What is Grief?
When we have emotional, physical, and spiritual reactions in response to a death or loss, it's known as grief or grieving. People who are grieving might:
- Feel strong emotions, such as sadness and anger.
- Have physical reactions, such as not sleeping or even waves of nausea.
- Have spiritual reactions to a death. For example, some people find themselves questioning their beliefs and feeling disappointed in their religion while others find that they feel more strongly than ever about their faith.
The grieving process takes time, and healing usually happens gradually. The intensity of grief may be related to how sudden or predictable the loss was and how you felt about the person who died.
Bereavement, while a normal part of life, carries a degree of risk when limited support is available. Severe reactions to loss may carry over into familial relations and cause trauma for children, spouses and any other family members: there is an increased risk of marital breakup following the death of a child, for example. Issues of faith and beliefs may also face challenge, as bereaved persons reassess personal definitions in the face of great pain.
While many who grieve are able to work through their loss independently, accessing additional support from licensed psychologists or psychiatrist may promote the process of healing. Grief counseling, professional support groups or educational classes, and peer-led support groups are primary resources available to the bereaved.
For some people, it can help to talk about the loss with others. Some do this naturally and easily with friends and family, while others talk to a professional therapist.
It may feel like it might be impossible to recover after losing someone you love, and yet grief does get gradually better and become less intense as time goes by.
Be with others. Even informal gatherings of family and friends bring a sense of support and help people feel less isolated in the first days and weeks of their grief.