grief rash on mother's day

The grief rash

The birthday rash. The holiday heavy. The death anniversary hot flashes. The mother’s day stomach ache.

Grief has physical symptoms that are so profound.

I was listening to the Dermatology Show on ‘Dr. Radio’ recently and the doctor on the show was explaining that she and one of her patients could not figure out why at one particular time of year, her psoriasis would flare up really badly.

The doctor asked her patient if there was anything stressful going on in her life or was there anything about that particular month. Then the patient said that in the month of March, ten years ago, her son had been murdered and the grief during that month was insurmountable. The doctor looked over records as she had treated the patient for nearly 5 years and they finally found the pattern–during that month, she had had awful flare ups.

Once I heard that, I started to think.

For the last two spring seasons in April since Charles died, I’ve gotten an angry rash right below my eyelids. I have had a little rash in spring seasons before but nothing like this. I know they are caused by allergies.

This whole month, I woke up with swollen, red, crusty eye rashes. Worse than ever.

Charles’ birthday is April 26.

The day after his birthday, that rash is practically gone. One more day later, it’s cleared up– just like that.

After I lost my son to suicide, the emotional pain came as no surprise. But the physical symptoms and physical pain that came with it were not expected.

As far as these “hives” which is technically what they really are, I took Benadryl and that helped a lot. I also make sure to do more meditation and tap into my support resources.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

10 thoughts on “The grief rash”

  1. I lost my youngest son on 7/31/2022. He had his 1st Heavenly Birthday last week, and I have had this horrible rash all over my chest and neck. I don’t know what to do to get rid of it. I still can’t believe that my baby boy is gone. I’ve tried everything on it. What should I do?

    1. I started with benedryl and then I think someone gave me something a bit stronger. But what helped it subside was allowing myself to feel the feelings and then I did a meditation thing. Because it was impossible for me to do I did a “sound bath.” That’s a meditation with Tibetan singing bowls. But that’s not all. I reached out to grief group members and then we threw a charles party. So it subsided with all that but it went away completely after the day. Like the day after.

      The next year I kind of prepared ahead of time. I still had it but less bad. Now I don’t get it or it’s just a little. But for five years it was a pain.

  2. I lost my eldest son on February 8th2021.Since then l have had a horrible rash on my face,forehead, nose and side of nose.l helped my daughter in law take care of my son who had an operation for a Glioblastoma brain tumour.l accompanied my son to hospital for radiation treatment as my daughter in law was unable to due to her own health problems.lt was a very stressful time for all of us,the very worse time of my life watching my amazing son suffer and deteriorate.We all went through hell and him most of all.l have recently had medication for the rash of my doctor but after3 weeks there has been no improvement.

    1. GBM is the worst tumor. I am a brain tumor survivor but of course it wasn’t a glioblastoma. Since it’s terminal. But in the hospital I was in the room with those who did. Heartbreaking end. I really feel for you. I wish I could hug you now.

      So here’s what I did. I went to a support group. There is a group called compassionate friends. See if your area has that. It’s for parents and grandparents who have lost a child. Once you take care of yourself emotionally by connecting with others, the rash will become “less angry.” I also go to a sound bath meditation with Tibetan singing bowls. Pretty kumbaya but it works for me. Maybe some guru like mindfulness thing would work for you? Maybe faith?

      But I know how itchy, hot and uncomfortable those rashes are. I did do things like benedryl but what worked best was connecting with others who were grieving and by finding health coping strategies to lessen my suffering.

      Thank you for commenting and allowing me to hear your story and grieve with you for the loss of your son.

      Karla Helbert LPC and I wrote this ebook about coping strategies. She lost her son to a brain tumor. Her son was a baby but it’s such a brutal demise. https://annemoss.com/2019/01/16/free-ebook-coping-strategies-for-grief-and-loss/

  3. I too am covered in the most burning and itching stress rash following the sudden shock & loss of my young husband.

    1. I am so sorry. An over the counter medication called Benedryl helped alleviate the hives. But it took me some time to figure out my rash was tied to grief. How long ago did you lose your husband? Tell me what was special about him.

  4. My friend committed suicide this Monday and I can testify that this is very real, my whole chest and even my arms are covered in terrible hives and it just makes so much sense that it is grief related.

    1. I know right? But to your brain, the physical and the mental are one in the same. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Let me know how you are doing? It’s a difficult loss and I want to make sure you are OK.

  5. This is amazing. The power of grief is incredible. We often forget that it manifests physically. Thank you for sharing and continuing to educate us!

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