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Understanding Loss, Grief and Bereavement

Updated on June 21, 2015

Angel of Grief

Angel of Grief
Angel of Grief | Source

What are Loss, Grief and Bereavement?

Although a disorienting, disturbing and distressing process, grief and bereavement are a normal responses to losing something one holds dear; these are emotions that most people can cope with given enough time.

Loss is the disappearance of something cherished, often the death of a person, loss of a relationship, loss of a job or loss of health.

Grief is the entire response—mind, body and spirit—to the loss.

Bereavement is the often term used when the loss is due to the death of a loved one.

On this page we will explore the different types of losses, the normal grief response to loss and ways to cope with bereavement, or the death of a loved one. We will also look at suggestions for how friends and family members can help a grieving person manage his or her grief.

You will also find some of the basic information on loss, grief and bereavement, written so those experiencing a loss might understand what to anticipate with some of the normal responses following a loss, particularly a life shattering loss.

Ignorance is not bliss.

Knowledge returns a sense of control over seemingly random occurrences

and makes it easier to cope.

— Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

Ripples of Grief

Water Ripple
Water Ripple | Source

Useful Information on Loss

The information written here is based on material I have written for the Internet and for my undergraduate and graduate courses based on the over 18 years that I have been involved in the field of grief, loss and bereavement.

I have spent many educating people about the normal grief response by teaching, lecturing, writing articles and through the Journey of Hearts website that was created in 1997 to educate people about the normal grief response.

On this page you will also find some helpful quotes and strategies for making it through the first few hours. There are also additional resources for more information to cope in the subsequent days.

Of historical note, this page was one of the early lenses that I wrote for the Squidoo writing platform in 2007 about these topics to help people understand the basics of loss, grief and bereavement.

The information has been presented in small bits and pieces and images, since many people are unable to process a lot of information when they receive bad news.

Basics on Loss Worth Knowing

Loss is the disappearance of something cherished, such as a person, possession or property.

Loss is a common experience common experience that can be encountered many times during a lifetime; it does not discriminate for age, race, sex, education, economic status, religion, culture or nationality.

Most people have experienced some type of personal or professional loss at some point in their life as simply as a byproduct of living.

Grief is a powerful, universal feeling,

but it is survivable.

— Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FT

Knowledge Helps in Coping with Grief and Loss

I believe that education is one of the best ways to understand the grief response and aid people in incorporating a major loss into their life.

This belief is part of the reason that I have spent many years educating people about loss and the normal response to grief.

A Time to Grieve

A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One
A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One

One of my favorite books filled with meditations or reflections to help during the time to grieve.


What to know about Loss...

Facing a sudden loss can be scary and disorienting. You are suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar territory that is frightening and unsettling.

Knowing that grief is a normal response to a loss and what you can do to make it through the first few days or hours can be very helpful.

Types of Losses

There are many different types of losses that a person may experience in a lifetime, in addition to those experienced following a death. All of these losses have the potential to result in a grief response.

The original list of Types of Losses started on the earliest version of the Journey of Hearts website at "What is a Loss?" It has been revised a few times since 1998.

The types of losses are listed alphabetically.

  1. Loss of Body Function

    Hearing, vision, mental capacities, mobility, communication

  2. Loss of Body Image

    Body part through surgery, accident, change in appearance, aging

  3. Loss of Control

    Natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, social conditions, hospitalization of loved one

  4. Loss of Freedom

    Political, employment, incarceration, stigmatized disease or culture impacting access to health care

  5. Loss of Health

    Medical conditions, illnesses, disability, debilitating or terminal diseases

  6. Loss of Home, Property

    Homelessness, natural or man-made disasters, aging

  7. Loss of Identity

    Marriage, career, new parent, empty nest syndrome, relocation, retirement

  8. Loss of Independence

    Change in living situation e.g. entering nursing home, marriage

  9. Loss of Innocence

    Early sexual experiences, advertising and media influences children to grow up too soon

  10. Loss of Job, Income

    Downsizing, layoffs, retirement, career change

  11. Loss of One's Own Life

    Death, suicide, accident, homicide, murder, war

  12. Loss of Plans, Hopes & Dreams for the Future

    Miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, adoption, infertility, relationship, job, career

  13. Loss of Relationship

    Death, divorce, pet, breakup, illness, adoption, miscarriage

  14. Loss of Religious Beliefs

    Questioning beliefs, disillusioned with church, organized religion, impact of sexual misconduct scandals

  15. Loss of Role

    Occupation, job, relationship e.g. parent, child, friend

  16. Loss of Safety

    Vulnerable feelings after rape, robbery, betrayal, unanticipated events, crises, traumatic events or disasters

  17. Loss of Sexual Function

    Physical or psychological etiology

  18. Loss of Significant Person

    Death, divorce, illness, relocation, military duty, missing person

  19. Loss of Treasured Object(s)

    Favorite objects, family heirlooms destroyed in fire/flood, theft

  20. Loss that is Unexpected or Unanticipated

    The sudden loss, which is often traumatic, that comes without warning from out of the blue, or the unexpected phone call.

Source: Dyer K. 1998. What is a Loss? Journey of Hearts.

Grief is one of the great common experiences

of human beings,

and yet sometimes

We feel so alone in our sadness.

— Martha Withmore Hickman

Healing After Loss

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief

A small pocket sized book filled with meditations to work through grief from Martha Whitmore Hickman.

The perfect size for a purse or backpack, that you can pull out and read a meditation as you work through grief.


Alone in Her Grief

Alone in Her Grief
Alone in Her Grief | Source

What to know about Grief...

A grieving person may feel like they are going "crazy" with the physical reactions and intense emotions that is like a roller coaster ride.

Yet the emotional and physical responses are really just normal reactions to an abnormal event.

Information on Grief Worth Knowing

In their book "Life after death: A practical approach to grief and bereavement defined grief" Dr. David Casarett, Dr. Jean Kutner and Dr. Janet Abraham defined grief as,

"a multifaceted response to loss that includes psychological, behavioral and physical reactions combined with cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, spiritual and somatic elements."

Thus the definition that I have used to describe grief over the years is "a multifaceted, normal reaction to a loss; it is the psychological, behavioral, social and physical reactions to loss."

