Grief is a concept that almost everyone on this earth will experience at one time or another, as loss is inevitable. We grieve because we love, because we care. As a Tampa, FL counselor, I have learned to know that grief doesn’t just happen when there is a death of a loved one, although the most commonly known and deeply impactful form, but grief can occur at any loss in our lives. Separation, loss of a job, aging, pregnancy, moving, even getting into a relationship, anything when a significant change occurs. Because all change comes with a loss, no matter if it is a positive or negative change. Grief is complex, confusing, and never one size fits all.

Here are 4 metaphors that may help explain what your grief feels like, from a Tampa, FL Counselor :

Big Tangled Ball of Yarn

Grief is like a big tangled ball of yarn, all waded up and looped through itself. The wad of yarn represents grief, in that grief is not linear. You can try to untangle it, you can continuously process and work through the emotions, but it takes time, patience, and compassion with yourself to work through it. It may take weeks, months, years to untangle the yarn ball depending on the size or closer connection to you. The hardest part is just when you think you’ve gotten it untangled and rolled up into a neat perfect ball, you notice in the chaos you tied some knots. Knots that may never come undone. Grief may not feel as overwhelming as the big wad of tangled yarn it once was in years down the road, but you will always come across knots or hard moments, even when you’re not expecting it.

A Boomerang Always Coming Back

Grief is like a boomerang, no matter how many times you throw it, it always comes back. No matter how many times you try to push the grief away, it will always make its return in some form. Some days you might throw the boomerang a little farther, taking more time to come back. Grief will always come back, but you may just get better at throwing it further.

The Unreliable Weatherman

Grief is like the weather report on the news. The weatherman may call for sunny weather and the day turns out to be full sun at 85 degrees. Other days, when the weatherman calls for sunny weather, the sky may turn gloomy and begin to rain. Even when we think we can predict how grief will be, when we think it’s going to be a good day, grief may still appear unexpectedly. Even in the beginning when we expect every day to be a storm, it may surprise you and be sunny. Grief is confusing and can be unreliable.

Ball in a Box

Everyone experiences grief in different ways, with painful emotions often returning at unexpected times. The metaphor suggests grief is like a box with a ball in it and a pain button on one side. In the early stages, the ball is very big. You cannot move the box without it frequently hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over again, sometimes so much that it feels like you can’t stop it – you can’t control it – it just keeps hurting. But as time goes on, the ball gets smaller. It doesn’t disappear completely and when it hits the pain button, it’s just as intense, but generally, it is easier to get through each day. Some days the ball is really big, endlessly hitting the button, and you just have to wait until it gets smaller again. Check out this video on Grief is like a Ball in a Box to get a better visual and understanding of this metaphor.

If you are struggling with a big change, a loss, or grief, our Tampa, FL counselors are here to help and support you through this journey. Contact Rise Counseling today!