Spirit > Becoming > When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God

When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God

Many widows never get over the loss of their husbands. Sometimes even the healthiest woman can’t seem to shake the grief and pain of loss. These ideas for coping with grief that never never ends are inspired by a She Blossoms reader.

“Today is hard because it’s the third anniversary of my husband’s death,” says Diane on Help Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies. “My heart is still so overcome, my grief feels never ending. I don’t know that I will ever feel whole again. Family and friends seem to think I should be stronger with the passing of time, but the truth is just the opposite. I know other widows who have lost their husbands and they can’t reach out to God. Time has not healed our broken hearts.”

I am not writing article as a widow. The day will come when I lose my husband (unless I’m lucky enough to die before he does!). When my husband passes I suspect I’ll feel like Diane: unable to feel completely whole or normal without him. My husband is a huge part of my life, and if he passes before me I’ll no doubt be searching for tips on what to do when the grief never ends. Maybe I, too, will feel like I can’t reach out to God.

When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God

Diane adds that she feels like an outsider with friends and family, and can’t tell them how deeply she’s hurting.

“I don’t want them to think I am having a breakdown,” she says. “I try to act like I am happy and in control so they want to include me in activities and be around me. I do not want to make others sad. I have started working part-time outside the home and keeping busy, but the loneliness continues to have a grip. I’m trying so hard to find happiness and some sense of normalcy again.”

A widower shared his thoughts about this article in the comments section below. He didn’t agree with much of what I wrote, which inspired me to re-evaluate my words. In response, I wrote How Do You Grieve Loss With Hope and Faith? for my Echoing Jesus blog.

Be real with your friends and family

If you can’t be your authentic, true self with your friends and family…then who can you be “you” with? Why are you pretending to be someone you’re not? You are widow who is recovering from loss and surviving grief. The more you pretend to be happy, the heavier your grief will be. The more secretive you are about your pain, the worse you will feel.

Your grief feels like it’ll never end because you’re keeping it hidden, in the dark. You aren’t reaching out to you friends or family — and you aren’t reaching out to God. You’re holding your grief tight and close, like a dark little devil that can’t get out into the light. The more you pretend that you’re happy, the unhappier you’ll feel.

Don’t try to feel the “right” feelings

Happiness — and recovering from the grief of losing your husband — is not something you’ll attain by straining to get it. Happiness — and grief recovery — isn’t a prize you can train for, a goal you can reach for. Happiness is a byproduct of living a fulfilling, meaningful life.

Joy is even more delightful than happiness. Joy is the result of a strong personal relationship with Jesus, an overflow of God’s Holy Spirit in your soul. Again, you can’t strive to become more joyful or peaceful. You feel like your grief is never ending because you’re trying too hard to be happy. You’re not being real with yourself, with others, or with Jesus. You’re not reaching out to people or God as your true authentic self. You’re trying too hard.

Accept that you’ll never feel whole again

Different women grieve their husbands’ deaths in different ways. The grieving process is darker and longer for widows who built their lives around their marriages, who didn’t have a strong sense of their own lives and identities before their husbands died.

she blossoms When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God
When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God

Diane recently started a part-time job outside her home, which can be a healthy activity when the grief feels like it’ll never end. But if it’s not a challenging, fulfilling job that makes her feel like she’s contributing something valuable to the world, it’ll never fill the hole in her heart. In fact — even if it was the most meaningful job in the world, it still wouldn’t erase or ease the grief she feels about losing her husband.

Jobs, grieving support groups, friends and family, grief counselors — nothing will fill the hole in the heart of a widow whose life was built around her husband. So what will?

Explore different ways to reach out to God

“I’m finding it difficult to reach out to God since my husband’s death,” says Diane. “I lost my connection to God, and have trouble staying focused to meditate and pray. I tend to cry in church. Then I feel embarrassed and have to leave. I don’t know how to get over this, and I feel like the grief will never end.”

This is where the decision-making process kicks in. Decide that you will explore new ways to reach out to God until you find what works for you. Sit in church and cry when you need to. Learn how God experienced grief, how Jesus suffered, and who else suffered in the long line of Christian believers. Our Biblical sisters suffered grief, often feeling like it would never end. Our Christian forerunners all felt like they couldn’t reach out to God at different times in their lives.

You are not alone, unless you isolate yourself by refusing to reach out to God, friends, and family in your grief. Read How to Rebuild Your Relationship With God for a few ideas on reaching out in your pain, and asking Him for help when the grief feels like it’ll never end.

