After your loss, it’s possible that the way you communicate with others has changed.


Perhaps you are more chatty than usual – sharing your story with all who will listen.


For the most part, I am a very private person; however, for a short time after my first husband died, I became an open book. I think Khalil Gibran (most well-known as the author of The Prophet) hit on the answer why this happens. He wrote the following.


“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.”


So perhaps all this communing and sharing of stories through support groups, Facebook, and here at Legacy.com is the bereaved’s way of figuring things out aloud in an attempt to reach equilibrium in their lives once again.


On the other hand, you might have been a very social person and now you feel withdrawn and have become a quiet observer.


If you’ve gone from one extreme to the other, this is just part of the process of trying to find your equilibrium. Like a pendulum, your emotions swing wide and often. However, just as all pendulums do, they eventually stop swinging and come to rest at neutral. Neutral for you might mean that you’ve figured out the type of person you want to present to the world and being chatty or quiet is just one of those facets.

If you’re in a silent and/or withdrawing phase, don’t fear your silence. In fact, embrace it; it is providing the necessary time and space for you to examine, reassess, regroup, and, most of all, heal the wound inflicted by your loss upon your soul.

Consider the following thoughts on the truth about silence.

These conversations take place when you're participating in

introspective thought in an attempt to figure out your life going forward.

Again, your personal silence and solitude is allowing you to access

your inner core from which you will rebuild your life.

With whom can you remain in silence and still feel connected?

These are the people who are able to provide comfort and support to you.

This statement reflects the natural duality of the world.

It is the contrasts we observe and experience in life,

such as the difference between joy and sorrow, 

that allows us to appreciate and fully understand both.

During your bereavement, you take a pause from life.

Similar to how you press pause on a recording device, the noise stops.

In this silence, you are learning and healing.

When you are able to turn off the extraneous noise in your head, for example, that little voice telling you that "you should or need to do this or that", you can begin to hear what your heart and soul long to tell you. They will point you in the right direction for healing. As you complete your work, keep in mind what Ram Das said: "The quieter you become, the more you hear." 

Listen well. Heal well.

Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach who uses both her personal experience as a young widow and her professional expertise to help clients and readers experience a change in perspective so that they may move successfully from the darkness of loss to the light of renewal. She is the author of several books on grief, as well as other topics including, how to find love after loss, spirituality, caregiving, and the power of positive thought. For a full listing of her books and other resources, visit her website or Amazon. Join her on Facebook for both tips on how to find love after loss and coping with grief tips.

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Comment by Claretha Rice on January 17, 2013 at 2:28pm

I like this article because it reflects what is happening to me. I find my self wanting to be quiet with my own thoughts and the ability to do what I want to da when I feel like doing ti. I don't want to be on someone else's time clock, other than work. Thank God I just retired a second time. I was supposed to retire in June, and I just could not go on anymore with the demands put on me by a job. Other don't have that luxury, as I place of work doesn't understand what you're going through. If they did you would get more than 3 to 7 days off after a loved one passes on. Even going to church is getting to be annoying. This music and sometimes the sermon does not touch my inner spirit. The silence I am going through at home when I feel I need it, is what gives me solace. Thank you for that article.

Comment by DH on January 14, 2013 at 5:00pm

Thank you Ellen for this article on healing and silence. I have needed to withdraw to silence because my life has completely changed in a way no one understands. I am a witness that people and noise can take you farther away from what your heart and soul is saying. I have to hide because too many people in my life think of grieving as a mental disorder that can be treated in a certain amount of time by changing my thinking or doing things I don't enjoy right now. It would help if people understood that grief is a wound that will heal in its own time, in its own way. And, sometimes that way is through silence. It may also be a wound that may never heal, but I have to learn to live with that too. In silence, I am learning.

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