What is grief?

Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, someone close or a pet, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft, loss of independence through disability or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received.

  • Grief is a natural reaction to death or loss;
  • Every individual has a natural capacity to heal;
  • Duration and intensity of grief are unique to each individual; and
  • There are no right or wrong ways to grieve;
  • You can't control the process but you can prepare for varying stages of grief;
  • There are some helpful and not-so-helpful things to do while grieving;
  • There is no magic pill for grief; it's not something you "get over";
  • While life will never be the same, it can be good again;
  • Caring and acceptance assist in the healing process.

Grief is the strong, sometimes overwhelming natural reaction to death or loss such as anger, sadness, worry, relief, fear, numbness, feeling removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with the deep sense of loss. Or it may be thoughts, such as “Who will take care of me now that mom/dad/husband/wife died?,” “Why do people get cancer?,” or “What will happen next?” Sometimes, grief affects our bodies. We feel sleepy, or have trouble falling asleep. We may not feel like eating. We may have headaches or stomachaches or all of a sudden don’t feel like doing things we usually like to do, such as exercising or going to school or work. All of these experiences are normal for the bereaved.

Understanding all the normal stages of grief can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one's death.

Mourning can last for months or even years if not processed properly. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved processes through their overwhelming emotions and finds a positive way to find a new normal for their life,

Grief Support helps to understand how to grieve, how to best support someone going through the grieving process as well as best practices for care givers.