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(s) for
the healing process that a person goes through after someone close has died/left. 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/left.
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
Death is too often still a taboo subject today,
yet few people will go through life without
experiencing the loss of someone important
Death is a part of life, it is inevitable and
eventually, 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.
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
* Denial & Isolation, Shock and numbness (mechanical functioning and
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 underneath. 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 decisions.
* 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
* 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
|Bereavement, Death, Divorce, and other loss:
Reactions, Stages and Coping
|Grief and Grieving: Process and Stages of Grief and Grieving-Bereavement
Understanding the journey of closure and healing
In his song, "When You Lose The One You Love", Willie Nelson sums this last point up
quite well: Something You Get Through - Willie Nelson
"When you lose the one you love
You think your world has ended
You think your world will be a waste of life
Without them in it
You feel there's no way to go on
Life is just a sad, sad song
But love is bigger than us all
The end is not the end at all
It's not somethin' you get over
But it's somethin' you get through
It's not ours to be taken
It's just a thing we get to do
Life goes on and on
And when it's gone
It lives in someone new
It's not somethin' you get over
But it's somethin' you get through
It's not somethin' you get over
(If you prefer to hear him singing it, here's the Link.
Different Kinds of Loss
Feelings of loss are very personal and only you know what is significant to you. Examples
* 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 loss.
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 absorb.
And while all losses of loved ones are devastating, perhaps the loss of a child is
one of the worst.
Death of a Girl Child
Death of a Boy Child
If you have lost a child and need someone to talk to, there are always friends, and/or
professionals who are ready to listen (and I'm here).
|Dawn Cove Abbey is a not-for-profit enterprise
EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS by Deborah Wiles (2005) which gives
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 the
* 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
Click/Tap icon at right to visit Life Transitions Page > >
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada (2010)
- Revised 2019, Meaford, 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 M.A © 2007-2019
Questions and comments welcomed.
These are descriptions of some of the emotions and functions we go through when we
lose a loved one.
The "Order" or sequence:
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
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.
|To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven: