Bereavement and Grief (2022)

August 26, 2010

People cope with the loss of a loved one in many different ways. For some, the experience may lead to personal growth, even though it is a difficult and trying time. There is no right or wrong way to cope with the passing of a loved one. The way a person grieves depends on the personality of that person and the relationship with the person who has died. How a person copes with grief is affected by many factors: the person’s experience with the illness, the way the disease progressed, the person’s cultural and religious background, his or her coping skills and mental history, existing support systems and the person’s social and financial status.

What is the difference between grief, bereavement and mourning?
The terms grief, bereavement, and mourning are often used in place of each other, but they have different meanings.

Grief is the normal process of reacting to the loss. Grief reactions may be felt in response to physical losses (for example, a death) or in response to symbolic or social losses (for example, divorce or loss of a job). Each type of loss means the person has had something taken away. As a family goes through a life-threatening or chronic illness, many losses are experienced, and each triggers its own grief reaction. Grief may be experienced as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems or illness. Social reactions can include feelings about taking care of others in the family, seeing family or friends or returning to work. As with bereavement, grief processes depend on the relationship with the person who died, the situation surrounding the death, and the person’s attachment to the person who died. Grief may be described as the presence of physical problems, constant thoughts of the person who died, guilt, hostility and a change in the way one normally acts.

Bereavement is the period after a loss during which grief is experienced and mourning occurs. The time spent in a period of bereavement depends on how attached the person was to the person who died, and how much time was spent anticipating the loss.

(Video) Grief or Bereavement

Mourning is the process by which people adapt to a loss. Mourning is also influenced by cultural customs, rituals and society’s rules for coping with loss.

What is “grief work” and how does it relate to mourning?
“Grief work” includes the processes that a mourner needs to complete before resuming daily life. These processes include separating from the person who died, readjusting to a world without him or her, and forming new relationships. To separate from the person who died, a person must find another way to redirect the emotional energy that was given to the loved one. This does not mean the person was not loved or should be forgotten, but that the mourner needs to turn to others for emotional satisfaction. The mourner’s roles, identity and skills may need to change to readjust to living in a world without the person who died. The mourner must give other people or activities the emotional energy that was once given to the person who died in order to redirect emotional energy.

People who are grieving often feel extremely tired because the process of grieving usually requires physical and emotional energy. The grief they are feeling is not just for the person who died, but also for the unfulfilled wishes and plans for the relationship with the person. Death often reminds people of past losses or separations. Mourning may be described as having three phases, including the urge to bring back the person who died, disorganization and sadness, and reorganization.

What are the phases of coping with a life-threatening illness, like Alzheimer’s?
Understanding how other people cope with a life-threatening illness may help the patient and his or her family prepare to cope with their own illness. A life-threatening illness may be described as having four phases, including the phase before the diagnosis, the acute phase, the chronic phase, and recovery or death.

The phase before the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness is the period of time just before the diagnosis when a person realizes that he or she may develop an illness. This phase is not usually a single moment but extends throughout the period when the person has a physical examination, including various tests, and ends when the person is told of the diagnosis.

The acute phase occurs at the time of the diagnosis when a person is forced to understand the diagnosis and make decisions about his or her medical care.

The chronic phase is the period of time between the diagnosis and the result of treatment. It is the period of time when a patient tries to cope with the demands of life while also undergoing treatment and coping with the side effects of treatment. In Alzheimer’s, the period between a diagnosis and death may last many years.

In the recovery phase, people cope with the mental, social, physical, religious and financial effects of the disease.

(Video) Bereavement and loss counselling: working with grief

The final (terminal) phase of a life-threatening illness, like Alzheimer’s, occurs when death is likely. The focus then changes from curing the illness or prolonging life to providing comfort and relief from pain. Religious concerns are often the focus during this time.

How might the terminal phase of a fatal illness affect families?
People who are dying may move toward death over longer or shorter periods and in different ways. Different causes of death result in different paths toward death.

