Understanding Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss. People can experience many losses, from the death of a loved one to the loss of a significant relationship. Other losses can occur as people experience change.

Symptoms of Grief and Loss:

  • denial, shock, numbness
  • emotional release, such as crying
  • reactive depression which includes loneliness, isolation, feeling
  • hopelessness
  • panic, feeling overwhelmed, confused and fearful
  • remorse and regret
  • anger
  • physical ailments such as headaches, colds, nausea, and high blood pressure often increase

Helping Others with Grief and Loss

Individuals who are grieving can benefit from the support of others. Some guidelines for helping someone who is grieving are:

  • Take some kind of action – a phone call, a card, a hug, attend the funeral – offer specific help.
  • Be available – allow the grieved time to talk without being judgmental.
  • Be a good listener – avoid telling them what to do or feel or using clichés such as “You have to move on,” “it’s really the best thing.”
  • Be patient – grievers have to talk to heal and many times, it is easy to be impatient.
  • Encourage them to take care of themselves.
  • Accept your own limitations – some situations are hard to handle and may require professional assistance.