Grief’s Physical Toll

I don’t know about you but my face and my body tell the tale.

It’s a story of stress and strife and it’s not pretty.

I look at photos before and after and see grief written all over the pictures taken since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

There’s an old saying in the South when you see someone who looks exhausted and unwell: “She’s been rode hard and put up wet.” My horse loving friends will get it right away.

For the rest of you this is what it means: When a horse is ridden hard or worked long, it sweats. The kind and appropriate thing to do is to walk the animal until it dries off and then stable it. Doing so means the horse’s muscles have time to recover from the exertion and helps prevent injury or lameness. If a horse is repeatedly “rode hard and put up wet” it begins to show in her performance, resilience and ultimately, in longevity.

Living with child loss is definitely a hard slog through difficult terrain.

While my burden is not nearly as hard to carry TODAY as it was in the beginning (six years ago) it still adds significant resistance and requires more effort when doing everyday tasks or facing new challenges.

And I rarely have the ability or capacity to treat myself to a “cool down” period because my to do list is long and the days seem short. Life just doesn’t let up.

It has taken a physical toll.

I tire more easily-physically, emotionally and mentally. I am less resistant to illness. My chronic disease has progressed more in these six years despite aggressive treatment than the decade previous to Dom’s leaving. I don’t handle change well. I am more prone to call it quits, give up and give in when things get tough instead of powering through. I have a drastically shortened attention span. It’s hard to remember details and words-I write things down so I won’t forget. The lines in my face have deepened and multiplied. Sometimes getting out of bed is the bravest thing I do all day.

I could list at least a dozen more ways grief impacts my body but you get the idea.

Dealing With Physical Grief Symptoms Whats your Grief

Grief isn’t *just* an emotional response to loss.

It’s physical too.

So if you are noticing your body doesn’t act like it used to, you’re not alone.

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

13 thoughts on “Grief’s Physical Toll”

  1. I developed high blood pressure about 7 months after my son died 5 years ago. This week I learned I have heart failure and kidney failure. I’ve been so tired and out of breath for more than a year. Doctors blew me off. I’ve seen 4 doctors. When my blood pressure was 211/120 I was not going to be blown off again. So, here I am with a year or two life expectancy. Grief can kill you and be a stronger advocate for yourself than I have been. I will search hard for better doctors and treatments but if you find yourself breathless walking across a room or climbing 1 flight of stairs be persistent. Being tired all the time isn’t normal either. Take Care..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very sorry!! That is awful you had such a terrible time getting appropriate treatment. You’re right-we do have to be strong advocates for our own health. I have never had a problem diagnosed that didn’t require me advocating for myself even when the symptoms were classic and obvious.

      Praying that with the right treatment and perhaps some lifestyle changes your health will improve.

      May the Lord give you the grace and strength you need for every day and may He help you hold onto hope. ❤


  2. Oh I find this to be soootrue!! I have experienced each and every one of these symptoms. I have aged 5 years since our child ran ahead to heaven… people who have not experienced this will never understand.. I love your blogs !! I relate to each and every one. God bless you!
    Donna Andrews

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one of the biggest surprises for me-that grief is so very physical. But I guess it shouldn’t really be such a surprise since stress of any kind will almost surely show up in a body.

      I’m thankful the words help your heart and let you know you are definitely not alone. May the Lord wrap His loving arms around you and give you strength to endure. ❤


    1. Writing helps me sort my thoughts and feelings. I’m thankful it helps others along the way. May the Lord give you grace and strength sufficient for every single day. ❤


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