How Brains Process the Death of a Loved One

That brain fog happens for a reason

Heather McLeod
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readNov 9, 2018

--

Photo: fcscafeine/Getty Images

OOnce upon a time, not so long ago, before my husband died of cancer, I was a capable person. I could multitask the heck out of 14-hour workdays and juggle dozens of to-dos with efficiency.

I would go to the hardware store for item X and, while there, also remember to get items Y and Z.

I could form sentences and find all the right words. I could follow a logical argument and question the gaps.

I am no longer this person. I hope to have a functioning brain again someday, but right now I’m learning to live with this constant fog in my synapses.

At first, I thought it was lack of sleep, like in the baby-brain days after our son was born, but I’m clocking nine to 10 hours a night. And it’s not life exhaustion, like when I was balancing farm work with a full-time job. My kid and I have it pretty easy these days.

Then I read some grief books, and we talked about physiological grief in my bereavement support group, and I realized my brain hasn’t stopped working. It’s just preoccupied.

At our most basic level, we are animals, and even though I know Brock has died, my brain is having trouble grasping this.

--

--

Heather McLeod
Human Parts

Writing about losing my young husband to cancer, grief, widowhood & this new, Plan B life. www.heathermcleod.ca https://www.buymeacoffee.com/heathermcleod