Living With Grief

Mismatched Grief

Asynchronous (adjective): Not existing or occurring at the same time

One of the cleverest phrases on this blog, was obviously not my own. It was James’ when he spoke about “asynchronous grief” – I can barely spell it, but I can just about say it.

He touched upon the idea that people don’t necessarily grieve at the same times, let alone in the same way. He is so right, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s something we have definitely struggled with.

I wish I could say that we’re a couple, where baby loss has brought us closer, but I don’t think it has. I’m actually surprised that more couples don’t break up over it. To say that baby loss has been hard on our (fifteen year) relationship, is an understatement.

I am a talker, he is a thinker. I am a planner, he is a doer. I am impatient, he is patient, I am THE patient. It’s no wonder that we grieve differently. So when I saw this post on Instagram, it was like the penny had dropped:

While James identified with the villager/pioneer, I am very much a pilgrim/voyager. We have the exact opposite grief traits:



Will gravitate towards external help Has internal toolkit for grief
Has willingness to truly sit with grief Will propel self out of grief, as quickly as possible
Looks for meaning Very logical
Pausing is key Movement is key

I guess I’m only sharing this:

a) In the hope that it may help others to identify their own grief archetype
b) To realise that not all couples are on the same page when it comes to baby loss
c) To remember that men grieve too

That last bit’s a reminder for myself, mainly. Last year I heard James singing downstairs in the kitchen and it annoyed me, but it wasn’t his fault that he was happy, while I was sad in that moment. I wish we could have been sad together, we’ve always been happy together, so why not sad? Cue the joyous asynchronicity of grief.

My husband will likely never read this blog, I do not understand that. Then again, I’m an oversharer, so this is the complete opposite of his style too. The point about opposites, is that it’s hard for them to ‘get’ one another. Even though opposites – supposedly – attract.

So while I’m saying it’s ok that we grieve differently, but bruthfully, not really believing that, I guess I just have to be grateful for all the other pilgrims I’ve met along the way.

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(2) Comments

  1. Claudia Caetano says:

    Just sending a big hug and love to both of you

  2. Karen Palmer says:

    These different archetypes are helpful – that’s really interesting.
    I think the way that we vary as individuals is huge. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that it was only when my husband’s outrageous rambunctiousness began to really infuriate me, that I suddenly recognised it as grief. He really can’t handle talking about emotions, and can’t easily cry as that was knocked out of boys his generation, so it just comes out as “bop bop bop bop” coming down the stairs or “click!” when he puts on the kettle – basically an accompanying onomatopoeic noise for everything he is doing. And the things that he found hardest with Jennifer were different: at the time of diagnosis half way through the pregnancy, when we told his parents and saw their grief – that was the very worst thing for him. And there’s things that he’s only just occasionally, over the decades(!) mentioned from these times that he’s never told me before, the most recent example being just yesterday! So he’s not a talker, but it’s still been all there in his head. And I think that’s sad for him – so much harder to process grief for someone who can’t find themselves able to give their thoughts or memories an airing. Particularly hard therefore, I think for many men.

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