The pathway to death may be long and slow, sometimes lasting years, or it may be a rapid fall toward death (for example, after a car accident) when the chronic phase of the illness if it exists at all, is short. The “peaks and valleys” pathway describes the patient who seems to get better repeatedly and then worse again (for example, a patient with AIDS, leukemia, or Alzheimer’s in some cases). Another pathway to death may be described as a long, slow period of failing health and then a period of stable health (for example, patients whose health gets worse and then stabilizes at a new, more limiting level).

Patients on this pathway must readjust to losses in functioning ability. Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease often occur over a long period of time and involve long-term pain and suffering and/or loss of control over one’s body or mind. Deaths caused by Alzheimer’s are likely to drain patients and families physically and emotionally because they occur over a long period of time, often many years.

What is anticipatory grief?
Anticipatory grief is the normal mourning that occurs when a patient or family is expecting a death. Anticipatory grief has many of the same symptoms as those experienced after death has happened. It includes all of the thinking, feeling, cultural and social reactions to an expected death that are felt by the patient and family.

Anticipatory grief includes depression, extreme concern for the dying person, preparing for the death and adjusting to changes caused by death. Anticipatory grief gives the family more time to get used to the reality of the loss slowly. People can complete “unfinished business” with the dying person (for example, saying “Good-bye,” “I love you” or “I forgive you”).

Anticipatory grief may not always occur. Anticipatory grief does not mean that before the death, a person feels the same kind of pain as the grief felt after a death. There is not a set amount of grief that a person will feel. The grief experienced before death does not make the grief after death last a shorter amount of time.

The grief that follows an unplanned death is different from anticipatory grief. The sudden loss may overwhelm the coping abilities of a person, making normal functioning impossible. Mourners may not be able to realize the total impact of their loss. Even though the person recognizes that the loss occurred, he or she may not be able to accept the loss mentally and emotionally. Following an unexpected death, the mourner may feel that the world no longer has order and does not make sense.

(Video) 11Hrs/Bereavement, Loss and Grieving/Subliminal Meditation/Acceptance/Peace/Ocean Sounds

Some people believe that anticipatory grief is rare. To accept a loved one’s death while he or she is still alive may leave the mourner feeling that the dying patient has been abandoned. Expecting the loss often makes the attachment to the dying person stronger. Although anticipatory grief may help the family, the dying person may experience too much grief, causing the patient to become withdrawn.

What are the phases of grief?
The process of bereavement may be described as having four phases:

  • Shock and numbness: Family members find it difficult to believe the death; they feel stunned and numb.
  • Yearning and searching: Survivors experience separation anxiety and cannot accept the reality of the loss. They try to find and bring back the lost person and feel ongoing frustration and disappointment when this is not possible.
  • Disorganization and despair: Family members feel depressed and find it difficult to plan for the future. They are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating and focusing.
  • Reorganization: Survivors begin to accept their loss and to establish new ties to others, with a gradual return of interests and activities.

What kind of help is available for people who have difficulty coping with grief?
Most of the support that people receive after a loss comes from friends and family. Doctors and nurses may also be a source of comfort. For people who experience difficulty in coping with their loss, grief counseling or grief therapy may be necessary and helpful.

Grief counseling helps mourners with normal grief reactions work through the tasks of grieving. Grief counseling can be provided by professionally trained people, or in self-help groups where bereaved people help other bereaved people. All of these services may be available in an individual or group setting. It is important to remember that everyone deals with grief differently and seeking help from a grief counselor is in no way a sign of weakness.

The goals of grief counseling include:

  • Helping the bereaved to accept the loss by helping him or her to talk about the loss
  • Helping the bereaved to identify and express feelings related to the loss (for example, anger, guilt, anxiety, helplessness, and sadness)
  • Helping the bereaved to live without the person who died and to make decisions alone
  • Helping the bereaved to separate emotionally from the person who died and to begin new relationships
  • Providing support and time to focus on grieving at crucial times such as birthdays and anniversaries
  • Describing normal grieving and the differences in mourning among individuals
  • Providing continuous support
  • Helping the bereaved to understand his or her methods of coping
  • Identifying coping problems the bereaved may have and making recommendations for professional grief therapy

What is grief therapy and how might it help?
Grief therapy is used with people who have more serious grief reactions. The goal of grief therapy is to identify and solve problems the mourner may have in separating from the person who died.

