Grief the Unspoken

with Angie Cartwright
Introduction

After losing our little Ellie, I didn’t sleep very much. Searching for answers while trying to get through each night, I found several support groups that Angie started. It was helpful to know that I was not alone and be a part of a group of people with similar losses. She has done so much for so many. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
-Todd Nigro
Angie, what is your loss story?

I started to experience loss at the age of five. I found my baby sister deceased in her bassinet. I also feel that was the first time I would lose my mother. She was in a world of grief. At the age of twelve, I was informed by my mother that my father was not my father. Today, I still have no clue who my father is.

At the age of fifteen, I was pregnant with my son. When I informed the father that we were going to have a child, he left me. I gave my son up for adoption. I lost a grandfather, uncle, and a close friend all to suicide. I lost my twin brothers when I was a teenager. My mother gave them up for adoption. I lost my beautiful grandmother to cancer.

At the age of twenty-one, I lost my husband in a car wreck we were both in. I have lost seven friends in the last eight years. I lost my mother, over and over, due to alcoholism. My sister and I would be put into foster homes. In 2010, we lost our mother to a drug overdose. In the last year, I have lost a friend to suicide, a dear son-in-law to an accidental shooting, and my cousin to a heart attack.

I think it’s vitally important to know we don’t just grieve those who die. When I learned all the different situations and experiences that can cause grief, it answered why sadness often sits on my lap. Not knowing it was grief, I would treat my symptoms as depression. It was a temporary fix. It’s like trying to take a box of soap out to fix a flat tire. It won’t work. I needed to know what my problem was so that I could apply the correct tools.

What impact do you want to have on the world?

When it comes to grief and grieving, I want every human being to know it is okay to grieve. I want them to allow themselves to feel what they need to feel, to not hide their feelings. I want them to know healing is possible. We will never be the same and we will always miss them, but there is life after loss.
 
What lessons could people learn from you?

I think there are many lessons I can offer to someone in grief. I know that hiding your grief, will increase your grief. I know that pretending your okay can be a death sentence. I truly believe our soul is like a filter. When we stuff things our soul gets clogged up, it gets dark. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our feelings, our soul can be free.

I have also learned the difference between taking action toward my heartbreak and doing nothing. When my husband was killed in 1996, I did nothing to help my grief. By 2003, I was worse and nothing had changed. In 2010, when my mother passed, I took action to heal my grief and its working. I feel better. I still have my days but they are nothing like they use to be.
 
What is Grief The Unspoken?

Grief The Unspoken is a family. It is a family no one wants to be a part of. But after a loss, it’s the only place for awhile that many may feel comfortable in. Everyone speaks your language. The pressure is off to be a certain way. Our closed groups provide a safe place to let it all out and be yourself.

We have guidelines in the groups, and people post when they feel like it. Some are not able to post for a while, but they read others' feelings and they feel like someone understands. All groups run pretty much the same way.

We have a few groups that are different. We have a diary group. We ask no one to comment on anyone’s post in that group. It’s strictly for writing in a virtual diary. We have one that is for venting, it’s a little more controversial. That group is specifically for intense emotions. Some people cannot handle those kinds of posts. I have found the group works well. They scream and get it out and feel better.

I believe the groups help a griever to get to a place where they start wanting help. We are not there to fix them. We are there to support them.
 
What impact have the groups made on you and others?

I can’t speak for everyone but from the many who speak with me, it has made a huge impact. To be told “you saved my life” fills me with so much gratitude, and often leaves me speechless.

Many members say it is the only place they feel comfortable. They don’t know where they would be if they couldn’t come to the groups. It has helped them in the early days of grief. Many are taking the necessary steps into counseling to help bring healing to their broken hearts.

For me, the impact has been the same. It has given me purpose. It helps me to see where problems are still occurring, and what needs to be changed. The members help me every day to raise grief awareness. Without them, I don’t know if I would be here. I am forever grateful to the Grief the Unspoken family.

About Grief the Unspoken

Our mission is to reach out to our fellow grievers. To provide a place to feel how you need to feel. To be able to grieve and heal in your way, and in your own time.

My family, friends, and I have had some unfortunate losses in our lives. In 2010, my mother passed away suddenly. That year was the darkest time in my life. I lived in total overwhelming grief. Some days it felt like I couldn’t breathe.

The world turns upside down when you lose someone. I was unable to openly speak about my pain. If I did share my pain the way people reacted, or comments they would make made me uncomfortable about my grief. So I would shut down.

So with a lot of pain and nowhere to put it, I began searching. At first, it was a search for answers. Then, when I was unable to find solid answers I became frustrated. But, I kept searching. I think pain forces you to open your heart up to new ideas, being desperate can be a gift. I’ve read books I probably would have never read. I have a bond with people, I never thought I would be connected with. My family and I are much closer, and my faith is getting stronger every day.

Running a website is something I could never see myself doing. But one morning after consulting my sister, I decided to move forward on my idea. This site is a part of my healing process. I believe we all have an individual journey through this process. I want anybody to be able to come to this site and be able to relate and share their pain and hope, keeping their lost loved one’s legacy alive.

If you are a fellow griever, welcome to Grief the Unspoken. I hope it helps even a little. We have 17 closed groups for your privacy. We are like a family, a family no one wanted to be a part of. But, a family we couldn’t live without. Peace be with you, my fellow griever.

- Angie Cartwright
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