Grief & Loss
What is Grief?
Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Grief is your emotional reaction to a significant loss. The words sorrow and heartache are often used to describe feelings of grief.
What is grieving?
Grieving is a personal experience. Depending on who you are and the nature of your loss, your process of grieving will be different from another person’s experience. There is no “normal and expected” period of time for grieving. Some people adjust to a new life within several weeks or months. Others can take a year or more, particularly when their daily life has been radically changed or their loss was traumatic and unexpected.
Are there different types of grief?
Yes, Anticipatory Grief and Sudden death/Sudden experience:
Anticipatory grief is grief that strikes in advance of an impending loss. You may feel anticipatory grief for a loved one who is sick and dying. Similarly, both children and adults often feel the pain of losses brought on by an upcoming move or divorce. This anticipatory grief helps us prepare for such losses.
Sudden death/sudden experience:
Sudden death/sudden experience is grief that happens from an event that was not expected. The reaction to this type of grief can feel like a trauma because nothing has prepared us for the event.
Full awareness of a major loss can happen suddenly or over a few days or weeks. While an expected loss (such as a death after a long illness) can take a short time to absorb, a sudden or tragic loss can take more time. Similarly, it can take time to grasp the reality of a loss that doesn’t affect your daily routine, such as a death in a distant city or a diagnosis of a cancer that doesn’t yet make you feel ill.
What situations can cause grief?
Grief is, quite simply put, a response to loss. The loss can be of something tangible or intangible.
-Loss of a job
-Loss of a home or moving
-Change in marital status
-Change in stage of life
Common symptoms of Grief:
A wide range of feelings and symptoms are common during grieving. While you are feeling shock, numbness, sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, or fear, you may also find moments of relief, peace, or happiness. And although grieving is not simply sadness, “the blues,” or depression, you may become depressed or overly anxious during the grieving process.
The stress of grief and grieving can take a physical toll on your body. Sleeplessness is common, as is a weakened immune system over time. If you have a chronic illness, grieving can make your condition worse
What are the stages of grief?
In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless.
“Please God, ”
Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness.
It is the new norm.
When should I seek help?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms months or years after a loss, you may be stuck in grieving or depression:
-You spend much of your time thinking about your loss, even to the point of ignoring daily responsibilities.
-Active grieving continues for months or years; you feel sad, hopeless or angry most of the time.
-You have lost interest in daily activities or relationships.
-You feel guilty that you are still alive, or you feel guilty if you start to feel better, as if you are betraying your loved one.