When separation difficulties occur, they may appear as physical or behavior problems, delayed or extreme mourning, conflicted or extended grief, or unexpected mourning.

Grief therapy may be available as individual or group therapy. A contract is set up with the individual that establishes the time limit of the therapy, the fees, the goals, and the focus of the therapy.

(Video) Helping Clients Deal with Grief

In grief therapy, the mourner talks about the deceased and tries to recognize whether he or she is experiencing an expected amount of emotion about the death. Grief therapy may allow the mourner to see that anger, guilt or other adverse or uncomfortable feelings can exist at the same time as more positive feelings about the person who died.

Human beings tend to make strong bonds of affection or attachment to others. When these bonds are broken, as in death, a strong emotional reaction occurs. After a loss occurs, a person must accomplish certain tasks to complete the process of grief. These basic tasks of mourning include accepting that the loss happened, living with and feeling the physical and emotional pain of grief, adjusting to life without the loved one, and emotionally separating from the loved one and going on with life without him or her. It is important that these tasks are completed before mourning can end.

In grief therapy, six tasks may be used to help a mourner work through grief:

  1. Develop the ability to experience, express and adjust to painful grief-related changes
  2. Find effective ways to cope with painful changes
  3. Establish a continuing relationship with the person who died
  4. Stay healthy and keep functioning
  5. Re-establish relationships and understand that others may have difficulty empathizing with the grief they experience
  6. Develop a healthy image of oneself and the world

Complications in grief may come about due to uncompleted grief from earlier losses. The grief for these earlier losses must be managed in order to handle the current grief. Grief therapy includes dealing with the blockages to the mourning process, identifying unfinished business with the deceased, and identifying other losses that result from the death. The bereaved is helped to see that the loss is final and to picture life after the grief period.

What is complicated grief?
Complicated grief reactions require more complex therapies than uncomplicated grief reactions.

Adjustment disorders (especially depressed and anxious mood or disturbed emotions and behavior), major depression, substance abuse, and even post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the common problems of complicated bereavement. Complicated grief is identified by the extended length of time of the symptoms, the interference caused by the symptoms, or the intensity of the symptoms (for example, intense suicidal thoughts or acts).

Complicated or unresolved grief may appear as a complete absence of grief and mourning, an ongoing inability to experience normal grief reactions, delayed grief, conflicted grief or chronic grief. Factors that contribute to the chance that one may experience complicated grief include the suddenness of the death, the gender of the person in mourning, and the relationship to the deceased (for example, an intense, extremely close, or very contradictory relationship). Grief reactions that turn into major depression should be treated with both drug and psychological therapy. One who avoids any reminders of the person who died, who continually thinks or dreams about the person who died, and who gets scared and panics easily at any reminders of the person who died may be suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance abuse may occur, frequently in an attempt to avoid painful feelings about the loss, as may symptoms (such as sleeplessness). Post-traumatic stress can also be treated with drugs and psychological therapy.

Source: Adapted from “Bereavement, Mourning, and Grief (PDQ®)”, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health.

(Video) Lost in Loss: A Window into the Grieving Brain | Zoe Donaldson | TEDxBoulder

More information on Bereavement and Grief is available from the National Institutes of Health.


How do you respond to someone who says they are grieving? ›

What to say to someone who has been bereaved
  1. Say how sorry you are. ...
  2. Share a memory. ...
  3. Offer them space to talk. ...
  4. Tell them however they feel is OK. ...
  5. Recognise how hard it is for them. ...
  6. Ask if there is anything they need. ...
  7. Tell them you're thinking of them. ...
  8. Sometimes you don't need to say anything.

Is grief and bereavement the same thing? ›

It can be tricky to separate the two, but the differences are there. In conclusion, grief forms an emotional reaction to loss, while bereavement is the time period after the loss whereby the person grieves and mourns that loss.

What is the meaning of grief and bereavement? ›

Grief describes the response to any type of loss. Bereavement is grief that involves the death of a loved one. Grief includes a variety of feelings that go along with the process of moving on from a significant change or loss.

