01 October, 2018

Hundreds of little griefs

My father-in-law is grieving at the moment, and is at that raw stage when there are hundreds of little realisations that certain things will not be happening in the future. 

It reminded me of those difficult times when we first know, for certain, that we will not be having children, when everything reminds us of that fact, whether it is seeing a half-empy bottle of folic acid on the shelf, or a mobile we’d bought in Thailand for a future child, or walking past the room that is a nursery. Each time we see those things, we think along the same lines as we always have, until we’re struck with the realisation that, “wait, that’s not going to happen” or “but I won’t need that now,” and we grieve anew.

For me, the hope I had managed to feel throughout my infertility kept me going until, at the end, there was a tough period when there was no hope. Things got harder, being hit with hundreds of little griefs, before they got easier, when I found hope again for something new. I am, however, aware that losing your partner of 60 years at the age of 89 means that finding hope for something new might not be realistic, and I can just hope that his hundreds of little griefs do not linger, and that his brain manages to reprogram itself to accepting the new reality.

So at this time, I am actually thankful for my experience of grief, first encountered through pregnancy loss, infertility and childlessness, when online friends taught me so much about grief, healing, and compassion and self-compassion. I’m thankful that it not only helped me help my mother during and after my father’s death, but that it is already helping me help my husband, in-laws, and nieces and nephews get through their grief too.


  1. This is so beautifully put: "Things got harder, being hit with hundreds of little griefs, before they got easier, when I found hope again for something new."

    I'm going to remember hundred little griefs. Such perfect phrasing for when your dreams vanish. (In the time before you can dream new dreams).

  2. I absolutely love the phrase "a hundred little griefs." So true. And it is a gift to experience that before other horrible griefs, and to have the wisdom that comes from knowing it doesn't last forever in quite the same way.

  3. <3 Holding you and your family in my heart right now.

  4. Dear Mali, it is so true that our experience has made us familiar with grieve. I hope it will be a strength that infertility has given to me for hard times.

  5. I really love this post, especially the "hundred little griefs" phrase. Very true in my experiences with grief.

  6. I am sorry your family is grieving (& that it's taken me this long to offer condolences). "Hundreds of little griefs" is a great way of putting it!