Grief is a normal and natural, though often deeply painful, response to loss. It is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings such as numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety. Each of us responds differently to loss and it can take time to heal.
Coping with grief when someone close to you has died is incredibly difficult. While it may be extremely hard to come to terms with your loss, there are strategies you can use to help you work through your feelings.
If you have a friend or family member who is grieving, it can be hard to know how to console him or her. No matter how they choose to deal with it, the grieving person needs the support of others. If you find yourself uncertain of what to do in the face of someone's loss, try some of the points in our Tips on Helping Someone who is Grieving page.
If you’d like further information, this section also includes a professional support and self help resources page to help you through the journey.
Grief is a normal and natural, though often deeply painful, response to loss. Sooner or later most of us will experience grief at some point.
We grieve after any sort of loss, but most powerfully after the death of someone we love. It is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings such as numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety. These feelings can take a while to get through and cannot be hurried.
It takes time to heal after the loss of a loved one. The period of grieving depends upon the situation and varies greatly from person to person. Grieving is not a weakness; it is a necessity. Grieving helps us to come to terms with the enormous change in our lives and allows us to refocus our energies toward the future.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. Some people are open and expressive with their grief, crying, and wanting to talk, whilst others are more private and may be reluctant to talk and prefer to keep busy. It is important to respect each other's way of grieving and to remember that, no matter what the reaction, the grieving person needs the support of others.
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced a frequently-cited model of bereavement known as the “five stages of grief”. According to Kübler-Ross, these stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While the five-stages approach has some staying power, Harvard Health holds that the concept that grief follows a standard pattern is no longer widely embraced by experts today.
Rather, if you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it can help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. Just remember, your emotions may collide and overlap and your ability to move ahead with your life will ebb and flow. Grieve at the pace and in the way that feels right to you.
Coping with grief when someone close to us has died is incredibly difficult. It takes time to heal and each of us responds differently. While it may be extremely hard to come to terms with your loss, there are strategies you can use to help you work through your feelings.
It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed when someone dies, but it does get better. According to the American Psychological Association , research shows that the death of a loved one can also be the catalyst for a renewed sense of meaning that offers purpose and direction to life.
If you’ve given some of the above strategies a go, as well as given yourself some time, but are still finding it incredibly difficult to deal with what is going on, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. Professional help can give you the extra support you need to manage your grief.
If you have a friend or family member who is grieving, it can be difficult to know how to console him or her. Accept that the person's grieving will be a gradual process and that you can’t take their pain away. Instead, be present and offer hope and a positive outlook towards the future.
If you find yourself uncertain of what to do in the face of someone's loss, here are some tips that you can try:
Few people can cope alone with the loss of a loved one. It is natural for them to need to talk about their loss and share their pain. However, if reactions are extreme, encourage professional help and provide the support necessary to assist the bereaved to take this step toward help.
The following organisations offer support: