Grief Is Just Love With No Place To Go


“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson

Grief is not a road we walk, or a journey we take. It is not a process that can be defined by stages we are told we must feel – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It is not a textbook diagram, or a framework we must comply to. It isn’t a task we must complete. We don’t push through it, we don’t move into it and out of it, we don’t follow a linear progression until we reach the other side of it.

There are no rules to grief. We can only succumb to it, surrender to it, let our hearts break open for it. It is an ebb and flow, a dance of pain and love, a coming together only to once again fall apart. It is a feeling of overcoming, only to awake every single morning in the arms of grief once more.

Grief is an alteration of who we once were, to who we now become. It is an adjustment of ourselves, an adaptation to our souls. We don’t work through our grief and return to who we once were. There can never be a return to the people we once were. We are broken by grief; shattered. We can never look the same, mend the same, be the same. We lose fragments of ourselves, leave behind the pieces that cut too deeply, the pieces we long to forget, need to forget. Whatever we now become, we put together from the brokenness we scrounge from what little we have left.

Grief changes us.

Grief breaks us.

Grief is love with no place to go.

And so in our grief, the only thing to do is to give our love a place to go.

Love with word, love with deed, love with action.

Love one another so fiercely that our love is spent, that are chests are no longer hollow, that the lump in our throats hurts a little less.

Love for those who hurt the most, who have lost the most, and then love them even harder.

Because the truth about grief is that it never leaves.

Grief lasts as long as love lasts – forever.

Somehow, may love become light in the darkness of our grief.

My love, thoughts, and prayers are with my local community at this time, who have suffered a loss beyond comprehension. I don’t understand. I will never understand. But I know our hearts unite in love for those who have lost so much. May they know they are not alone.

53 thoughts on “Grief Is Just Love With No Place To Go

  1. How do you express in words that are so deep as deep as the grief we feel inside us. I always felt we can never be the same once we lose something in us but some people don’t understand and they think we are just putting up an act for seeking attention which is not true. The truth is that we fight so hard to be the person we once were we miss us being a certain way. I guess we must just let us be the way we evolve and embrace ourselves. Would love to meet you sometime Kathy !

  2. My best friend died a little over 1 1/2 years ago. Yesterday, for a change, was a day of remembering, without the usual pain. I went shopping with my daughter-in-law at a bunch of thrift shops and flea markets. I saw about 5 different things that my friend would have loved. Each time, I smiled. I also bought one of the purses because it was so her. Then I remembered, I am not her. I can enjoy it but don’t have to buy it. The pain and tears of grief come in waves for me. Halloween was a bad time because it was her favorite holiday. Christmas was bad because she wasn’t here with her shining light of spirit and her little girl fascination for the season. Every single kids Christmas program that came on brought tears because she loved them so. After the tears of the holidays, yesterday felt like a celebration of her child-like spirit. I loved it.

  3. Wow! This is such a moving and heartfelt article. I got goosebumps when I read it and I felt so much love compassion and understanding from it. It could help so many people who are still unable to deal with their grief. I think all the schools could benefit from it. I used my camera to express my love and my grief from the time I was nine. Thank you Kathy You are a beautiful writer. Love Janice xo

  4. Tonight I’ll soak my pillow in “unspent love” as I grieve the loss of my 94 year old Auntie.
    ♡ until we meet again.
    R.I.P. Carmen Wooten, sleep well ♡

  5. Wow I have never read anything that I wished that I had written more. Such a beautiful depiction of grief in our lives.

      1. It’s tough for me to see a flight attendant without becoming emotional because of my wife’s loss, but I have a friend who went through recently suffered personal loss and we talk and greive together sometimes as a matter of fact she sent me this link at I am glad she did my grief is finally fading and reading this helps too.
        Well written.

  6. After reading this I was brought into tears as I remembered my Grandma who died 2 yrs ago. You were right, Grieft is love with no place to go. I love my Grandma so much but that I didn’t gave it all the love that she deserves before she died. Now I found the place where the love needs to go. Thank you so much Kathy. May you keep up your good work and bless others with your writings.

    1. Thank you so much for these beautiful words and for sharing your heart. I’m so sorry for the grief you have suffered, but so thankful my words have brought comfort to your heart. Wishing you all the best x

  7. You have no idea how much reading this has helped me with the grief I’ve been experiencing. Ive found comfort in reading this bc it’s exactly how I feel and it’s the only thing that makes sense right now. Thank you so much for this. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Nicole, and I’m so thankful my words have been of help to your heart at this time. Wishing you all the best on your healing journey <3

  8. When I woke up in the morning my best friend, my soulmate, my husband was laying beside me. He looked like he was sleeping so I quietly got out of bed and put some coffee on for us. I went back in to out room to wake him, but he never woke up. All I could do was scream, “No, No, No!!! I don’t know when he passed away? After 25 days I am still in shock. The pain in my throat, the knot in my stomach, the loneliness and loss is unbearable. Grief is powerful. I know I will never be the same.

