Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received. They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.

Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability.

Experts advise those grieving to realize they can’t control the process and to prepare for varying stages of grief. Understanding why they’re suffering can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one’s death.
Mourning can last for months or years. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved adapts to life without a loved one, to the news of a terminal diagnosis or to the realization that someone they love may die. Grief is our response to loss. It is the normal, natural and inevitable response to loss, and it can affect every part of our life, including our thoughts, behaviours, beliefs, feelings, physical health and our relationships with others.

With the support of family and friends, many people adapt to loss well and may not experience intense and persistent feelings; however, for some, the experience of grief can be overwhelming and further support may be helpful.

Common grief responses
After a death, we may experience a range of intense feelings, such as sadness, anger, anxiety, disbelief, panic, relief, irritability or numbness. Grief can also affect our thinking. We may think we will never get over this, or that we are going crazy. Sometimes grief can also cause difficulty in sleeping and physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, aches and pains.

Grief is an individual experience
Everyone grieves in their own way. Your grief is unique to you, and as long as you are not causing harm to yourself or those around you, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to grieve.

We do not always know how people are grieving simply by what we see. Some people are open and expressive with their grief, crying, and wanting to talk, whilst others are more private, may be reluctant to talk and prefer to keep busy. Other factors, such as culture, gender and belief systems can also influence the ways that people grieve. Culture in particular can affect the way we experience and express grief, each culture has its own set of beliefs and rituals for death and bereavement. Sometimes the expression of grief may be at odds with someone’s culture, it is important for each person to grieve in ways that feel right for them.
Grief is individual and personal, and it’s important to respect each other’s way of grieving, even if we don’t necessarily understand it.

Life grows around grief
It is a common myth that people ‘get over’ grief. The reality is a part of us will always grieve the loss of our loved one. With time, the pain will lessen, but the sorrow we feel will always be a part of us. When people grieve they are coming to terms with what has changed in their lives. There is no ‘return to normal’; rather, we have to learn to live around a new kind of normal – re-learning the world and re-learning ourselves within it.
Grief doesn’t have a timeline

Grief can be triggered at any time, and it’s not unusual for grief to be felt over an extended period of time. It’s okay to admit you are struggling with your grief, whether it be weeks, months, years or even decades after the death.