Grief reactions may be seen in response to physical or tangible losses (e.g., a death or disaster) or in response to symbolic or psychosocial losses (e.g., divorce, losing a job).

Source: Cassarett, M., Kutner, J.S. and Abrahm, J. 2001. Life after death: A practical approach to grief and bereavement. Academia and Clinica, 134.

Video: Understanding Grief from HFA's Hospice

Normal Physical Response to Grief

When faced with a major life challenge, a person can experience a wide range of physical and emotional responses. These intense, overwhelming and unbearable responses often come in waves.

The grieving person may feel fine one moment and then depressed, anxious, distressed or angry the next; this causes some people to think that they are "going crazy."

These responses, in the table below, which can last for days to weeks, are not signs of being "crazy" they are normal reactions to an abnormal event.

Common Responses to Grief

General Responses
Pain Responses
GI Responses
Heart/Chest Responses
Empty stomach
Trouble sleeping
Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain
Short of breath
Back pain
Chest heaviness
General pain
Throat tightness
Crying, sighing
Increase/Decrease Weight
Common physical responses a loss

Am I going crazy?

Am I going crazy? (Scanner Fear 3)
Am I going crazy? (Scanner Fear 3) | Source

She was no longer wrestling with the grief,

but could sit down with it

as a lasting companion

and make it a sharer in her thoughts.

— George Eliot

Emotional and Behaviorial Responses to Grief

In addition to experiencing actual physical responses grieving people can also go through confusing, fluctuating and conflicting emotions that range from joy to profound grief or distress.

Strong emotions such as sorrow, sadness, fear, anger, terror, aching and guilt are among the very normal, common emotional responses for a person in grief.

Some of the more common emotional, behavioral and mental responses are included in the table below.

Many people feel stressed, anxious, nervous and afraid. Finding ways to manage these intense responses is an important part of adjusting to the loss.

Emotional and Behavioral Responses to Loss

Emotional Responses
Behavioral Responses
Mental Responses
Slowed thinking
Difficulty concentrating
Self Blame
Common Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Responses to Loss

Companion Through the Darkness on Amazon

Companion Through The Darkness: Inner Dialogues on Grief
Companion Through The Darkness: Inner Dialogues on Grief

Stephanie Ericsson's classic book on Grief. It includes my favorite descriptive quote on grief cited below.


Grief as a Tidal Wave...

Grief as a Tidal Wave...
Grief as a Tidal Wave... | Source

Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you,

smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,

sweeps you up into its darkness,

where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces,

only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped...

Grief will make a new person out of you,

if it doesn't kill you in the making.

— Stephanie Ericsson, Companion Through the Darkness

Different Responses to Grief

People experience and respond to a loss in many different ways. Some downplay the event and repress emotions. Some cope with angry verbal or physical outbursts. Others respond more emotionally by sighing, crying or sobbing. Still others cope physically with bodily complaints, pain and physical responses.

It may help to know that each person's reaction to a loss is unique, even if it is the same event. As a result, different people may experience, react and respond very differently when faced with a loss; this can be particular difficult if you and your spouse or family members have different coping strategies and styles.

Knowing that there are different ways of coping may help you to understand someone else's response to the loss. You can then look for ways that you can cope together and ways that you can cope apart.

Continuum of Grief

Continuum of Grief
Continuum of Grief | Source

Image Source Continuum of Grief.

© Kirsti A. Dyer. Created from Mokra's Sadness 4 and Martin Boose's Thinking. Both Royalty Free Use.

Grieving Styles - Intuitive, Instrumental or Blended

Professors Terry Martin and Kenneth Doka studied how people respond to a major life challenge and grieve the loss and published some of their results as part of their book, "Men Don't Cry, Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief."

They determined there are two main ways people respond-the intuitive griever (stereotyped as female) and the instrumental griever (stereotyped as male).

Martin and Doka believe these Patterns occur along a continuum. Those grievers near the center show a third style or a blended style of grieving. The "blended style griever who is somewhere in between a little Intuitive (emotional/feeling) and a little Instrumental (physical/thinking).

What is important to realize about their descriptions of grieving styles is that these patterns may be related to gender, but are not determined by gender. Each coping style has it's own distinctive strengths and weaknesses.

The Continuum of Grief is shown in the graphic above.

Men Don't Cry, Women Do - Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief

Men Don't Cry, Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief (Series in Death, Dying, and Bereavement)
Men Don't Cry, Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief (Series in Death, Dying, and Bereavement)

An important look at the differences in grieving styles with Professors Martin and Doka answer the question, "Do men and women grieve differently?" In the book grief experts Martin and Doka explore the traditional gender stereotypes of grief and offer some suggestions for strategies likely to help with different types of grievers.


Same Loss - Different Grieving Styles

Couple Walking at the Beach
Couple Walking at the Beach | Source

The Intuitive Griever

Doka and Martin discuss the differences between intuitive and instrumental grievers in Men Don't Cry Women Do.

The intuitive griever feels the experience intensely and can be helped by expressing his or her grief emotionally often with crying. The intuitive grief style is the one often associated with typical female grief.

One of the best ways for the intuitive griever to cope is to express his or her emotions, possibly even in a group setting.

Characteristics of the Intuitive Griever

Common Characteristics of Intuitive Grievers include:

  1. Openly expresses feelings.
  2. Expresses anguish or sorrow with tears.
  3. Is not afraid to seek support from others.
  4. Allows time to experience the inner pain.
  5. May become physically exhausted or anxious.
  6. May experience prolonged periods of confusion and problems concentrating.
  7. Is able to discuss the grief.
  8. May benefit from support groups.

The Instrumental Griever

Doka and Martin discuss the differences between instrumental and intuitive grievers in Men Don't Cry Women Do.

The instrumental griever feels grief, but less intensely and more physically. They tend to think and problem-solve ways of coping with the experience. The instrumental grief style is the one often associated with typical male grief.

The instrumental griever needs physical ways to express the grief and may be reluctant to talk about feelings.

Swallowed by a Snake

Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing
Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing

One of the classics explaining how males grieve loss from Thomas R. Golden.


Characteristic of the Instrumental Griever

Common characteristics of Instrumental Grievers include:

  1. Pushes aside feelings to cope with the present situation.
  2. Chooses active ways of expressing grief.
  3. Often is reluctant to express feelings.
  4. Uses humor to express feelings and to manage anger.
  5. May only express feelings in private.
  6. Seeks solitude to reflect and adapt to loss.
  7. May not do well with a support group.

