Grief Is Not...
Grief is not a mountain to be climbed,
with the strong reaching the summit
long before the weak.
Grief is not an athletic event,
with stop watches timing our progress.
      Grief is a walk through loss and pain
              with no competition and no time trials. (
Author Unknown)

There are various sources of Grief.
Whether your grieving or bereavement is due to a death of a beloved person, a pet, a friend, or because
of divorce or separation, or moving away from a place, the grieving process is basically the same.

If you're grieving, you might be having trouble concentrating, sleeping, eating, or feeling interested in
the things you usually enjoy. You might be trying to act like you feel OK (even if you don't).

You may wonder if you will ever get over losing someone who means so much to you. Grief can, and
often does, cause some people to feel
guilty. These feelings and reactions are a normal part of the
grieving process.

Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of someone (or something) important to you: it is the emotion
people feel when they experience a loss.
Grief (grieving) is also the name for the healing process that a person goes through after someone close
has died.

It is a very similar process for those experiencing a separation or divorce.

Although everyone experiences grief when they lose someone, grieving affects people in different ways.
How it affects you partly depends on your situation and relationship with the person who died.
The grieving process is very personal and individual - each
person goes through his or her grief differently: grief is a very
personal journey.  Each of us grieve in different ways.  Some
of us proceed quickly through our bereavement tasks.     
Others need longer.

It may feel impossible to recover after losing someone you  
love. But grief does get gradually better and become less
intense as time goes by. There are many different types of  
loss, and not all of them are related to death.

Death is too often still a taboo subject today, yet few people
will go through life without experiencing the loss of someone
important to them.
Death is a part of life, it is inevitable and sooner or later we   
all have to face up to the reality of it.
We learn how to continue to function in spite of our losses
through grieving.
How well we manage this will affect our quality of life
and how we subsequently relate emotionally to others
throughout our lives.
To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
(Attributed to King Solomon)
Normal Grief Reactions

When experiencing grief, it is common to feel:
  • like you are "going crazy" unable to focus or concentrate
  • irritable or angry (at the deceased, oneself, others, partner, higher powers)
  • frustrated or misunderstood  anxious, nervous, or fearful
  • like you want to "escape"  guilt or remorse
  • ambivalence  numbness

                                     The Five "Stages" Of Grief

Reaction                           Emotion/Feeling
  • Denial & Isolation,         Shock and numbness  (mechanical functioning and social insulation)
                                 First, people tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw
                                 from their  usual social contacts.
                                This stage may last from just a few moments, to a long time.

  • Anger,                        - at everything, everyone, God, the departed, self, etc . .
                                (some or all may be experienced)
                                One may be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if
                                he/she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He/She may be
                                angry with him/herself for letting the event take place, even if,
                                realistically, nothing could have stopped it (self-blame).
                               This stage can also last a long time.

  • Bargaining,                  Yearning and searching  (intensely painful feelings of loss)
                                One may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this_____, will you
                                take away the loss?"
                                The anger may be increased when this doesn't happen.

  • Depression                   Disorganization and despair
                                The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain
                                 This may last a long time, too.

  • Acceptance                   Reorganization  (re-entry into a more 'normal' social life.)

                                This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off.
                                The person simply accepts the reality of the loss (can take a short
                                 to very long time).
Bill of Rights for the Bereaved

  • Do not make me do anything  I do
    not wish to do
  • Let me cry
  • Allow me to talk about the deceased
  • Do not force me to make quick
  • Let me act strangely sometimes.
  • Let me see that you are grieving, too.
  • When I am angry, do not discount it.
  • Do not speak to me in platitudes.
  • Listen to me, please!
  • Forgive me my trespasses, my
    rudeness and my thoughtlessness.

Taken from the book
How Can I Help?
Reaching out to Someone Who is Grieving

by June Cerza Kolf.
During the early stages of Grief

Dealing with guilt, real of imagined.

  • Eat well.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Nurture yourself.
  • Join a group of others who are sorrowing.
  • Associate with old friends also.
  • Postpone major decisions.
  • Record your thoughts in a journal.
  • Turn Grief into creative energy.
  • Take advantage of a religious affiliation.
  • Get professional help if needed.

No matter how deep your sorrow, you are not
alone. Others have been there and will help share
your load if you will let them.
Bereavement, Death, Divorce and other loss:
Reactions, Stages
and Coping

An Introduction
Grief and Grieving: Process and Stages of Grief and Grieving-Bereavement
Understanding the journey of closure and healing
Different Kinds of Loss
Feelings of loss are very personal and only you know what is significant to you. Examples include:

Loss of a close friend                    Death of a parent, child (see below), sibling or relative
                      Relationship breakup

Subtle or less obvious losses can also cause strong feelings of grief, even though those around you
may not know the extent of your feelings. Some examples include:
  • Loss of health through illness            Loss of mental ability
  • Death of a pet                                  Change of job
  • Move to a new home                        Graduation from school
  • Loss of a physical ability                   Loss of financial security
  • Leaving home                                  Divorce-separation  

Sudden versus Predictable Loss
Sudden or shocking losses
-due to events like crimes, accidents, or suicide -can be traumatic.
There is no way to prepare.

Predictable losses -like those due to terminal illness- sometimes allow more time to prepare for the

Among the most difficult kinds of losses:
the death of a child, is one of the most excruciating events, if not the most, that a family can experience.

Very often, such losses are not neither predictable nor expected, and those are even more difficult to

And while all losses of loved ones are devastating, perhaps the loss of a child is one of the worst.

If you have lost a child and need someone to talk to, there are always friends, and/or professionals
who are ready to listen.
Dawn Cove Abbey is a not-for-profit enterprise
Related reading:
EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS  by Deborah Wiles (2005) which gives major insights about death -
through the eyes of a child.

You may also find, "
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep",  "For A Reason", "Miss Me, But Let Me
Go",  Death Of A Child,  and perhaps the Life Transitions page, to be helpful.

During the times of grief we all need extra support - you may find something helpful to carry you
through the day, or through such times by visiting our  
Main Library.

  • NOTE: If you, or someone you know, is having difficulty with your/their bereavement, loss,
    separation or divorce, and you desire help - I am here Contact

Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada (2010) - Revised 2017, Kingston, Ontario
Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.
These are descriptions of some of the emotions and functions we go through when we lose a loved

The "Order":  not everyone will necessarily go through them in the same order/sequence; that's
okay, we each process things differently - but at some point we'll all have gone through all of the    
five stages, regardless of the order or sequence: this is normal..
Sometimes, people will go back and forth between a number of the stages, several times - that too,   
is normal; and there is no time limit.

It's Individual: grief, like so many other things in our complex lives, can't be reduced to a    
neat list with absolute definitions, time-lines, strategies, goals, and completion dates.

Would that it were so easy

The grief process is not linear, but is more often experienced in cycles. Grief is sometimes
compared to climbing a spiral staircase where things can look and feel like you are just going in
circles, yet you are actually making progress.

Grief is as individual as those of us who feel it, and as varied as the circumstances of death which

No matter how you choose to grieve,
there's no one right way to do it. The grieving process is a
gradual one that lasts longer for some people than others. There may be times when you worry that  
you'll never enjoy life the same way again, but this is a natural reaction after a loss.

Sometimes (often) people get stuck in one of the first four stages. Their lives can be painful until they
move to the fifth stage - acceptance.

No one has the right to tell someone else how long their grieving/bereavement  process should     
take - or the sequence it "should" follow.
  • How do you know if your grief has been going on too long?  Well-meaning friends and family
    might tell a grieving person they need to "move on" after a loss. Unfortunately, makes people
    think they're grieving wrong or too long, or that they're not normal. Every person takes his or
    her own time to   heal after a loss.

The way someone grieves a particular loss and the time it takes is very individual.
We might even end up being confused about when we should be done grieving. Actually, we'll
probably never be done,
because there is no completion date to grieving - let your emotions flow
through the stages of grief.

Continued after the graphics