    1. Kelley, am so so incredibly sorry for your loss . Of course you are still in shock after 25 days dear one, your journey through the grief ahead will be long and hard and there is no way around it, only through it, there’s no easy way and there’s no other way. Be gentle on yourself, and take each day as it comes. Be kind and never let anyone tell you how you should grieve, how you should heal. This is your journey, this is your pain, noone else can walk in your shoes. So much love and best wishes to you at this time <3

  9. No one has come this close to describing how I feel eight long years after losing my love, my sweet, beautiful girl. I have learned how to love again, and my life is full, but I dream of her most nights and I think of her so many times through the day. My heart breaks for my children who don’t have her in their lives. She only ever wanted children. We are happy and yet the pain never stops and the yearning just won’t go away.
    We had 22 years, and I’m so grateful for that, and I have another wonderful woman in my life now, but I love her so much still, it is my secret that I can’t discuss with anyone, they don’t understand . Love never dies. I just can’t turn it off.
    Your words come really close to how I feel.

    1. Michael, thank you for sharing so much of your heart. I’m so sorry for you loss, your grief and your pain. I’m not sure it ever truly leaves, even when life continues on, even when we find love and happiness once more. I wish you only the very best in your life and hope with every new day it begins to hurt a little less x

      1. Thanks Kathy for your very kind words. I’m glad I have discovered your blog, I think you’re very talented.

  10. I lost my husband in April 2015, 49 years old, 15 months later I lost my mom, and 11 months after her I lost my dad, this past June. I have been so broken for so long that I woke up this morning beyond hopeless. Then a young family member of my husband posted these same words. Grief is love with no place to go. It is exactly the way I feel but have been unable to voice it. It was exactly what I needed to hear.I have been hurting so bad for so long, wondering when the pain is going to stop but no real relief in site. I have read several books on grief but most of them talk about the STAGES of grief and I just have not experienced that. I never went through the denial or anger for sure. Most of what I have read in this post is what I have been feeling but thinking that I am struggling because I have not gone through all of the stages. This make me realize that grief is a very personal journey and no 2 people will experience the same things, so instead of worrying that I have not gone through all the stages, I can now just let myself feel whatever it is I feel. Hopefully I can start to heal now. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing.

  11. Someone sent me the poem “Grief I’ve learned…” after my son died a year ago. I have wondered who the author is and see on your page that you attribute it to Jamie Anderson. Strangely when I looked her up it’s not listed as one of her poems? Did you write it? Your whole piece on grief it so touching, to real. I lost my Mom when I was 14 and remember my Nanny saying “No Mom should out live her child.” I had no comprehension at that early age, now I know. It is truly the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It has been a year and at times it seems like it never happened; at times when the phone rings I think it will be him because I haven’t talked to him for awhile; at times I realize the empty place in me has to be filled with the joy of having had him as my son, of knowing he is free of pain, of knowing he wouldn’t want me to be so sad. When he was dying he worried about me driving to the hospital to see him in a snow storm. My mind knows what I need to do; now if I can just convince my heart.

  12. I just wanted you to know your saying about grief being a form of love really touched me and it made a lot of sense. I had never thought about it quite like that before. I had originally seen it on FB and went to find it again in the internet after my grandma died. Thanks very much for sharing this wise, meaningful insight. Blessings to you. 💕

    1. Thank you so much Kathleen, I’m so thankful you were able to find my words and they have helped your heart. Much love and light at this time for you 💕

  13. Thank you Kathy for your insightful and heartfelt writing. I lost my younger brother and then six days later my dear sweet Mom passed. Your words have been a great source of comfort, and for that I am grateful.

    1. Cathy, I’m so sorry to hear of your pain and loss, my heart goes out to you in your grief and sadness. I’m so thankful my words have been of some comfort to your heart 💗

  14. Thanks. The quote rings true. Do you know who Jamie Anderson is/was? I found the blog where she said it but can’t find any bio info. (The blog page was –– )

    1. Hi Jeffrey – Jamie Anderson writes a blog, but from what I understand from a brief chat with her husband when I wanted to use that quote, she’s very private and I don’t think you’ll find much more than her blog online.