When Men Grieve

When Men Grieve: Why Men Grieve Differently and How You Can Help
When Men Grieve: Why Men Grieve Differently and How You Can Help

Another helpful book explaining why men grieve differently and what to do about it.


Carrying the Burden of Grief

Desolation. | Source

Grief can't be shared.

Everyone carries it alone,

his own burden, his own way.

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Reader Feedback on the Grief Response

What do you think about grief? Do we all grieve differently or the same?

Please note that messages of a personal nature may not be approved if the author deems them too personal.

Everyone grieves the same.

Everyone grieves the same.

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    • athrunzala 5 years ago

      We are all the same

    • Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      I think we all feel the pain but.not show it the same way.I had two younger sister to die less than three months apart from cancer then about nine month later my MoM pass.What a year that was,all this happen less than three years ago,I still feel the shock wave from it,sometime I think I am ok then I hear or see or think something and it all come back.

    • natural stress r 5 years ago

      Everyone goes through the same phases when it comes to grief, i.e. from denial, to anger to acceptance and all points in between...but everyone goes through the different phases at a different pace, and some even get stuck in one phase or the other. I have been grieving the loss of a loved one for five years... I am still far off from the acceptance phase.

    • millyjones lm 5 years ago

      Grieving is the same process, but can effect people at different times and an individuals reaction to it, is what is different.

    • hari4902 5 years ago

      i am thinking

    • Laraine Sims 8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I like to grieve in private but a number of times have had others around and if I handn't experienced the benefits coming from that, I wouldn't have believed it. I do believe that all grieve the same but how they react to that grief is different.

    • PetMemorialWorld 9 years ago

      Although we may express it differently (or not express it) I believe we all share the same grief experience.

      An experience that transcends the loss of ALL of our family members - even our beloved animals.

    • sidnelson 9 years ago

      This is a very excellent and informative lens and I added a link to it on my blog on funeral poems. I think everyone is right on the feedbacks because there are two sides to all of us. There is the outward "person" or ego or Id, that interacts with others in it's own unique way so in that extent we all grieve differently. But the true spirit or consciousness that we are is the same for all of us. We're all just different manifestations of the very same One spirit. We, in reality, are the One that is the "observer" when we dream while participating in the dream at the same time. So to that extent we do grieve the same. So in both contexts, everyone is correct. The outward self or ego acts a certain way but the inner true self is the same for all of us! :-)

    • anonymous 9 years ago

      I like it that you mention many ways to lose.I was feeling terribly about efforts to stop fireworks.I also grieve at changes to rules.New departments and new rules come by the day.But my dad helped me by always talking about the happiest funeral he went to,where people were warned not to be sad .My cat was put down the other day, but I had extra time with her because my mum paid for an expensive operation.Puss had a cancer in her mouth.

    • BlessedOne 9 years ago

      I do believe that everyone grieves differently and no one can tell another the proper way to grieve. Saying stupid things like "maybe it's for the best" don't help either. However, I also believe that our loved ones can offer us comfort in our time of need. I'm new to squidoo and recently made a lens about my experience with a miscarriage and the grief I went through. I'd love to get your opinion of it, since you are an expert. It is called A Memory of Miscarriage and you can get to it by clicking on my picture. Thanks and have a very blessed day! ~ Tracy

    • religions7 9 years ago

      Everyone grieves the same: we all feel loss, sorrow, anger etc. But how that gets expressed does differ. Grief in one of those things that is part of life, because change, illness and death are part of life.

    • Kirsti A. Dyer 9 years ago from Northern California

      It is a popular belief that we should be 'over it' within two weeks...or at least this is the time frame given for those lucky enough to have bereavement leave from work.

    Everyone grieves differently.

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      • DtKnight 4 years ago

        I think that grief is very much something that is different on an individual level. We all have different belief systems that inform our experiences, as well as our upbringing.

        There is not doubt that people grieve in different ways. Just look at the difference between a wake and a somber funeral, for instance. Some people party until the day they day, while others are much more serious and they bottle up their emotions. Some people can be stifling to be around while others are overtly and sometimes excessively exuberant. That exuberance shows, and the differences in how people grieve shows as well.

      • Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

        @anonymous: I think knowing you are not alone in grief makes it a lot easier to cope.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        We all hurt, but grieve differently and some can easily move on while others may take awhile or even years. It feels good to know I am not alone grieving

      • Gigglesmith 4 years ago

        People handle stress differently, grief included.

      • Gigglesmith 4 years ago

        People handle stress differently, grief included.

      • Trudy 4 years ago

        I agree with so many of the comments on both sides. But at 65 years old, after losing a five day old baby, my mother and father, my husband, and recently my brother, I believe, while there is deep emotional pain, and overwhelming sadness involved, from my experience, we each handle and show it differently. As was expressed in this article, we may even express it differently hour by hour, depending on the stage your in at the time.

      • SarahPorter LM 4 years ago

        Really informative and helpful information. Thanks

      • Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

        One thing that I am certain of in dealing with grief is that the pain is immeasurable.

      • irenemaria 4 years ago from Sweden

        There is no right or wrong way to grief! Anything you need to do to cope is ok. I have a lens with my own sad story called irene marias story.

      • Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

        @Joyce Mann: Thank you.

      • Joyce T. Mann 4 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

        I have added your masterful lens (article) as a resource within the link list of my own lens, "Grieving the Loss of an Adult Son."

      • veldagtz 4 years ago

        different people have a different grieves

      • IssacAlouf 4 years ago

        We're all very similar, but I still think we do things differently, grieving included.

      • ToneyWernsman 4 years ago

        I think we all grieve differently.

      • Tagarack 4 years ago

        I think grieving is a personal journey that like everything else in life affects people differently. Some can take the loss and be able to carry on, while some are devastated by the same event. I don't think there should be a stereotype of male or female. My father was one of the toughest men I knew and yet when my mother died, he cried a lot, and ultimately died himself months later of a broken heart, although doctors say it was a heart attack. And myself, well that's another story...

      • maryLuu 4 years ago

        The pain is not the same. I mean each of us can feel ina different way the lost. You just can't measure the pain someone is feeling inside.

      • HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

        Even though we're all human, I think it's quite obvious that many of us grieve differently when compared to one another. One example is people who bottle it up versus people who just let it out.

      • Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

        @LeonRusselman: Leon - Thank you for sharing your experiences with your father. I love your analogy of drilling a hole in the head and emptying out all of the happy dust. Very descriptive.

      • LeonRusselman 5 years ago

        Thanks for this informative lens. My father, who has been gone for five years, lost his wife (not my mother) about 6 years prior to his own passing.

        He was never the same after that. I always thought he would benefit from counseling but he wouldn't seek help. He seemed to live under a dark cloud. Not to say he didn't have his moments of enjoyment. But he was pretty much a sad-sack.

        We felt bad for him and stayed close to him. It was like someone drilled a hole in his head and emptied all the happy dust out.

      • Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

        I have had varied grief experiences. When I lost my son, I was in touch with other moms who lost their sons of about the same age at the same time. One was able to write letters back and forth with me about her loss. The other simply couldn't write to either of us. After a period of years I finally had a chance to meet her and she explained grief factors totally different than the other two of us had experienced. We had extended family support she didn't have. Not only is each person unique, but so is each situation.

      • goldrushdirect 5 years ago

        The five stages of death were often related to grief over the loss (death) of a loved one. Some are now promoting the idea that everyone's process is different. I agree with this outlook.

      • PaulWinter 5 years ago

        When we lost our son in 2008, I would say I had a blended style of grieving. I need to talk about it and get support, but I also wanted to be on my own and reflect. I grieved differently when i lost my son from what I did when I lost my mum and dad. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to grieve.

      • jazziyarbrough 5 years ago

        Excellent Job on this lens. Great photos. Keep up the excellent work, and thank you for sharing.

      • OliviaDaughter LM 5 years ago

        i believe we all grieve differently. We react differently depending on our faith and support.

      • threebeca 5 years ago

        i think you should adele song. "someone like you"..maybe it better for you.. cheers.

      • MermaidDoc 5 years ago

        Everyone grieves differently.

        I have to go fully into the pain of it and express it, in order to escape out the other side, otherwise it comes back as depression later.

      • cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

        And every grief differs in each person...

      • 7meditations 5 years ago

        I find avoidance the best, keeping busy until I am ready to finalize the grieving process.

      • DeniseDurham2011 5 years ago

        Everyone handles things differently. Grief is no different. Thank you for this lens, it helped me understand mine better.

      • craigmitchell 5 years ago

        By proxy, everyone is different (but equal) and so I stand by that assumption that everyone grieves differently.

      • peggygallyot 5 years ago

        Everyone is different

      • peggygallyot 5 years ago

        Each person grieves in a different way. For me I just keep quiet and try to control my tears.

      • Xena Rana 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

        Truly Helping me to understand me & & aspect of grief.

      • MarcellaCarlton 5 years ago

        To know that each one grieves differently is to be totally o.k. with whatever each person wants to express or not express. We carry this burden alone.

      • Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

        This idea - that all have their own ways to grieve - takes away the anxiety and feeling of guilt that you don't feel a particular way - like the way your mother/ father/ sister/ brother does. I am very grateful that this is so.

      • dumutu 5 years ago

        Thank you for your sharing. I do believe that everyone grieves differently. They have different reasons and period of grief. It's good & better when you have something to deal with it.

        Thanks, it is a very nice lens.

      • Joyce T. Mann 5 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

        Brief seems to be my constant companion throughout life. I do think people grieve differently.

      • satisnet-tech 5 years ago

        Very well detailed and explained. A lot of things to learn and know what to the next after having some bad experiences. most of us face such problems.

        So just Cheers... Live Life Large : )

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I really love your lens. thank you. everyone has their individual way of grieving. At these moments I like being alone for a while to meditate and make things in order again. It's always about loosing some energy and with my method I try to fill myself with the energy of the Universe. It helps.

      • srsddn lm 5 years ago

        Every body faces grieving moments in life but the response may vary not only from individual to individual but also on different occasions by the same individual. Every loss in life makes you wiser and the response goes on varying. It is necessary for mental health.

      • KathyBatesel 5 years ago

        Great lens. I'll be recommending it to a friend who just lost her husband a few weeks ago, just shy of their 50th anniversary. I am feeling sad for her.

      • SteveKaye 5 years ago

        People are different. There are different behavior styles, different ways to love, and (yes) different ways to grieve.

      • Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

        I think we all grieve differently and even within the grieving process in one person the grieving is different, sometimes openly expressing, sometimes withdrawing, sometimes denying, sometimes humorous. Thanks for this excellent information.

      • Alan future 5 years ago

        I would say that life is not all about happiness.We gain many things and we lose some other things.Life is just a recycling system.In order to avoid grief the best thing is to accept the reality,and to accept that many bad things are possible to happen to us.Instead of grief it's good that we accept that the world is not always a place that gives us satisfaction and gives us both satisfaction and pleasure as well as loss.

      • Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

        From personal experience, I know that everyone handles grief differently. Too bad there isn't a simple solution!

      • kathysart 5 years ago

        Grieving is not simple and can't be judged.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        it has helped to find out about instrumental grief..i feel so relieved..i'm not abnormal or repressed. to know that we are all individual and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

      • MaryQuinlin 5 years ago

        Because we're individuals, we grieve in individual ways, and while there are "stages of grief," individually, we sometimes go back and forth among each stage out of order and...many times.

      • rainbowbutterfl1 5 years ago

        As we are unique individual, reaction to a certain loss varies. Some deal it quietly while others wanted to be in a circle of crowd accepting their support.

      • goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

        before my father died, we were praying and singing Lord, make me a channel of your peace. we accepted the loss but we are still grieving. we missed him a lot. when my mother died, i was not there and i feel the lump in my throat while i'm writing this comment. right now, i am teary-eyed. i miss my mom too.

      • nelsonkana 5 years ago

        We are all different and we differ in our ways of reacting to events.

      • Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        I ignore it to carry on but in quiet moments it rolls over me like a wave. I break down if I try to talk to others so I mostly try to process it on my own.

      • jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

        The feeling of grief is universal; it's expression varies.

