The Process of Grief

The word gravare is Latin for grief which means to make heavy. Grief is a normal emotion; it is intense sadness, and there is no time limit on the grieving process.

When you suffer a loss, it is natural to have feelings of sadness, whether the loss is a loved one, a pet, or even the loss of a relationship. Grief is the pain that goes together with this loss; it reflects our love for those we have lost.

Some people experience acute grief, a short-term grieving process, which may actually return at a later date, especially if the grieving process is too fast.  Other people may experience prolonged grief which can last months or years; this is also known as complicated grief. People dealing with prolonged grief will often need support and guidance as such sorrow could lead to loneliness and isolation.

There are a wide variety of emotions that might be experienced during the grieving process,   including such stages as, denialanger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance. Many people experience these emotions, but several will not progress through all of these stages; this is because grief is understood to be extremely personal, and each individual is different.

Grief that is withheld and not accepted can harm us emotionally and physically. The healing process may be slow and challenging, but when the signs of grief are ignored altogether the healing process can be much more difficult.

Sadness is a human emotion that all people feel at certain times during their lives and during grief. If a death is unexpected or an accident, shock or confusion is an emotion that may be felt. Furthermore, few people go through the grieving process without feeling some guilt.

The healing process includes being able to accept life without a loved one. Acknowledging the loss by talking to a family member or friend can be extremely helpful. Accepting and grieving can allow you to recall and share old memories with those around you.

Helping a loved one through the grieving process by offering practical help and acknowledging the sorrow that they are feeling can help them to heal; it is unhelpful to suggest “closure”. It is best to follow the griever’s lead by listening, sharing memories where possible, and asking questions – these all assist by validating the griever’s feelings.

If you or someone you know is going through a time of grief, there are a number of support organisations who specialise in offering support, grief counselling, resources and understanding. To learn more about these organisations visit Coping With Loss.