“Griefbursts” and You…

Point number five on Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt’s Mourners Bill of Rights is “You have the right to experience “griefbursts.””  As Dr. Wolfelt explains, “Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you.  This can be frightening, but is normal and natural.  Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.”

Many of you have probably never heard the term “griefbursts,” but many, if not most, of you have experienced a “griefburst” after the death of a loved one.  Dr. Wolfelt explains that these experiences are both normal and natural.

In my experience, “griefbursts” tend to make people feel insecure and think that they are not handling things well.  These strong moments of emotion can happen anytime, and often happen at seemingly odd or random times.  Keeping these emotions to yourself and bottling them up is not going to help you over the long term.  Identify a friend or family member you can talk to about these emotional “griefbursts.”

One day, a few months after a funeral service I handled, I was in the produce section of my local grocery store and came upon the widow sobbing by the carrots.  Instead of giving her a wide berth as most other shoppers were, I walked up and said hi and re-introduced myself in case she didn’t recognize me.

She proceeded to tell me that she was doing fine until she picked up the carrots and thought about her husband.  They had done their shopping together; she would start at the opposite end of the store while he started in the produce section and they would meet up in the middle.  It was a lovely memory she had, and she smiled as she related this story of their grocery shopping habits.  As we parted ways a few minutes later, she thanked me for stopping to talk to her.

This was not the first time she had been shopping since her husband’s death, but that was the day she had a “griefburst” by the carrots.  It was short, intense and made her sad before it ended with a smile as she shared a happy memory.


For Additional Grief Resources, visit http://www.hansenspear.com/grief-support


Works Cited:

Wolfelt, Alan D.  Griefwords.com.  “The Mourner’s Bill of Rights”. Center for Loss and Life Transition.  URL:http://griefwords.com/index.cgi?action=page&page=articles%2Fmourners.html&site_id=366.  Web.  Accessed: 2012-06-14. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/68Q1sUruv)

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