Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. It is our system’s way of recognizing that someone (or something) that we care about is no longer here and our coming to accept that situation. Often, people feel grief when they lose a person whom they’ve loved (spouse, parent, child, grandparent). It can also occur when someone has experienced other losses too (i.e. divorce, ill health, pet, job or home). It can occur when someone is anticipating a loss-for example, when someone’s relative/friend is very ill.

The course of grief is very individual. Some symptoms that you might experience are:
1. Sadness and crying
2. Feeling alone
3. Feeling worthless
4. Anger
5. Being unable to predict or control emotions
6. Feeling abandoned
7. Difficulty sleeping
8. Trouble focusing
9. Weight gain or loss
10. Feeling guilt about what might or might not have been done
11. Continuing to think about the person/issue
12. Feeling the person’s presence

Sometimes, people who are experiencing grief are afraid to share their feelings. They might think that others will think that they are “crazy” (they aren’t!) or that they will make others more sad. They might feel that they should push their loss aside or that they shouldn’t care so much. They might have been told that they should “just get over it.” Grief therapy can offer a place where people can express their feelings in a supportive environment. They can come to know that their responses are very normal.

Grief therapy is sharing the relationship and the loss while learning and finding out what life might now be. It isn’t just moving on. Sometimes we may feel grief for events that happened years before. It is integrating the person or experience into our lives in a different and positive way.