Q of the Day
Think of a time when someone or something close to
you was taken away. How did you feel? How did you
cope with those feelings?
What is Grief?
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s emotional
suffering when you feel something or someone you
love is taken away
What is Grief?
. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one and this time of loss
does often cause the most intense grief. But any loss can cause grief, including:
A relationship breakup
Loss of health
Losing a job
Loss of financial security
Death of a pet
Loss of a cherished dream
A loved ones serious illness
Loss of a friendship
Loss of safety after trauma
Losing a campaign (class election)
Not making a team
Selling your family home
Emotions of Loss and Grief
Shock and disbelief- Right after a loss it can be hard to accept what happens.
Deny the truth
Expect them to show up when you know they’re gone
Sadness- Profound sadness. May have feelings of:
Guilt- May regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do.
Feel angry and resentful
Angry at God, doctors, or even the one who died for abandoning you
Feel the need to blame someone
Fear- Significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears.
Feel anxious, helpless, insecure
Trigger fears about mortality, life without that person or responsibilities you now face alone
5 Stages of Grief
Denial- “Well I haven’t really been grieving.”
Anger- “Why is this happening? Life is so unfair!”
Bargaining- “I’d do anything to change things. Please
just name it and I’ll do it!”
Depression- “Nothing matters anyway.”
Acceptance- “I think she would want me to move on.
So that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
On a piece of paper, write down some loss you may
encounter in your lifetime.
Healthy Ways to Cope With Loss
Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the
people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-
sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the
assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how,
so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with
Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace
the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are
meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to church – can offer
solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy
member or others in your religious community.
Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved
ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar
losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local
hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.
Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to
bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An
experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and
overcome obstacles to your grieving.
Healthy Ways to Cope with Loss
Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In
order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and
loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications
such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way.Write about your loss in a
journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say;
make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause
or organization that was important to him or her.
Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel
good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting
enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of
grief or lift your mood artificially.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel
either.Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or
“get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s
okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find
moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
Plan ahead for grief “triggers”.Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken
memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely
normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or lifecycle event with other relatives, talk to them
ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you
Personal Grieving Plan
Take out a paper and write up your own personal
grieving plan. This plan should include at least 3
different HEALTHY ways to cope with loss and
grief that you feel will help you, personally, if ever
faced with loss. This plan will hopefully give you
an idea of where to turn when faced with loss.
How to help a friend who is grieving…
Listen with your heart
Be an active listener. You may have to listen to the same story over and over again. Just listen,
repetition is a part of the grieving process.
Never say “I know how you feel”. Don’t try to take your friend’s feelings away. Think of yourself as
a helper not as the solution to their problems.
Things like “Time will heal all wounds” “Think of all you have to be thankful for” These can make
your friend feel like you feel like they shouldn’t be grieving and that they need to move on
Understand the uniqueness of grief
No one responds to loss in the same. Be patient. It may take your friend a longer or shorter time
than you would to go through the grieving process.
Offer practical help
Preparing food, cleaning or answering the phone for your friend during the first few days after the
loss can help your friend feel less overwhelmed and stressed.
Remain available for your friend. A brief visit or phone call may mean more than you think.
Write a personal note
What to write? Let your friend know that you are there for them and are thinking of them. Share
the qualities you admire in your friend or a favorite memory that may make them smile.
Be aware of holidays and anniversaries
Your friend may need more help or special attention during these times because these events may
emphasize what they have lost.
Understand the importance of loss
Loss is significant and can have a great impact on your friend (physically, mentally, socially).
Realize that loss is a big deal and has really affected their life.
Comments to Avoid when comforting someone
“I know how you feel.” One can never know how
another may feel. You could instead ask how they
“It’s part of God’s plan.” this can make people
angry and they often respond with “what plan?
Nobody told me about any plan.”
“Look at what you have to be thankful for.”
They know they have things to be thankful for, but
right now that is not important.
“He’s in a better place now.” The bereaved may or
may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless
“this is behind you now; it’s time to get on with
your life.” Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to
getting on with life because they feel this means
“forgetting” their loved one. In addition, moving on is
easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and it
works at its own pace.
Statements that begin with “you should” or “you
will”. These are too direct…try saying “have you thought
about…” or “you might…”
When to Seek Help for Grief
Complicated grief is grief that is intense, interferes with your daily life, and
does not go away or lessen as time goes by. Left untreated, complicated
grief and depression can lead to significant emotional damage, life-
threatening health problems, and even suicide. But treatment can help you
Contact a grief counselor or professional therapist if you:
Feel like life isn’t worth living
Wish you had died with your loved one
Blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it
Feel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks
Are having difficulty trusting others since your loss
Are unable to perform your normal daily activities