      • SiochainGraSonas 5 years ago

        Each person is unique and each situation surrounding the loss is different. I can't see how everyone would grieve in the same way.

      • pajnhiaj 5 years ago

        Thanks for the lens it is very useful.

      • DanMoriarity LM 5 years ago

        People definitely grieve differently. My wife and I were on opposite ends of the Intuitive/Instrumental continuum when our son died several years ago. Life is better now but we had some very difficult years, largely because we grieved in such different ways and had a hard time bridging the gap.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Grief is unique to the individual because we don't all share the same background, culture or experiences.

      • Mamaboo LM 5 years ago

        While we all may go through like stages, how we grieve and process in those stages and the length of time we stay in each stages, as well as how many times we revisit each stage, varies from person to person. With a death of a friend Friday, I am once again reminded of how painful grief work is!

      • Lilly-n-Lloyd 5 years ago

        Everyone grieves differently but one needs to go through the grieving process completely or problems will occur.

      • gottaloveit2 5 years ago

        There is no universal way of grieving - to each his or her own. I know, as I care for my 94 year old Mom, I'm already grieving in a way for the person she once was. But, I'm also grateful for the person she still is and that she's still the only Mother I'd ever have chosen. I'm very lucky.

      • siserou 5 years ago

        My brain tells me how I should logically think about my grief, but my body does otherwise. Also, because my brain tends to be scientific and detail oriented, it never stops with the agonizing questions such as "why did it happen to me", "how did it happen", and "why didn't I know, why was it sudden without warning".

        My brain will not shut down and take a rest and sometimes makes things more difficult to bear.

      • Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer 6 years ago from Hedgesville, WV

        Grief sucks, but is part of life.

      • WendyMarsh 6 years ago

        Each of us has a unique loss, unlike anyone else's. I unexpectedly lost my beloved husband and best friend of 27 years, and because he was like no one else and our relationship was unique, as is every relationship, my grief is going to be different from another widow. From one day to the next, my own experience of grieving is different from my experience yesterday or the day before. There are certainly many similarities and many experiences we share, but each loss is as individual as a fingerprint or a snowflake.

      • AgingIntoDisabi 6 years ago

        Good info. We need more like this.

      • blue22d 6 years ago

        Loss my husband of 42 years last year to cancer. I've made a point to not expect much from myself for awhile. I am living with my son, daughter-in-law and 2 granddaughters and it has been the best thing. I can still grieve when I need but I have my support system.

      • bikerministry 6 years ago

        Thank you. Our peers are going through this and one of us will some day, We walked through the grieving process with my sister the last two years. it is tough!

      • Philippians468 6 years ago

        i believe the underlying emotions are similar, yet the expressions are varied.

      • sugunalinus 6 years ago

        Their attitude and their confidence levels are some factors in grieves, but the loss is one and the same.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        I lost my mom 2 days ago, all of a sudden i forget her.

      • jag252 lm 6 years ago

        Grief is very much an individual response. I lost my wife 7 years ago. There are times when I can talk about it very openly and freely and others it is mine alome to deal with.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        griefing a child that dies

      • masterbarnes 7 years ago

        I lost my father last month. I find it hard to deal with. It was totally not expected and it has impacted me deeply.

      • Spook LM 8 years ago

        My Mum died last night and although I was suspecting this, it was still a shock. I am so far away and as when it happened to my Dad, I won't be able to make the funeral. This saddens and infuriates me.

      • colibri lm 8 years ago

        My dad passed away in 2000 from cancer and it was of course a very sad time. He went too soon and it was a little frustrating to know that if he had not smoked for 20 years he could have lived longer. He tried so hard to beat it though. My mom became alone at that time and has been alone since. That is also sad. My saving grace is that I am very aware of the spiritual nature that we all have and that has kept me pretty calm and able to deal with it. I know that somewhere, somehow, I will see my dad again. He moved on in spirit and is still alive. He is just somewhere else now. It would however be nice to still be able to contact him and talk to him once in awhile. Thanks for this lens.

      • chriskelley 8 years ago

        When my mother passed away after years of debilitating illness I was surprised at my response. We had often talked together about her death, and I thought I would be more prepared for it when it happened. The last year of her life had been grueling fo us both, she needed constant care washing, eating, all the simple things we take for granted.

        I realize now that it was in that last year that I bonded most closely with my mother. Once she was gone, I not only missed Mom the person, but also there was another huge hole in my life... my identiy as a caregiver was gone and I foundered for awhile trying to figure out what to do with myself.

        I cried alot, but I also decided that for me stepping outside myself and helping others was the only way I could heal a broken heart. I could no longer help Mom, but there were plenty of other people to help in the world.

      • Nara White Owl 8 years ago

        I believe we all grieve differently, I have lost a Grandson and Mother. It was hard have my Mom pass away 3 years ago. But this pass Nov. when my Grandson would have been 12 It was hard. I just take my time and grief when I need to.

        Thanks for this lens.

      • Nara White Owl 8 years ago

        I believe we all grieve differently, I have lost a Grandson and Mother. It was hard have my Mom pass away 3 years ago. But this pass Nov. when my Grandson would have been 12 It was hard. I just take my time and grief when I need to.

        Thanks for this lens.

      • Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

        I never realize that grief came with so many types of losses. I see myself in some of those. I still feel grief for my sister who died when I was seven.

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        This is an amazing site--I would guess that there are several lives that have been save through this site.

      • AshleyBretting-MS 9 years ago

        Loss in any form can truly be devastating weather it is your home, job, pets, relationships, health etc. While I believe we all grieve differently, we share the same elements and stages of grief.

      • Patricia 9 years ago

        I know having been through grief a number of times, that we all greive differently

      • SharonMay 9 years ago

        Losing my mom recently and my father only 9 months before, grief has seem to overtake me right now. I believe everyone grieves differently. I wish people who see me on a good day don't think my grief is over. For those who see me on a bad day think I am not coping. We all have good and bad days. I take comfort in the thought that Mom and Dad are together again.

      • MsMorrison 9 years ago

        I think everyone has experienced the feeling of loss. How we cope with it is a measure of our strength as a person. It is good to have some support group like our family and friends to help us get through it. Most of all, our trust in God will help up move on and get on with life.

      • Kirsti A. Dyer 9 years ago from Northern California

        I've included sections that look at and explain the different grieving styles, intuitive, instrumental and blended.

