Grief & Loss

  • Following a death or loss, you may feel numb, as if you are in shock. You may notice physical changes such as trembling, nausea, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or difficulty breathing, sleeping, or eating.
  • A wide range of feelings accompany grief. Sadness, anger, fear, guilt, and a host of other emotions are very common.
  • Unfamiliar feelings, thoughts, and behavior are normal components of grief and usually fade or change as time passes.

Next Step

Everyone deals with grief differently. Learn about the factors that can affect the duration of the grieving process.

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After a significant death or loss, you may experience feelings that are unfamiliar in their intensity and duration. You may notice thoughts and behavior that are different or disturbing. Many people experience a kind of spiritual crisis following a major loss. Anger is common, whether it’s directed toward a situation, a particular person, or life in general.

Grieving people may have unusual dreams, be absent-minded, withdraw socially, or lack the desire to participate in activities that used to be enjoyable. While these feelings and behaviors are normal during grief, they generally change over time. In general, grief makes room for a lot of thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that might be considered unusual at other times. Following significant loss, however, most of these components of grief are, in fact, quite normal.

One method of dealing with grief is to be more aware of the ways we express it. Even the exact words we use (to ourselves and to others) can make a difference. For example, when we think, “I regret that I was not in the room when he died,” we’re less likely to wallow in the feeling than if we think, “I feel guilty that I was not in the room when he died.”

Next Step: Each person deals with grief differently. Learn about the factors that can affect the duration of the grieving process.

Content shown was developed through a collaboration between AGIS and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

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