The Guardian

What does grief feel like? You asked Google – here's the answer | Eleanor Morgan

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries
‘Even if it feels impossible, lifting up the flap and letting others in is what helps us keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s the proven healer.’ Photograph: laflor/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognisable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others,” writes Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking, her devastating exploration of grief in the year following the sudden death of her husband. Her pain is white-hot on the page. “It is the look of someone who walks from the ophthalmologist’s office into the bright daylight with dilated eyes.”

Grief feels and looks different for everyone who experiences it – and we all will, in some form – but one thing is certain: we do it, in body and soul. As real as the skin that covers us and the bones that keep. However, our experiences are rarely linear.

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