Shattered Vows, Mended Hearts: A Conversation on Grief in Divorce

Going through a divorce comes with a great mix of emotions, one of which can be grief. It can be an interesting emotion to navigate as you haven’t actually lost someone to death, but the feelings feel similar. Today, I am talking with family, marriage, and grief therapist Brittany Squillace about the different types of grief and how to work through them. She discusses ambiguous loss and how it relates to recognizing the obstacles of the loss of a marriage. Brittany talks about the common experiences that people grieving divorce face, and how to support someone going through a divorce if you're not the one in the middle of it. She highlights how to grieve and move on from a divorce when you have to continue to interact with that person. Tune in to better understand what you may be feeling and how to work through those difficult emotions. 

In this episode:

  • [2:38] Brittany shares the story of how she got into family, marriage and grief therapy. 
  • [5:00] How does grief work with a divorce? 
  • [7:25] How can you allow yourself to feel safe while dealing with grieving?
  • [8:31] What is the difference between a safe and unsafe place to grieve?
  • [14:09] How is the grieving of a divorce (non death loss) different from a loss from death?
  • [16:20] How do you grieve and move on when you have to continue to interact with the person?
  • [22:46] What is a way to give hope during a really hard time? 
  • [27:05] Brittany shares one thing you can do right now to help you. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • [8:32] Creating a safe space to feel your grief is essential for working through it. A safe space means talking with people who support you, who will hold your stuff and not take it on as their own. They won’t make you feel bad about it, dismiss or downplay what you are experiencing. 
  • [18:42] Grief never really goes away, although it does change. There may be times where it hits you like a ton of bricks and you wonder where in the world that came from. It happens and it’s okay. What will change and what won’t feel the same over time is the intensity in which that happens and how often that happens. 
  • [23:15] Whether you are going through grief or you are trying to help a loved one deal with grief early on, let them know that you will hold the hope for them. It won’t be easy navigating grief, and it won’t be linear, but being there to listen, support, and hold hope is one of the best things you can do. You can also hold hope for yourself by recognizing what you’ve accomplished and reminding yourself that you can do that thing again and again. 


[8:06] “There can be some benefit in sitting with the discomfort that comes with grief. The sadness, the anger, the confusion, whatever it might be. There can be a lot of benefits in holding your own space and saying, ‘I'm okay, this is uncomfortable, but I’m okay, and I can sit here and feel these because this is real’.” - Brittany Squillace 

[24:02] “Let someone hold the hope for you. If you have a good day or you have a moment, like a good moment in your day, highlight that. That's that part of hope. So now you can start holding that hope for yourself because you're like, ‘oh, I did it once before. This was an example where things are starting to shift for me’.” - Brittany Squillace 

[27:06] “One of the main things I wanted to make sure I touch on is ambiguous loss or divorce or anything that fits within this category falls into a type of grief called disenfranchised grief, which basically means it's a loss and a grief that doesn't get recognized so then therefore we don't grieve it the way that we should.” - Brittany Squillace

Guest Bio: 


When people learn I guide others through their grief...