What to say to someone who is grieving quotes? ›

Short Sympathy Quotes and Sympathy Sayings
  • “Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.”
  • “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
  • “I wish you healing and peace.”
  • “I hope you feel surrounded by much love.”
  • “We are so sorry for your loss.”
  • “We are thinking of you during these difficult times.”
Dec 15, 2021

What should you not say to someone grieving? ›

  • “How are you doing?”
  • “You'll be okay after a while.”
  • “I understand how you feel.”
  • “You shouldn't feel that way.”
  • “Stop crying.”
  • “At least he's in a better place; his suffering is over.”
  • “At least she lived a long life, many people die young.”
  • “She brought this on herself.”
Sep 8, 2020

How do you use the word bereavement? ›

state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one.
  1. I sympathize with you in your bereavement.
  2. We all sympathize with you in your bereavement.
  3. The experience of bereavement can strengthen family ties.
  4. She has recently suffered a bereavement.
  5. He has suffered a bereavement.
Jul 24, 2020

What is bereavement example? ›

Bereavement is the period of sadness and loneliness that we experience from a loss. Typically this loss is the death of a loved one; however, the loss can be due to other factors. For example, it is possible for someone to experience bereavement as a result of losing a spouse in a divorce.

What are the goals of grief and bereavement Counselling? ›

The treatment goal for grief is to help individuals normalize and embrace their emotions during the grief process. Professional strategies are suggested and practiced to help the bereaved have the tools and support they need to cope with their loss without feeling alone or emotionally distraught.

What is normal bereavement? ›

Most people experiencing normal grief and bereavement have a period of sorrow, numbness, and even guilt and anger. Gradually these feelings ease, and it's possible to accept loss and move forward.

How would you describe grief? ›

Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received.

Does bereavement mean death? ›

Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it's part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. You may experience grief as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair.

What are encouraging words? ›

  • “You're never far from my thoughts.”
  • “Know how often I think of you? ...
  • “You're on my mind and in my heart.”
  • “Keeping you close in my thoughts.”
  • “Lifting you up in prayer and hoping you have a better day today.”
  • “I can't wait to catch up with you soon.”
Apr 20, 2022

What are comforting words? ›

The Right Words of Comfort for Someone Grieving
  • I'm sorry.
  • I care about you.
  • He/she will be dearly missed.
  • He/she is in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You are important to me.
  • My condolences.
  • I hope you find some peace today.

What are some encouraging quotes? ›

100 Inspirational Quotes
  • "When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go." ...
  • "Nothing is impossible. ...
  • "There is nothing impossible to they who will try." ...
  • "The bad news is time flies. ...
  • "Life has got all those twists and turns. ...
  • "Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you."
May 6, 2022

How do you send a comforting message? ›

Dear __,
  1. I am so sorry for your loss. ...
  2. I want to offer you my thoughts of comfort during this sorrowful time. ...
  3. I send you my condolences during this sorrowful time. ...
  4. I hope these words will help in some small way to ease the grief you feel in the loss of your loved one.
  5. I am so sorry for your loss.
Dec 14, 2021

How do you respond to someone whose family member died? ›

Here are some commonly used things to say when someone dies:
  1. ''I'm so sorry to hear about your loss''
  2. “My sincere condolences”
  3. “You have my deepest sympathy”
  4. “We're all thinking of you”
Feb 5, 2021

What is the meaning of family bereavement? ›

Bereavement usually means losing someone we love through death and also follows on from change and loss. It is a devastating event, turning our world upside down and changing our lives forever. The death of a loved one is probably the worst loss we will ever experience.

How long does bereavement last? ›

It's common for the grief process to take a year or longer. A grieving person must resolve the emotional and life changes that come with the death of a loved one. The pain may become less intense, but it's normal to feel emotionally involved with the deceased for many years.

Why is bereavement important? ›

Grieving such losses is important because it allows us to 'free-up' energy that is bound to the lost person, object, or experience—so that we might re-invest that energy elsewhere. Until we grieve effectively we are likely to find reinvesting difficult; a part of us remains tied to the past. Grieving is not forgetting.

What are the effects of bereavement? ›

Some of the most common symptoms include: shock and numbness – this is usually the first reaction to loss, and people often talk about "being in a daze" overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying. tiredness or exhaustion.

What is meant by the term bereavement? ›

Definition of bereavement

: the state or fact of being bereaved or deprived of something or someone.

What are some practical skills you can use when communicating with someone experiencing grief? ›

Anticipatory grief
  • Acknowledge their grief.
  • Take time to listen - attentively.
  • Suggest a quiet place to sit together.
  • Use the name of the person who has died.
  • Share resources - leaflets and contacts.
  • Remember everyone is different.

How can someone take care of themselves that will help them deal with grief? ›

Here a few other grief and self-care activities to consider:
  1. Walk outside. Go for walk outside. ...
  2. Call a friend. ...
  3. Listen to music. ...
  4. Write in a journal. ...
  5. Go for a bike ride. ...
  6. Join a bereavement support group. ...
  7. Read a book. ...
  8. Take a bath.

What are stages of grief? ›

Persistent, traumatic grief can cause us to cycle (sometimes quickly) through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These stages are our attempts to process change and protect ourselves while we adapt to a new reality.

What is a difference between bereavement and grief quizlet? ›

BEREAVEMENT is the acknowledgment of the objective fact that one has experienced a death. GRIEF is the emotional response to that loss.

What is a normal bereavement period? ›

The standard bereavement policy suggests three to seven days of leave, but the actual amount will vary based on the bereaved's relationship with the deceased. Most bereavement policies differentiate between the loss of a core family member versus peripheral family and friends.

Does bereavement mean death? ›

Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it's part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. You may experience grief as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair.

What are stages of grief? ›

Persistent, traumatic grief can cause us to cycle (sometimes quickly) through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These stages are our attempts to process change and protect ourselves while we adapt to a new reality.

Gloria shared her regrets about not being with him when he died, and the guilt she felt for having felt relief when he passed.. The loss of all that your loved one did for you.. The way we feel after a loss is different for everyone.. How did you feel?. It can help to remember your loved one’s life and the life you shared together.. How does this part feel?

The loss of a loved one is life's most stressful event and can cause a major emotional crisis.. After the death of someone you love, you experience bereavement , which literally means "to be deprived by death.". When a death takes place, you may experience a wide range of emotions, even when the death is expected.. Many people report feeling an initial stage of numbness after first learning of a death, but there is no real order to the grieving process.. The death may necessitate major social adjustments requiring the surviving spouse to parent alone, adjust to single life and maybe even return to work.

This page discusses some ideas about bereavement and death, to help you cope with your grief, and also to help others who are grieving.. The change cycle describes four stages in moving through grief:. The first stage is denial, the refusal to believe that the death has really happened.. You hear or see this stage manifested in people saying things like:. In bereavement, this stage is likely to be characterised by people discussing their finances, making decisions about where to live, and thinking about how they want to spend their time.. The Right Time for Decisions?. You will be able to make better decisions when you are moving through the exploration phase than when you are either still in denial, or angry.. This phase moves people out of the cycle of personal change, and into a ‘new normal’ for them.. One very good analogy about grief and bereavement is the ball in a box.. The ball moves randomly around the box, and every time it touches the button, it causes you pain.. Over time, however, the ball grows smaller.The ball still moves around the box, and it still hits the button sometimes—and when it does, it hurts.. We have described both the change cycle and the ball in the box as if grieving was a simple, linear process, following an entirely logical course.. There are several ways that you can support someone who has been bereaved.. They can vent at any time, or in any way.

Most of us, at some time in our life, will experience the death or loss of someone we love.. Grief is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings.. We will most often grieve for someone that we have known for some time.. At the time, you may feel that it is too painful, say, to go to the funeral.. You can also feel very angry at this time - towards doctors and nurses who did not prevent the death, towards friends and relatives who did not do enough, or even towards the person who has, by dying, left you.. These sudden changes of emotion can be confusing to friends or relatives, but they are one of the normal parts of grieving.. Even so, years later you may sometimes find yourself talking as though the person you have lost is still with you.. Others may find it hard to understand why the bereaved person must keep talking about the same things again and again, but this is part of the process of resolving grief and should be encouraged.. There are people who seem hardly to grieve at all.. Supports people after the death of someone close.

While everyone experiences their grief differently, there are some theories that can help explain the grieving process so that we can make sense of what we are experiencing.. Tonkin, who was a grief counselor herself, conceptualized grief as a process that involves “growing around the grief.” According to this model , which remains among the most popular theories of grief, in the initial stages of bereavement, grief tends to be all-consuming.. If you feel as if you are grieving or healing differently from those around you, this is nothing to be ashamed of; you may have simply constructed a different narrative regarding the loss, based upon your unique life experiences.. There are various stage theories of grief, which suggest that people move through predictable, predetermined stages when experiencing bereavement.. These theories can be helpful for people who find comfort in knowing that intense emotions like anger and depression will not last forever, but if you do not go through stages exactly as described, it does not mean that your grieving process is in any way abnormal.. When grief is devalued or disenfranchised, people are denied social support, which can make it even more difficult to cope throughout the grieving process.. There are various theories of grief, and finding one that you identify with can help you to process a loss and feel validated in your experience.. While it is normal to feel some intense emotions following a loss, if you are having trouble processing these feelings, you may benefit from attending a bereavement support group or seeking some sort of counseling to help you make sense of the situation.. Whether you are experiencing complicated grief or simply undergoing the typical feelings that go along with bereavement, sometimes, people need support to help them cope with a loss.

Extreme sadness Reduced sense of concentration Feeling disconnected from what is happening around you Disrupted sleeping and eating patterns. Depression is not caused by grief, but if we have unresolved issues in the relationship we have lost, we can hold ourselves in a place of guilt and pain, and this can feel very much like depression.. Whether we try to deal with this pain by hiding our feelings or by taking anti-depressants to make them less intense, it still does nothing to process them.. When children have an experience that makes them feel sad and they are allowed to feel sad without the adults around them trying to distract them from their sadness, they are able to process their sadness in the moment.. However, if we can accept that the feelings of overwhelming sadness and emotional pain that follow loss is natural, then we can grieve in a healthy manner.. Accept your feelings and acknowledge your pain – what you are feeling is normal and right for you.

Understanding how grief works, the stages of grief, and the difference between mourning vs. grief can help you as you navigate your way through this often complicated process of healing.. Bereavement is what defines the period of time after loss.. When you suffer these other types of losses, you’ll likely experience the same types of grief as if you’d suffered a loss of a loved one.. And, bereavement is the time period that a person can grieve and mourn that loss.. These are also what define the five stages of grief when talking about the grieving process and “working through” your grief.

Well, obviously, it's very, very, very difficult time to people and. the most important thing in terms of support. and how you think and feel within that sort of volcano of loss.. grief, bereavement and loss and it all started with your. My first wife was called Gemma, and an eight year old boy, Ethan. the early hours of a Monday morning that she had a blood cancer. this awful confusing world of grief in very little time.. they can jump back out and that's a little bit how their grief works. didn't have kind of things to think back on. I don't know, I just had a feeling that the most important thing was. And you don't feel like you're being brave and I remember. is being vulnerable enough to go today I'm feeling awful. to helping other people through grief and loss. he hadn't been well for a while and we expect it at that time in life.. I say I don't understand why people aren't around me anymore.

Bereavement is the grief and mourning experience following the death of someone important to you.. Losing a romantic partner also means grieving the loss of your daily lifestyle, the loss of a shared history, and the loss of a future planned together.. When you lose someone important in your life, it’s okay to feel how you feel.. Allow yourself to feel .. Don’t think that you should be feeling a certain way at a certain time.. Often, other people may appear to have moved on, while you’re left struggling to make sense of your “new normal”.. Finding ways of celebrating the person you loved can help maintain their memory and provide comfort as you move through the grieving process.. Saying the things you never got to say to your loved one in life can provide an important emotional release and help you make sense of what you’re feeling.. You may never truly get over the death of someone you love.

You may associate grieving with the death of a loved one —which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief—but any loss can cause grief, including:. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things.. Whatever the cause of your grief, though, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss, find new meaning, and eventually move on with your life.. While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.. In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up.. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss.. While sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry, that doesn’t mean that every time you interact with friends and family, you need to talk about your loss.. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process.. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment.