Accept that your grief will change, but it won’t end. Decide that you’ll explore new ways to reach out to God until you find what works for you.

What do you think? Your big and little thoughts are welcome below. If you have other ideas what to do when the grief never ends and reaching out to God feels impossible, please share!


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8 thoughts on “When the Grief Never Ends and You Can’t Reach Out to God”

  1. Pingback: How Do You Grieve Loss With Hope and Faith? ⋆ Echoing Jesus

  2. You may be well meaning in what you write but unfortunately I believe you are wide of the mark on so many things. I find the best way to describe the loss is to say that many (myself included) never get over grief but learn to live with it. Pain never passes, it may ease, but it never ends if you truly loved your husband (or wife in my case).
    To recognise that life will always be different is important and then you can make the little changes as you seek to find some comfort and regain some normality. But I found I had to hide my inner feelings when among friends as they do not know how to react to my grief and so they never my loss. With my own children, I refrained from talking about my grief as it upset them as well. This is probably a bad thing to do as there is a need to release inner feelings.
    As far as God goes, my relationship has changed dramatically. I tell Him I don’t understand why His silence is so overwhelming.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Daryl. It’s good to hear from you, and to get a glimpse of grief and loss from your perspective. You truly loved your wife, and you will never be the same…and neither will your relationship with God.

      You inspired me to rethink my words in this article. I wrote something new, called How Do You Grieve Loss With Hope and Faith?

      May you find peace, healing and a renewed relationship with the Father as you walk through this valley. May the peace that passes all understanding settle in your heart and spirit, and may your heart be cheered at the thought of meeting your wife again one day.

      “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope,” says Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (CSB).

      With sympathy and the love of Jesus,

  3. Diane,
    My sympathies. I know exactly how you are feeling. My husband has been gone for almost 9 months- next week. He was only 54 and died within a month of entering hospital.
    Am I “better” since those dreadful first days? Yes. Who can’t be? You know why? Because those early days were soo traumatic, numbing, terrifying, overwhelming, stressful, hurtful, exhausting, sickening and the terrible words describing my feelings can fill a page or two or three or…
    Today, my heart is broken and heavy every second of every waking day BUT I am able to go through a day, go to work and not be in a heap on the floor. That is the ONLY WAY that I think I have inched ahead. Try to do a comparison because we, grievors can become so entrenched that nothing else is possible. I have two children. I cant give up bc they too are mourning the loss of their father.
    I have prayed to God for comfort and His guidance. If not for HIS comfort I don’t know where I would be. I too cry in church. I cry everywhere.
    I’m not at the 6 year mark. I don’t know how I will be able to handle not having him with me for such a long time.
    Ask for God’s guidance and ask that He open your heart to Him.
    I don’t have any other words to say other than
    I will never be the same and I will love him forever. I am soo lonely and sad
    no matter to whom I speak to or with whom I go out with. It often makes me feel lonelier bc my husband can no longer take part. He is missing. Very hurtful.
    The loss of a spouse/ partner is like no other loss that I have ever experienced.
    It is such a personal and intimate loss. Your entire life gets changed

    Most days I am stuck and filled with sorrow.
    Best wishes,

  4. Reluctantly, learned how to deal with one day at a time. Not tomorrow, not next week! And, so not yesterday! Memories are overwhelming. Unless you are self medicating, you can not stop them until they become so debilitating that you are stuck on the floor looking up. Then you mentally and physically FORCE your thinking to be in the present minute, hour, day! Not easy. if you want to live, you have to live ONE DAY AT A TIME! If you do not have God, fake it until it works..it will.

  5. Well – if this isn’t just right up my alley! Diane – I know what it feels to love, then tragically lose, your beloved husband. Yesterday it was 17 months that I lost him unexpectedly in July 2016.. We would have been married 32 years this January 1st. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that he is gone from my life. It seems like it never happened at times, then my mind starts reliving those awful hours & day later that I lost him, from diverticulitis, and resultant septic shock. He never had a chance to recover from that death sentence. The person I was – a devoted wife who adored her husband, died with him that day. I will never be that woman again. I am now his widow, and the thought of being with anyone else, is not even a remote possibility. I am also struggling with finding my way back to God thru Jesus Christ. I think the first thing I dealt with & at times – still deal with is – WHY???? WHY DID YOU TAKE HIM FROM ME?????? of course – He doesn’t tell me. He’s God, and I am not. And – it’s very easy for other Christians to give you a pat answer like “Well – it was his time…” or – another perennial favorite, “Oh – he’s having a ball up there!” Usually said by another woman at church, whose husband is standing next to her. Those are the ones I was most angry with. What about me down here – with my heart turned into road kill? I am supposed to go on, the other half of the two who became one – suddenly ripped apart, when all I wanted to do was die & be with him.

