65 Grief Words that Should Exist But Don't

Andrea Davis

5 min read

As we review the vocabulary surrounding grief, regrettably during periods of mourning, individuals frequently have thoughts, emotions, and encounters that appear resistant to verbal expression. This sensation of isolation and detachment leads us to feel as though our experiences are incomprehensible to others. Even as we muster the courage to articulate our sentiments to friends, employers, or therapists, we find ourselves grappling with an inability to find adequate words, resulting in a frustrating void of expression.

We often find ourselves asking, "Surely, there must be a term for this! Surely, there must be a specific word related to grief for this feeling!". Yet, after extensive searching and deliberation, when we conclude that such a word does not exist, it can exacerbate our sense of isolation. We could even think to ourselves, "With 360 million native English speakers and 1.5 billion total English speakers, if no one has coined a term for what I am experiencing, perhaps I truly am alone!"

Every year, millions of individuals grappling with grief seek solace and support, and although each person's grief is unique, we observe discernible commonalities among them. Nevertheless, due to the inadequacy of language in encapsulating our grief experiences, these shared aspects may not always be readily apparent. So, here is a list of 65 words that should exist but don’t. Perhaps you can relate to some of them. Send me a comment if you have a word that you're using that you'd like to see on this list.

1. Solo parent – a solo parent differs from a single parent in the sense that there is no other parent to turn to help with anything.

2. Deathiversary – This is the deceased persons death date.

3. Angelversary – the day their loved one gained their angel wings.

4. Funeversary - The anniversary of the funeral.

5. Happysad – this is the duality of grief where happy and sadness can coexist at the same time.

6. Griefjoy – this is the duality of grief where grief and joy can happen at the same time.

7. Griefshower - Grief tears that come during an otherwise happy moment.

8. Smilecry - When you're smiling because of happy memories while simultaneously crying because you miss them.

9. Grief-Friend – the one person that you can call anytime of the day or night, who is willing to just listen and be a heart with ears.

10. Grief-Tribe – the people that stayed after the dust settled and continue to support you in your grief journey.

11. Grief-Hero – the people that you can depend on every day, those cape-less crusaders who have powers of listening and empathy who can have courageous conversations, boldly express support, and who are kind to someone in grief.

12. Widsters - Fellow widows.

13. Grief Wave – Grief knows no time or boundaries. We have little control over when it decides to come up inside us. It’s like a wave that builds in the ocean and then crashes into the shore.

14. Grief Attack – when you suddenly are besieged by intense feelings of loss, and the attacks can occur for years after the loss.

15. Griefquake - The first one (quake) hits you and the world falls apart. Even after you put the world together again there are aftershocks, and you never really know when those will come.

16. Griefburst - the flood of feelings of grief that can be triggered suddenly and felt very intensely. The 'burst' can seem to come out of nowhere, or can be connected to an occasion, situation or specific memory.

17. Griefwobble – Grief affects the brain and body. It can cause changes in memory, behavior and body function.

18. Grief Ripple – the death of a person is our primary loss in our life. But there are secondary losses that occur, such as loss of companionship, loss of lifestyle, loss of family structure, etc.

19. Emotional Time Bomb - a person who is giving off all the signs of an imminent emotional outburst – whether that is tears or anger and aggression.

20. Attack of the Grief Monster – this monster represents anger, sadness, and fear, this monster keeps you awake in the quiet, stillness, and lonely of the night.

21. Griefmobile - Grief crying in the car, often a frequent and recurrent event.

22. Grief-Hangover - For those days after another hard day.

23. Grief-Brain - Grief Brain affects your memory, concentration, and cognition. Your brain is focused on the feelings and symptoms of grief which leaves little room for your everyday tasks.

24. Widow-Brain - The fogginess and disconnect that can set in after the death of a spouse.

25. Grief-Fog/Haze - The fogginess and disconnect that can set in after the death of a loved one. Brain fog happens because your body interprets grief as trauma and begins to shut down to protect itself.

26. Grief Bubble – When you are in your own little bubble sitting with your grief, it’s a place to go when you want to be with your grief, do a good cry, lean into the feelings of grief. And we are allowed to hang out in our bubble.

27. Grief Strong - Going through this and finding out we are stronger than we realize.

28. Grief-Work - Choosing to step into the hard to allow healing to happen.

29. Griefsville - Our land of grief.

30. Grief Case – much like a briefcase, we carry a grief-case.

31. Smad - Sad and mad at the same time.

32. Griefin’ It - Handling something in only a way that someone dealing with grief could or would.

33. Milestone-Envy - Envy you feel for another person who is having a moment you won't have because your loved one died.

34. [insert-relationship-here]-Envy - Envy of anyone who still has the person you lost (e.g., mom-envy, dad-envy, husband-envy, wife-envy, brother-envy, sister-envy, daughter-envy, son-envy).

35. G-Filter - The filter other people put on when they don't want to think about or hear about the reality of your loss, so they avoid it, minimize it, or sugar coat it.

36. Forever Wife/Forever Husband - instead of using the word widow. 37. Grief-Gauntlet - this means a series of special/difficult days that come in a row.

38. Blisswrenching- when someone dies and someone gets married.

39. disenfranchised grief – something that never happens ie: never having kids, never getting married, never getting grandchildren.

40. Griefspace – a safe place where all grievers can come and feel seen, heard and feel safe to speak without judgement.

41. Grief Ghosts – when friends/family disappear when you are grieving.

42. Drobbing – dream-sobbing, waking up from a dream crying.

43. Gratigrief – when gratitude and grief comingle.

44. Showercry – crying in the shower.

45. Griefticipation - The mix of emotions and anticipation experienced leading up to a significant anniversary or milestone without a loved one.

46. Remorsorrow - The regret felt for things left unsaid or undone before the loss, intertwined with sorrow.

47. Longevityleaving - The ongoing process of adjusting to life changes and milestones without a loved one over an extended period.

48. Comprelief - The temporary relief felt when someone else understands and validates your grief experience.

49. Hopeavement - The delicate balance between holding onto hope for the future while grieving a significant loss.

50. Emotegration - The gradual integration of emotions, both positive and negative, into one's identity post-loss.

51. Compalexity - The complex and intertwined nature of conflicting emotions experienced simultaneously during grief.

52. Adaptivity - The ability to adapt and find new ways of coping with grief-related challenges over time.

53. Compascent - Feeling compassion and empathy for others while grieving, despite one's own pain.

54. Griefinity - The enduring connection and bond felt with a loved one after their passing, forming a sense of eternal unity.

55. Lossilience - The resilience and strength developed through navigating profound loss and grief.

56. Embraceness - The process of embracing both the pain and joy of memories associated with the lost loved one.

57. Reflectfulness - The act of reflecting on the impact of loss and finding meaning in the grief journey.

58. Grateflection - The practice of expressing gratitude for the time shared with the departed, despite the pain of their absence.

59. Commemorance - The act of honoring and commemorating the life of the deceased through rituals, traditions, or tributes.

60. Tranquilityphany - The profound realization or insight that brings a sense of peace and acceptance amidst grief.

61. Heartfeltation - The deep emotional connection and understanding shared between individuals who have experienced similar losses.

62. Griefinity - The enduring bond and connection felt with the departed, transcending the physical realm.

63. Hopeassance - The renewal of hope and optimism for the future after experiencing grief and loss.

64. Soulitude - The solace and comfort found in moments of solitude and introspection during the grieving process.

65. Glimmer - Glimmers are when we experience a brief moment of happiness that allows our nervous system to feel safe and calm.