  15. That was beautiful lost my husband 10 years ago and srtill have his clothes in the closet and his underwear in the drawer thank you for giving me permission to grieve in my own way and to acknowledge greif is a very individual and specific emotions

    1. So much love Kim, I’m so thankful my words found you and have helped – there is no time limit on grief and no right or wrong way to process our pain and loss. Sending much love and light your way ❤️

  16. With the recent sudden loss of my husband your words hit a real chord. My niece posted the words by Jamie Anderson and then I sought your website. Thank you. The lump is usually right there and the emotions shift constantly.

    1. Sending so, so much love and light your way Betsy, that you will be surrounded by peace and warmth as you journey through your grief ❤️

    1. I don’t think so?! She’s a blogger in the US, but quite a private and quiet blogger, couldn’t say for sure but I don’t think so. And no offense taken 🙂

  17. This is so true. I lost my mother 2 and 1/2 years ago. Thank you for expressing the process so beautifully.

  18. Thank you for articulating how so many of us from Paradise, California are feeling. We have lost our community and our homes and this so beautifully puts words to our brokenness! Please know how grateful I am to have been given this link and to have read your compassionate words. It is comforting to know that normal had to be found, we can not return to it!! So many don’t understand but you have helped to describe it for us.

  19. Kathy, I am 72 years old and I lost my partner, of 29 years three months ago. I miss him so much. Your message of grief is love with no place to go affected me ALOT. If I could get a copy of the article, I could read it everyday and hopefully be able to cope with my horrendous depression. Thanks, Sandy.

  20. I lost my father at 10 yr old! Then my brother died of cancer in August of 99’ and one year and I week later we lost my youngest sister at 43! Two weeks later on what would have been my sister’s 44th birthday r mom fell and broke hip wrist and shoulder that was Sept 4, 2000! After surgeries and rehab and more surgeries we got my mom home the 2nd day of February and 11 days later she was back in hospital and died on Feb 19th and five weeks to the day we buried her we buried r stepfather! Since then I have lost two more sisters and a nephew but more importantly I lost my son in 2014 my best friend of 60 years in 2016 two dogs and my daughter lost two pregnancies and then found out my husband had cancer everywhere! God gifted us with a new pregnancy and gave my husband the strength to be here for Our granddaughter ‘s birth and two weeks later he was gone! I was his caregiver for 16 months and I miss him and taking care of him! I try to be grateful everyday but some days r harder! When my husband David passed I was jealous that he was going to see our son first! I k ow that’s sick but out of all these deaths his was the worst! I still grieve all my loved ones and I didn’t go through those stages but what really bites is how my family treats my grief like I’m going to come out of it! The hard thing for me is trying to forgive them!

  21. Thank you for your beautiful, sensitive words, Kathy. I lost my husband, the great love of my life , just over 2 years ago, and I know about being broken. I know I am changed, so deeply. With a sense of being shattered, I’m trying to be this different person, in a different life, and I’m very grateful to you for highlighting the fact that the talk of “stages” and the “ journey”, are not always relevant. I just do what’s right in front of me, and try to be as kind and loving to my children and friends, as well as anyone who I come into contact with, every day. Your words have been so right for me. Many many thanks.

  22. Five years after losing my wife and best friend I can now say grief holds much wisdom. I now understand that the greatest gift we can give to anyone is to accept them in their brokeness.

  23. Hello Kathy, I lost my husband almost 27 months ago. A good friend gave me a copy of “Grief is nothing but love . . . .” shortly afterward. I printed it off and it hangs on my wall where I can read it any time I am feeling low. It has meant so much to me. My husband and I shared a deep love and for that I am so thankful.

    1. Helen, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, but so thankful to know these words have helped your heart. Sending you so much love, light, and continued healing x

  24. A friend shared your writing with me just now. I lost my sister 2 yrs ago and my best canine friend yesterday , a year ago. My heart hurts so much and I feel like I can’t breathe… I miss them everyday…. They were my rocks. Your words spoke volumes to me. Thank you so much for writing how I feel without knowing me.

    1. Kim, I’m so sorry to hear of your grief and loss, I can only imagine how hard it must be and I’m thankful my words were able to ease that a little. Sending you so much love and light 💗

  25. “Grief is love with no place to go” is also so poignant for those of us who enjoy our independence, time alone, live on our own yet also would love to have a partner. This phrase is what my loneliness, that romantic intimate gap in my life, is. Every single person who knows me cannot understand why I (65 years old) have never had a relationship despite wanting one because “I have so much to offer” (I agree with them!). This is a loneliness that cannot be filled by my wonderful friends, volunteer work, a purposeful life – it can only be filled by a lover. Thus I grieve for something I have never had. And our society sure isn’t accepting of that.

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