confronted with a pregnancy loss. I felt no grief, just relief. Apart from day one, I had never felt any joy about that second pregnancy. For months, I had a gloomy feeling about it. Only after the pregnancy loss, I dared talking about my feelings. I was not surprised to learn that the foetus had had many defects.

Since my 2010 divorce, I have not spoken with my daughter (24), apart from an event in 2012 and in 2018. The first time was related to a divorce court session. The second time was a failed attempt at reconciliation. In the conversation of 2 weeks ago, we established that our new acquaintances frequently feel a need to judge and condemn. Hence, our grief became 'silent sorrow'.

Death and divorce may be common causes for 'silent sorrow' but I personally know of other situations that are similar or worse: a sudden financial inability to take care of your children. In my personal examples, such inability was the ultimate consequence of an earlier death and a divorce. Once again, such grief is (very) private and cannot be shared in public. Hence, no further details.

Another friend made me aware that 'silent sorrow' also occurs when you can no longer care for the health of a parent, a partner, a close friend or a child. I still remember my outbursts of grief before and after my multiple hospital and hospice visits to Joan, who was terminally ill. These outbursts allowed me to be cheerful during my visits.

Actually, I do not like writing this blog article at all. 'Silent sorrow' opens a wound that I prefer to be closed. Nevertheless, I think, feel and believe that I "must" write this article because else this topic will keep occupying my mind until I write about it. Please bear in mind that 'silent sorrow' is (very) different from self-pity, although the actual emotion might be (very) similar.

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.” A quote from The Brutal Truth (2015) by Jonathan Harnisch, an American author.

Silent sorrow in empty boats (1974) by Genesis
artists, instrumental, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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