      • Angelina 9 years ago from California

        Very thoughtful lens. Great information. It's so hard when you loose someone that has made an impact in your life and so many people expect you to "get over it" very quickly. Loss or Missing someone is such a deeply rooted feeling...showing a little compassion goes a long way.

      • RebeccaColmer 9 years ago

        Even though there is no perfect formula for managing your grief feelings, it is imperative that you be aware of your feelings because they influence your behaviour and judgment.

      • TopStyleTravel 9 years ago

        For myself, I have not found a more reliable foundation for coping than reading the Holy Bible. It can comfort & contains experiences written for our benefit & has timeless information universal to mankind. It can help dispel myths & expose the origin of widely held misinformation on death. Also to study history to connect the origin of the belief to be sure it is sound. Not just based on human ideology. And to pray for help beyond what is normal for humans, for we are strong but very fragile.

        (Job 14:14-15) 14 If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. 15 You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.

        (1 Corinthians 15:12) 12 Now if Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among YOU say there is no resurrection of the dead?

        The point is have HOPE.

      • anonymous 9 years ago

        This page is awesome. I wish I would have found it about 7 years ago when I was really looking for help on how to cope. I have gathered so much information since then and have thought about putting it up on my own page like this and this inspires me to do so. There are many that think they are the only ones that know what it feels like to be totally devasted by a loss but there are many and it's nice to know that there are others out there that want to help.

        Thanks again and please keep sharing.

        God Bless



      • anonymous 9 years ago

        Everyone sure has 'been there' a time or two in their life. I'm glad you did so much research to help those who just don't see an end to the pain just yet. Thank you for the man informational resources you have provided!

      • taliamurphy lm 9 years ago

        Thank you for this very useful and informative lens. I just wish I had seen it two years ago when my friend died very suddenly in an accident. Grief is a journey. We all face loss at some time in our lives and it is never easy.My heart goes out to anyone who has lost someone close to them. It certainly changes us. Hopefully, we become more compassionate human beings in the process.

        Talia Murphy

        Talia Murphy

      • Feridust 9 years ago

        Very compassionate and informative. An excellent lens and well written lens.

      • healthadvisor1 9 years ago

        Everybody has different emans of displacing the grief within self. the important thing is that the person knows and is educated on how to handle grief and able to cope up with it. Informative site. Gave it 5 stars.

        -- 4d scans

      • swvisions 9 years ago

        I think the process is the same, but the thoughts and experiences that lead up to it are what makes it different for each person.

      • katiyana 9 years ago

        They say the first year is the hardest to get through, then it gets easier. They're wrong - it's just a different kind of hard in year 2. But I have more good days than bad days now than I used to, and am still learning to do all the things my husband did for me before he died.

      • GrowWear 9 years ago

        This is an important lens, and well done. We all grieve differently just as we drive differently, bathe differently, talk differently... The mechanics are the same, but we each have our own way of doing it. It's been almost six and a half years since I lost someone very, very close to me in an unexpected and tragic way. I am still grieving -- not to the same extent as in the beginning, but grieving, still. For the first four years just reliving the moment of loss would elicit an involuntary grunting noise as if I had been hit in the stomach. If people were around, they would look at me, concerned, and ask, "What is it?" ...No one should ever tell another that it's "time to stop grieving." Who says? How do they know? ...Love to all.

      • livinglifesatisfied 9 years ago

        Grief is something that needs to be worked through with support and love. Those around you should understand that it's not easy and you just can't jump up and feel as if everything is fine. Some may grieve through activity while others may choose isolation. Either way there should always be a support system of friends and family or even strangers who are willing to lend a listening ear. I agree fully grief can be shared.

      • anonymous 9 years ago

        I say grief CAN be shared! you must share it before you began to heal from it. Sharing takes your feeling outside of yourself. It turns it into mourning....Grief carried inside explodes! However your not rewarded for speed....slowly in you own way find a companion to share you thoughts and feelings with.

      • BostonRob 9 years ago

        My wife and I lost a baby 3 months ago and it is hard on both of us but I hold it in as she shows it through anger..

        Thanks for this important topic

      • HerbalRemedies 9 years ago

        I believe that it is hard to say for sure how people grieve because what they are feeling inside and what they show can be two very different things. It's kind of like trying to figure out who has the worst headache, you can only judge by their outward reaction. Not a very accurate tool of measurement.

      • kab 9 years ago from Upstate, NY

        I don't think a job assumes you will be over it in two weeks time when they give you bereavement leave, but they do think that they are paying you to do a job, and after two weeks if you are still laying in bed then perhaps you need to get out into the world and see that there is still life.

      Remember the Basics When Coping with Loss

      Following a loss, death or other tragic event it may be difficult to remember to take care for oneself. When facing a loss it is helpful to focus the basics.

      This short list provides healthy coping strategies that I recommended to patients and to friends, to keep them moving during the first few days.

      1. Take it one hour at a time, one day at a time, if need be one moment at a time.
      2. Get enough sleep or at least enough rest.
      3. Try to maintain some type of a normal routine.
      4. Remember that regular exercise helps relieve stress and tension.
      5. Eat a balanced diet. Limit high calorie and junk food. Drink plenty of water.
      6. Avoid using alcohol, medications or other drugs in excess or to mask the pain.
      7. Do those things and be with those people who comfort, sustain and recharge you.
      8. Talk to others, especially those who have lived through and survived similar experiences.
      9. Find creative ways-journal, paint, photograph, build, woodwork, quilt, knit, collage or draw-to express intense feelings.
      10. Remember coping skills you have used to survive past losses. Draw upon these inner strengths again.

      Angel of Grief

      Angel of Grief
      Angel of Grief | Source

      The Annual Cost of Grief

      For a 2003 study by the Grief Institute used more than 12 recognized studies to compute the cost of a lost work hours due to grief.

      They estimated that grief in the workplace grief costs U.S. businesses over $75 billion a year in reduced productivity, increased errors and accidents.

      These numbers get broken down as following:

      • Death of a Loved One Cost: $37.6 billion
      • Divorce/Marital Woes Cost: $11 billion
      • Family Crisis Cost: $9 billion
      • Death of an Acquaintance Cost: $7 billion
      • Money Trouble at Home Cost: $4.6 billion
      • Pet Loss Cost: $2.4 billion

      Russell Friedman, the institute's co-director perhaps says it best,

      "When your heart is broken, your head doesn't work right."

