Grief and Loss

What is grief?

Grief and bereavement are both terms that refer to a person’s reaction to death or loss. While grief is most frequently used to describe a reaction to a death, we can also grieve over other types of loss, such as divorce, a move, job loss, change of income, or death of a pet.

What does grief look like?

Simply put, there is no one answer to the question “what does grief and loss look like?” People react to grief and loss in many different ways, most of which are completely normal. Just a few of the normal grief reactions include anxiety, irritability, stress, forgetfulness, physical illness or pain, loss of concentration, anger, sadness, loneliness, numbness, guilt, fatigue, problems sleeping, or even relief. This is just a short list, however, and many other reactions may be completely normal.

People also often wonder “do children grieve?” Children do go through a grieving process after a death or loss, although their grieving process differs from that of an adult. Depending on the child’s age, normal reactions include anger, sadness, irritability, loneliness, nightmares, asking frequent questions about the death or the loved one, exhibiting regressive behaviors, or experiencing physical complaints.

How long is the grieving process?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. How long the individual grieves a death depends onmany factors, such as the relationship with the deceased or the manner of death. Individuals whoare grieving also report a “roller coaster” effect—some days they feel much better and the next much worse. Feeling these ups and downs is normal, and can last for some time.

When should I seek help?

If you find that months or years after the death or loss, you are not feeling better, you may consider seeking counseling. Signs that you may benefit from grief and loss counseling include thinking about the death or loss almost all day every day, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, or feelings of depression or anxiety that you just can’t shake. If these symptoms persist for months or years, you could benefit from speaking with a counselor. Grief is a difficult process for everyone, and seeking help from a counselor is not a sign of weakness. If you believe you may be in need of grief counseling services, call and speak with one of our counselors.