Grief is the normal process of reacting to the loss. Grief reactions may be felt in response to physical losses (for example, a death) or in response to symbolic or social losses (for example, divorce or loss of a job). Each type of loss means the person has had something taken away. As a family goes through a cancer illness, many losses are experienced, and each triggers its own grief reaction. Grief may be experienced as a mental, physical, social, or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness. Social reactions can include feelings about taking care of others in the family, seeing family or friends, or returning to work. As with bereavement, grief processes depend on the relationship with the person who died, the situation surrounding the death, and the person’s attachment to the person who died. Grief may be described as the presence of physical problems, constant thoughts of the person who died, guilt, hostility, and a change in the way one normally acts.
According to the Helpguide.org, “Grief is a natural, yet painful response to loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain and express emotions in ways that allow one to heal.” Most people associate grief with the death of a loved one, but grief can be any loss the person deems significant. This can include the perceived loss of health, the loss of a long-term relationship, the loss of a career, or finding out that an important goal will not be possible. Each person has a different response to grief, such as depression, anger, denial, shock, or guilt. While there are healthy ways to cope with guilt, it becomes a problem when it becomes impairing and interferes with functions of everyday life.
Who suffers from Grief?
Someone who has lost a loved one
Someone who has lost their job
Someone going through a divorce or significant break up
Someone who has a major change in the state of their health
Someone who has lost a pet
Someone who has suffered a miscarriage
Someone who has had a major change in their finances, such as retirement
Someone who has lost an important friendship
Bereavement is the period after a loss during which grief is experienced and mourning occurs. The time spent in a period of bereavement depends on how attached the person was to the person who died, and how much time was spent anticipating the loss.
Bereavement sometimes also referred to as grief, is a term used to describe the sense of loss felt when a loved one passes away. This sense of loss may contain a host of emotions, such as sadness, anger, guilt and/or frustration and anxiety, and the period immediately following the death is often referred to as the mourning period. People who are acutely bereaved or grieving may also be described as “in mourning” for the deceased.
Mourning is the process by which people adapt to a loss. Mourning is also influenced by cultural customs, rituals, and society’s rules for coping with loss.
Grief work includes the processes that a mourner needs to complete before resuming daily life. These processes include separating from the person who died, readjusting to a world without him or her, and forming new relationships. To separate from the person who died, a person must find another way to redirect the emotional energy that was given to the loved one. This does not mean the person was not loved or should be forgotten, but that the mourner needs to turn to others for emotional satisfaction. The mourner’s roles, identity, and skills may need to change to readjust to living in a world without the person who died. The mourner must give other people or activities the emotional energy that was once given to the person who died in order to redirect emotional energy.
People who are grieving often feel extremely tired because the process of grieving usually requires physical and emotional energy. The grief they are feeling is not just for the person who died, but also for the unfulfilled wishes and plans for the relationship with the person. Death often reminds people of past losses or separations. Mourning may be described as having the following 3 phases:
The urge to bring back the person who died.
Disorganization and sadness.
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