The process involves many different emotions, actions, and expressions, all of which help a person come to terms with the loss of a loved one.. We may hear the time of grief being described as "normal grieving," but this simply refers to a process anyone may go through, and none of us experiences grief the same way.. And every loss is different.. Mourning often goes along with grief.. While grief is a personal experience and process, mourning is how grief and loss are shown in public.. Bereavement refers to the time when a person experiences sadness after losing a loved one.. A person may feel better for a while, only to become sad again.. A grieving person must resolve the emotional and life changes that come with the death of a loved one.. The pain may become less intense, but it’s normal to feel emotionally involved with the deceased for many years.. Others might feel relief, while some may wonder why they feel nothing at all at the death of such a person.. But when their loved one actually dies, it can still be a shock and bring about unexpected feelings of sadness and loss.. Some may go through the stages just as they are described below, and other people may move back and forth between stages.. Some people may get stuck in one stage and have trouble reaching the final stage of the grief process.. Some or all of the following may be seen in a person who is grieving:

Based on her conversations with over 200 people, Kübler-Ross outlined some of the feelings people often experience towards the end of their life.. Some people feel angry with the people around them for seeming to quickly move on with their lives.. You might feel as though you didn’t do enough for the person who’s died.. Some people feel relieved that the person has died, often because their loved one is no longer having to cope with their lymphoma.. an ongoing sense of numbness or disbelief that the person has died spending a lot of time thinking about how the person died ongoing low mood going out of your way to avoid reminders of the person feeling that life has no meaning or purpose thoughts of ending your life, perhaps to be with the person.. Many people feel uncomfortable talking about death and don’t know how to support someone who is bereaved.. Each person goes at their own pace and just because you feel OK on one day, it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel OK the next.. Despite still loving and thinking about the person who has died, many people start to recover from a major bereavement within a year or two.. Many people think they ‘see’ or ‘hear’ the person who’s died.. It can feel extremely unfair that the person you love has died.. Although the person is no longer physically with you, some people feel that the person is with them in a mental or spiritual way.. Some people describe feelings of love and a sense of being with the person when they think about them.. Your local hospice might offer bereavement support services such as support groups and bereavement counselling for children and young people.. Some people think they don’t ‘deserve’ to feel the loss as intensely as other people who perhaps had a closer relationship to the person who’s died.

If you or a loved one is dealing with loss , it can be helpful to learn more about the grieving process.. These steps may not be followed exactly, or other feelings may surface after you thought you were through the stages of grieving.. In the first stage of the grieving process, denial helps us minimize the overwhelming pain of loss.. During this stage in grieving, you may try to bargain to change the situation, agreeing to do something in return for being relieved of the pain you feel.. In this stage of grieving, we start to feel the loss of our loved one more abundantly.. Although this is a very natural stage in the grieving process, dealing with depression after the loss of a loved one can be extremely isolating.. But the emotional survival tactics of denial, bargaining, and anger are less likely to be present during this phase of the grieving process.. One person may experience the stages quickly, such as in a matter of weeks, whereas another person may take months or even years to move through the stages of grieving.. Your pain is unique to you, your relationship to the person you lost is unique, and the emotional processing can feel different to each person.. We may feel a bit aimless during this portion of the grieving process and retreat from others as we process our pain.. During this stage in grieving, the pain of the loss starts to set in.. It is in this stage in grieving that you begin to truly realize the reality of your loss.. In this final stage of the grieving process, you begin to accept the loss and feel hope for what tomorrow might bring.. We may want so badly to help and for the person to feel better, so we believe that nudging them to talk and process their emotions before they're truly ready will help them faster.. While you may experience all five stages of grief, you might also find that it is difficult to classify your feelings into any one of the stages.


1. The Invisible Suitcase: understanding grief and how to manage it | Child Bereavement UK
(Child Bereavement UK)
2. What does grief feel like?
(Cruse Bereavement Support)
3. The Grieving Process: Coping with Death
4. The Phases of Grief - understanding bereavement
(The Loss Foundation UK)
5. We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it | Nora McInerny
6. We, The Bereaved // A Meditation on Grief // Short Film
(We, The Bereaved Film)

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