The Unspeakable

Welcome to Mother’s Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief episode #14, where I want to focus on “The Unspeakable.” Each topic is all about “breaking the silent struggle” around grief. 

My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey and reflections from my book: My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief.  I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief and loss. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast.

The Mystery of the Unspoken Word

Do words evoke a feeling inside of you, especially when they are spoken?  They do for me.  And they have a rhythm like music.  There is something mysterious around the word “Unspeakable.” Maybe because we so quickly speak and talk about many topics. Do you feel we have the right to say whatever we feel and think? You know, freedom of speech is drilled into our culture and is the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. 

We look at freedom of speech as a human right by law and practice. Despite rules, despite cultures, we as humans and individuals have been on this planet for some time. We still feel with all of our freedom of speech rights, with grief and loss, there are things we just can not say.  Unspoken thoughts that really bother us. These are the “unspeakables.” They are the thoughts that run through our minds.  And when we are grieving from loss, we decide if they should come out of our mouth. When and if the unspeakables roll out of our mouth, these thoughts gain power, a reality that may go far beyond what we thought or meant. 

Sharing Unspeakables About Grief

Unspeakables might seem to be an unlikely topic for someone like me who says, break the silent struggle with grief. But I ask you if and when you “break the silent struggle with grief,” are you sharing some of your unspeakables around your loss? You see, unspeakables are not always right, and they are not necessarily bad. I believe they are driven by our emotions and our situation. 

In my book, Chapter 1, ” A Change of Planes,” I explained it as my “unspeakable truth.” The truth that my mother was in ICU was in my head and in my thoughts. It was a reality that I hadn’t fully come to terms with. My mind had responded to some of the emotions around this truth. But when it came out of my mouth for the first time, I became unbearably emotional. The same thought, the same truth, had now been spoken by me. 

Some Things to Consider About The Unspeakables

As always loved one, I ask you to consider: Are you holding some thoughts, memories, or realities that you fear to verbalize? As I have in the past, I encourage you to take some time to reflect and consider your unspeakables.  Determine if you should in the future address these unspeakables or let them stay where they are for now.  I do warn you, that when you speak them for the first time, expect some type of emotional response.  It may be tears, pain, and anger, and it may be joy and laughter of relief. I believe it all depends upon where you are on your grief journey. 

When I said my unspeakable truth to a complete stranger, I was fortunate that this airport security gate guard was present and compassionate towards me. I was grateful. As you reflect and determine what unspeakable truth you need to vocalize, please take pause. I encourage you to consider the place, the time, and the person and realize that it is your truth. Meaning, it is how you see the truth. You might want to find someone who is compassionate and explain to them what you are about to say and why so they are prepared and can understand what may come after it. 

Lifestyle Loss with COVID-19

As we continue our COVID-19 quarantine, we are all trying to adjust to a loss of our lifestyle and stay positive. Staying positive is a process and sometimes a moving target. In my household, during quarantine, we have had positive and decisive moments. However, there have been moments when the unspeakable was also said. As a result, many emotions came out; but we didn’t explode.  I am so thankful that we didn’t implode either. It’s a tradeoff, I guess. 

Our insides are as crucial as our outsides when it comes to well being. I know it is not easy to manage either of these sides, but it is well worth it.

We must try to find a way to balance ourselves, forgive ourselves, forgive others, and move forward with love and understanding when the unspeakables emerge. 

Reflecting and acting on the unspeakable is definitely a #empathyforgrief moment where I encourage you to show yourself and others more empathy than sympathy. 


I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcast episode #14 about “The Unspeakable.” My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It’s meant to capture and share the reality of life after loss and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is. 

This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward with more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it’s available free on Mother’s Backyard Buzz blog at 

Video versions of #empathyforgrief are available on YouTube at Mother’s Backyard Enterprise Channel. Please subscribe.  The podcasts are available on some new podcast providers like TuneIn, Stitcher and, Himalaya, in addition to Spotify, Apple, Google, and iHeart.

#empathyforgrief podcasts are on FM radio with Force 3 Radio Network. Force 3 Radio streams online at airing the podcast now at 3 pm CST during their all inspirational music Sundays. 

I invite you to find out more about my mission at Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 – “A Change of Planes” in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about “Grief Gets Physical.” 

Peace & Blessings