Grief Amnesia


Let me preface this post by saying – Grief Amnesia is my term. There is nothing official about it, except for that fact, that in my experience it exists. I had to call it something. I wanted to call it something.

Grief Amnesia.

My friend recounted this amazing three day trip we had shared together in detail. From where we ate, to where we shopped, to what our conversations were about.

I remembered… nothing about the visit.

I even took her back to the restaurant and store for shopping on a later trip excited to share a “new” place with her. Except, it wasn’t new to her. I just didn’t remember.

I was embarrassed. I felt horrible that I didn’t remember the experience in precise detail like she did. I worried that she would feel unappreciated, or worse, not one of my dearest friends in the world.

I tried and tried to remember along with her. But, I came up empty every time.

This has happened to me more than once. The memories of the first few years after my brother’s suicide are a piecemeal.

I remember the big things – like the pregnancies and births of my two boys. I remember the holidays right after my brother died – those details I can hardly forget. I remember our moves. And, I remember the trials of relocating to a new country.

But, there are many things I do not remember.

The good times with my husband. I know we had some – but, I can mostly recount the very difficult moments in our young and fragile marriage

{We married June 29, 2002. My brother took his life October 29, 2002 – 4 months later. The last time I saw him was at my wedding}.

I remember being angry at my young children for keeping me up at night when all I wanted to do was sleep. I remember listening to my mom cry on the telephone. I remember losing my temper at our new puppy.

However, there were moments that were joy-filled – watching my babies grow, friends’ visits, church events, celebrations with neighbors, and visits with family. I know they were there. But, I think, because of my filter – which was programmed for grief and sadness – I filtered out a lot of the fun, happy events.

Or, I just didn’t’ feel like having fun or being happy. Therefore, I couldn’t appreciate those moments when they came.

I look at photos from those early years after his suicide, and I see a smile on my face. However, my eyes are empty. I know inside I was not feeling the joy that “appeared” on my face. I was pretending.

I think in a way “grief amnesia” saved me. Protected me from completely losing it. From raging at people who were having fun and being happy when nothing in me wanted to or even could feel the same. I was numb.

Sometimes I wish I could get those memories back. I wish I could journey back with my sweet friend and remember her account of our visit like it was yesterday. But, those memories have vanished.

What is this “grief amnesia” all about? How is it that our bodies can go into a shock of sorts after losing someone we love and actually forget things that have happened?


I write this post, not because I am still living in the fog of “grief amnesia”.

The fog has since lifted, I now feel joy once again, and remember fun adventures with my friends.

I write this post for you. For you who is grieving right now. Or, for you with several years under your belt wondering if you will ever get through to the other side.

Don’t worry, you are not crazy. It is okay that you do not remember.

You may feel disoriented by this realization of “grief amnesia”, but that is normal. Don’t worry, or fret, or feel like you are failing yourself and others.

You must press in. Press into the grief and the pain, let yourself feel it.

At the same time, press into Christ, the only salve Strong Enough and Big Enough to heal your wounds.

He is in the Pain.

He is in the Darkness.

He is there with you right now, holding you, loving you, living this with you. I promise. He loves you so much!

He wants to see you Heal, Mend, Be Made New. 

He promises a New Life for you In Christ. He promises that His Cup of Living Water will never run dry.

When the Light comes, the Light of Our Healer, Our Savior, Our Redeemer Jesus Christ…

When His Light shines on your fog…When You Let His Light Shine on your fog – Your Grief, Your Pain…

The fog will burn away. His Light will provide a clarity never before seen in your entire life.

For Jesus Christ makes all things new.

Jesus Christ can give you a new heart where yours is broken.

Jesus Christ can put a new song in your mouth, a new bounce in your step.

Jesus Christ can redeem you from the ashes and restore your faith in the beautiful, in the joyful, in the life surrounding you.

Only Jesus Christ can mend the wounds, and scars, and pain that threaten to consume you.

Only Jesus can.

He did it for me. And, I promise, He can do it for you.

Praying for you this day,





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5 thoughts on “Grief Amnesia

  1. Beautiful (as usual), Jana! Very real and filled with TRUTH! Thanking God that He lifted your fog – I’ve seen those eyes filled with joy, and they are a beautiful sight :-)

    Love you!


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