      Source: The Grief Recovery Institute. 2003.

      Grief in the Office

      Flowers at Work
      Flowers at Work | Source

      Heart Ache Leave vs. Bereavement Leave

      In Japan, grief in the workplace is recognized in a special way. Japanese workers can take paid time off 'heartache leave,' personal time offf also known as shitsuren kyuka to mend a broken heart after experiencing a bad break-up. The time off allowed increases as you age.

      In the United States, bereavement leave is frequently more limited. I remember two weeks after the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the flags were no longer flying at half mast, an indication that we were supposed to be moving on and getting over it.

      Perhaps we should be looking at offering shitsuren kyuka in the United States, or a [paid] holiday you take when you feel too devastated to come to the office.

      Time to Grieve

      Time | Source

      People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again.

      Mourning can go on for years and years.

      It doesn't end after a year, that's a false fantasy.

      It usually ends when people realize that they can live again,

      that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole,

      and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.

      — Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

      How Long Will I Grieve?

      A grieving person must recognize that they may never entirely "get over" their grief. Some losses never entirely fade e.g. loss of child, loss of spouse, diagnosis with a terminal illness. Rather in time they learn how to integrate the loss or change into their lives and keep living.

      The dual process model is one of the current ways of explaining the grieving process; it is a dynamic struggle between the pain of the death of the loved one (loss-oriented) and recovery (restoration-oriented).

      Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross may have described the process of grieving (mourning) best in her quote and how long grief lasts.

      Therefore, the grieving process usually ends when people realize that they will survive and begin to focus their energy on living.

      Piecing Together a New Life

      Piecing Together a New Life (Weaving)
      Piecing Together a New Life (Weaving) | Source

      Piece by piece, I reenter the world.

      A new phase. A new body, a new voice.

      Birds console me by flying, trees by growing,

      dogs by the warm patch they leave on the sofa.

      Unknown people merely by performing their motions.

      It's like a slow recovery from a sickness, this recovery of one's self.

      — Tony Talbot

      Learning to Live Again

      The grieving process involves learning to adapt and adjust to a life forever changed by the loss, a life that can change in many different ways.

      This may involve developing new skills, changing a circle of friends, moving, changing jobs, giving up activities and taking on new responsibilities.

      Finding healthy ways to cope with the loss day to day can help including ways to take care of yourself and ways to remember.

      Preparing for Anniversaries and the Anniversary response that often results is another way of learning to life again.

      Healthy Coping Strategies

      After making it through the first few days just focusing on the basics, the grieving person may need some helpful suggestions to keep going. This list comes from a lecture that I gave at the California Maritime Academy on "How to Cope with Loss, Grief, Death & Dying - Professionally & Personally" for a course on Dying: The Final Stage.

      This short list provides additional healthy coping strategies to keep the person moving and doing something beyond first few days following the loss.

      1. Create a Memorial. Depending on the circumstances and the person you may want to create roadside memorial, a home shrine or a bulletin board filled with letters, notes, poems and pictures. You may decide to create a sculpture, a collage or fill a scrapbook with memories.
      2. Help to plan and organize the funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life to honor the person who has died. Planning a service, tending to the details, is something active to do, during a time when people often feel helpless.
      3. Plant a tree or flowers in a garden in memory of the person lost.
      4. Donate--money, time, food, clothing or other needed items--to a favorite charity, homeless shelter, animal shelter or home for abused women.
      5. Donate blood at your local blood center. Donating is another way of doing something active and giving something back.
      6. Write sympathy and condolence notes, letters of encouragement and support to those affected by the loss.
      7. Thank the emergency and hospital personnel, highway patrol, police and firefighters for helping if the loss involved an accident or emergency.
      8. Be kind to others. Make space for the car merging in on the freeway. Don't use your horn unless it is absolutely necessary. Let someone with fewer items go first in the grocery store.
      9. Perform random acts of kindness. This will help to remind one there is tenderness and thoughtfulness in the world. Pay the bridge toll for the person behind you. Smile at the store clerk. Some choose to perform random acts of kindness in memory of the person lost.
      10. Volunteer your services or skills. Offer assistance to someone in need.
      11. Do something that can benefit others. Take a first aid or CPR class.
      12. Remember to tell your loved ones, friends and family how much you care about them often.

      Source: Dyer K. 2002. How to Cope with Loss, Grief, Death & Dying - Professionally & Personally. Presentation for California Maritime Academy's Dying: The Final Stage Course. Journey of Hearts.

      Create a Circle of Healing

      I have long had the belief that there is a healing power in holding a person in one's thoughts-whether through saying prayers or blessings or lighting candles.

      These are the same beliefs echoed by Jim Reeves, the urologist who treated Lance Armstrong who recited the ancient Chinese belief, that when a person is held in the hearts and minds and souls of so many other people, they can do better.

      Creating a circle of healing and positive thoughts and positive intention is something that friends and family can do when someone is sick or facing a life crisis to feel a little less helpless.

      If nothing else, creating a circle of healing gives everyone something to do during a very difficult time.

      Breathe, Just Breathe

      Breathe | Source

      Remember to Breathe

      Whether is is coping with the loss of a loved one, managing a life changing event or just coping with everyday stressors, remembering to "Breathe, Just Breathe" is a very helpful coping strategy for the grieving person.

      Breathe helps get oxygen flowing to the brain so you can think more clearly, which is important during stressful times.

      When we are tense during stressful times, we often forget to breathe. Something simple as focusing on breathing can be very helpful.

      Several articles on the benefits of breathing as a way to cope with stress and with loss.

      Transitions by Steven Halpern

      Transitions: Music For Comfort & Solace
      Transitions: Music For Comfort & Solace

      Steven Halpern's music on this CD was written to provide comfort and solace during times of transitions.


      Listen to Music

      Listening to comforting Music is a helpful way of coping with a loss.

      One of my favorite comforting musicians is Steven Halpern.

      His music creates a safe and sacred space. The music of Transitions is a helpful one to listen to when praying, meditating or practicing mindfulness.

      Listening to his album Gifts of the Angels, is an ethereal other world experience, which can be very comforting for those grieving the death of a loved one.

