Hiding Places

By Deb Kosmer
©2005 Deb Kosmer; Oshkosh WI

Probably all of us are familiar with the childhood game of hide and seek. Some of us have not only played this game ourselves but have gone on to play it with our own children and grandchildren.

Today as I thought about my own grief and yours I was reminded of this game and how many of us still play it in our adult life.

When our grief becomes bigger than life and bigger than we can manage, very often, what we do is try to hide from it. We do this in many ways...eating when we are not hungry, sleeping when we are not tired, going somewhere, anywhere that takes us away from home and our memories and the thousand and one reminders. Some of us hide in one more drink, some go shopping. Some gamble, some pretend, some lose themselves in the problems of others, facing other peoples pain rather than their own. Our hiding places can be the corner bar, the place we bury ourselves in our work, the television where for endless hours we can live someone else’s life, the golf course as we hit one more ball.

Sometimes these are hiding places; sometimes they are our way of seeking, of looking for what we cannot find, the face, body, and presence of our loved ones. This is when we realize that life, like some games is not always fair. In hide and seek we are supposed to find the person but now no matter where we look or how hard, we come up empty. Sometimes that makes us angry, our pain worse, or our sense of failure greater.

Hiding is not always wrong or bad. Sometimes we need to hide or to take a mini-vacation from our pain. It is important though to take some time to recognize what our individual hiding places are. If we find we are hiding more and more or for longer periods each day, it is important to talk with someone about that can help.

The truth is that none of us can hide forever. Hiding from or denying our pain and grief only makes everyday harder. So be gentle with yourselves. Let your heart feel what it feels and in your seeking, let others in along the way. Though you cannot find your loved one as he or she was, when you are ready their presence will find you.

Hiding from our grief, only keeps it hidden deep within our hearts. When we learn to give up hiding and let grief out, it is our loved ones who occupy the space in our hearts.

About the Author

Deb Kosmer


Hatley, Wisconsin

Deb Kosmer provides grief support to patients and families prior to death and to family members after the death, faci.itates grief-support groups, offers grief educational programs to the community, and collaborates with other agencies to do that.

Email: debrakosmer@gmail.com Read Deb's articles at Open to Hope