What is Grief?

Grief is our response to loss. When we lose something or someone we love, or are attached to, we feel grief - a partner, a parent, a child, relative, friend or a much-loved pet.

We can feel grief when we lose something of ourselves - perhaps our health, or our mobility - and sometimes we grieve over lost opportunities.

Grieving is an intensely personal experience. People may say, "I know what you're going through' because they may have had a similar loss to you, but their experience will be different to yours.

Grief doesn't observe a timetable. It takes as long as it takes, and it comes and goes.

Grief can be overwhelming and unexpected.
Our grief, over time, becomes a part of us, and a part of the life we lead.

How We Grieve

When we grieve, we can feel very alone, even if we are surrounded by family and friends.

After the loss of a loved one, it's as if the world we knew has changed forever - and in many ways, it has.

Experiencing a flood of emotions and sensations, all at once, with no rhyme or reason, is part of it too. Sadness, anger, fear, loneliness, guilt, emptiness, tearful, out of control, irritable. These feelings are part of the grieving process. Let the feelings find their way out.

There are physical symptoms too: insomnia, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, headaches, weight loss. These are all responses from your body to stress and grief.

Some days you may not want to get out of bed. Sometimes you might sit up all night in a chair, or lose your temper in a flash, and some of these emotional responses may shock you.

How to Support Yourself

Allowing yourself the time and permission to grieve is important. Here are a few tips that may help.

  • Talk to others you trust, share your feelings
  • Establish some rituals to honour the loss - perhaps taking fifteen minutes to light a candle and be with your memories
  • Ensure you have private time to grieve
  • Understand the grieving process by reading information available
  • Take time off work if you need to
  • Seek professional help if you are struggling crying is healing
  • Cry as much as you need to, by yourself or with someone you trust
  • Avoid alcohol as it can fuel depression
  • Join a support group if you feel this would be helpful for you
  • Be patient and kind to yourself - grieving takes time