    Oh yes – it is most difficult to watch other couples interact, and smile & laugh, and enjoy each other. How we long for those times when “he” was by our sides, too. We don’t want their husbands, we want ours back! In my anger at God for taking him, I also realized that the Lord was my only hope… I asked Him to take me back, even in my anger & grief stricken insanity. He understood. I forced myself to go back to church, and even go back to mid week Bible study, even though at times – all I wanted to do was stay alone, away from others in my grief. Then I added another Bible study that he & I had just started, before that horrific nightmare.. Going back there was so difficult, because even though we only went twice together before he was stricken, we both felt so welcomed & loved there, after only 2 times. We vowed to keep on going, but it did not turn out that way. That was the hardest thing, going alone, back to that home, without him, and it took me almost 8 months to go back. But I am so glad I did. Also so glad that I went back to church, but more importantly, back to God. All I can say – is that for every step you take towards the Lord Jesus, He will more than meet you halfway. He’ll go the extra mile for you. He KNOWs the tremendous grief & hurt, and He doesn’t expect that we can “get over it” anytime soon. That’s why He came, and died His own death, to defeat death by His glorious resurrection. Even if you “don’t feel like it”, go to Him, and ask Him to take you back just the way you are, even if you don’t feel close to Him at all. I don’t think we even can – in the state of grief we’re in. Grief drowns out any other emotions, other than itself, and anger of course. There’s always that. But – why not? Afterall – the most precious thing was taken from us – of course – it’s normal to be angry at death. Just not at God, because He is our only hope. I also took the step of grief counseling at a nearby church. Several caring women started walking with me thru my deep grief, listening to my story, the love story of my beloved husband and me, our wonderful & loving life together, that was only growing sweeter & sweeter, even with his many health issues, we enjoyed each other to the max, because – somehow we knew that Time was drawing to a close for us as a couple. Then, sorrow and confusion and deep deep grief of losing him consumed me to the point where I thought I would die, and even welcomed it. . The unwanted journey of widowhood was before me. I screamed & railed at the Heavens – I didn’t want this horrible journey. I still don’t. But – the choice was taken out of my hands. The ache of losing him never goes away. Sometimes when I think I am making some progress, his passing slaps me in the face with fresh sorrow, buckling me to my knees in anguish. “Oh my Love – my beloved husband, where are you – I miss you so much, I love you so much.. Where are you?” In times like that – I hear the Lord whisper in my ear and in my heart… “Trust Me…” So, minute by minute, until my time is up here on earth, and I am reunited with him, that’s all I can do.

    1. That was a moving tribute to the love you will always feel for your husband , Lovey. When you’re deeply attached to someone, the sorrow runs deep when you lose them. And there is no quick relief – even though society seems adamant that we “get over” grief in a set time. We never “get over”..we can only integrate that grief into our lives and live with it as a companion. I wish you strenghth in that journey..


      1. Thank you Alexandra for your loving reply. Today is my 2nd Birthday without him, since I met him. I remember how he looked forward to my birthdays more than I did! He loved to make me cards on the computer for every occasion. He was a hopeless romantic.. He always got up earlier than me, I am not a morning person. He’d be downstairs in his “man cave” – our rec room every morning – when I’d stumble downstairs with my huge mug of coffee – trying to wake up. and on my birthday, there would be the card in an envelope, with a little gift he would have ordered earlier from Amazon Prime, on the end table. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning, only I was his gift – my reaction to what he did for me. He’d eagerly watch me to see when I would reach for the card – sometimes asking repeatedly – until I told him – I needed to wake up first – so I could savor it! That shut him up for a while – but soon I’d open the card, sneaking a peak at him, sitting there smiling that silly crooked smile of his, just waiting for my reaction..then looking so pleased with himself that he made his love feel special. I had to look thru some of his other cards today, but I know – if he could have sent me one from Heaven, he would have, and he would still be watching for my reaction…. I still don’t know how I have managed to live on without him…