      Gifts of the Angels

      Gifts Of The Angels
      Gifts Of The Angels

      There is an ethereal out-of-this world quality to this music on this CD. Listening to it there is a sense that of floating out in space and hearing the angels sing.

      Somehow in Gifts of the Angels Steven Halpern manages to capture the voices of the angels, a comforting thought to many who have lost a loved one.


      Touching the Soul Healing the Spirit through Music

      One of the other artists that I have personally found to be very healing is listening to the early music of Josh Groban.

      His music is able to touch the soul and heal the grieving heart.

      Anniversary Response

      Coping with the Anniversary of a Death of Loss

      Honor the Fallen

      Honor the Fallen
      Honor the Fallen | Source

      Anniversary Response

      It is interesting to me that in a relatively short period of time starting at the end of August within the span of just a few weeks we experience the Anniversaries of several major deaths.

      In 2015 we will celebrate:

      • The 6th year anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson (June 29, 2009)
      • The 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005)
      • The 18th year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana (August 31, 1997)
      • The 9th year anniversary of the death of Steve Irwin (Sept 4, 2006)
      • The 18th year anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa (September 5, 1997)
      • The 14th year of September 11th (Sept 11, 2001)

      Anniversary dates of a tragic event, the actual date of the death, the birth date of a loved one, holidays or other special occasions are common triggers for an Anniversary reaction or a grief response.

      An Anniversary reaction or response is a sudden unexpected rush of memories, intense emotions and feelings of grief.

      As I learn my life anew,

      may I be empowered by loving memories.

      — Martha Whitmore Hickman

      A Life Forever Changed by Loss

      The Journey of Grief following a loss, a crisis or a significant life change is a very personal and many times a very private one.

      Each person experiences his or her own unique journey discovering their own internal sources of strength to help him/her cope with the grief response.

      In the grieving process, the bereaved person must learn how to deal with the loss, crisis or significant change, adapt and adjust to a new life.

      Despite the loss, life goes on, it moves forward and begins anew, but it is a life forever changed.

      Life Anew

      Fern Spiral (Koru)
      Fern Spiral (Koru) | Source

      In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life:

      it goes on.

      — Robert Frost

      Sending Condolences or Sympathies for a Loss

      Sending Condolences by Email, Text or Instant Message

      With all of the technology available to us these days, there are a variety of ways that messages can be sent, other than the old styles letters (snail mail) or by phone.

      Email is slowly starting to be recognized by some etiquette experts as an alternative way of sending at least initial condolences.

      Most of the etiquette experts believe, and I concur, that texting and IM (instant messaging) are too informal and should only be used for casual topics or informational briefs.

      Recommended Books for Coping with Grief

      When Bad Things Happen to Good People

      When Bad Things Happen to Good People
      When Bad Things Happen to Good People

      One of the classics answering the question what to do when bad things happen to good people.


      Classic Grief Books

      These are just some of the grief, loss and bereavement books that I have in my personal collection.

      These three are some of the classics "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" "How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies" and "A Grief Observed" recommended for those who have experienced a loss.

      The words and message in these classic grief book have stood the test of time for being helpful resources.

      These books have been recommended to me during my losses and recommended by me when helping others cope with loss.

      How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies

      How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies
      How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies

      Helpful suggestions from Dr. Therese Rando with how to cope with someone dies.

      A Grief Observed
      A Grief Observed

      One of the earlier books written on grief, by C.S. Lewis


      Recommended Books for Coping with Loss

      When There Are No Words

      When There Are No Words: Finding Your Way to Cope with Loss and Grief
      When There Are No Words: Finding Your Way to Cope with Loss and Grief

      How to cope when there are no words for how you are feeling after a loss.


      Classic Books on Loss

      For those who are interested in learning more about loss, particularly life after loss and the effects of ambiguous loss here are several of the helpful books.

      Charlie Walton's book on "When There Are No Words" is a helpful resource for finding ways to help those helping others to cope with the unimaginable losses.

      Bob Diets book on "Life after Loss" is one of my favorites. Now on the 4th edition this classic has helped many people to cope after experiencing a major life loss.

      One of the more challenging losses is that of ambiguous loss where there may be no closure or end for those grieving. This book by Pauline Boss looks at ways of helping those experiencing ambiguous loss or as it is referred to as unresolved or even frozen grief.

      Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

      Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief
      Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

      This book looks at ambiguous loss and how to live with unresolved grief.


      More Resources for Coping with Grief

      Resources for Coping with Different Aspects of Grief and Loss

      Grief and Loss topics were among the earliest ones that I wrote about when I started writing for Squidoo in 2007. Over the years I have written on many different aspects of grief and loss.

      You can look at the list below and the links that follow so you can find out more about a particular area of bereavement.

      Copyright Information Creative Commons License

      Creative Commons License © 1997-2015 Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS, FT. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

      The material in this resource book may be copied and reproduced on websites or in newsletters, ezines provided that the Author's Biography information and a link to this page is included with any article.

      Longer excerpts from this online resource book may not be copied, duplicated or reproduced for use in a for-profit setting without prior written permission by the author.

      History of the Loss, Grief and Bereavement Lens

      Loss, Grief and Bereavement # 1 in Health on Squidoo

      Screen shot of Squidoo May 29, 2008.
      Screen shot of Squidoo May 29, 2008.

      Topping the Health Topic

      The Loss, Grief and Bereavement lens topped the Health Topics on May 29, 2008 and remained as the top topic for over a month.

      Since the new topic restructuring, the Loss, Grief and Bereavement lens was re-classified in the Grief and Loss category under Healthy Living.

      Since Moving to Hubpages, this page has been reclassified into

      Health → Death and Loss of Life → Grief and Bereavement

      Loss, Grief & Bereavement - a Masterpiece Lens

      I was honored and humbled to have been recognized in the early days of Squidoo as one of the Masterpiece Movement lensmasters, these were lensmasters who were committed to bringing the highest quality, most relevant information, best writing and greatest ideas.

      In order to qualify you need to present your best work, your best ideas, your most fabulous, over the top lenses.

      According to Margaret, "The grief page IS a masterpiece, IMHO"

      Share your thoughts on loss and grief...

      Please note that messages of a personal nature may not be approved if the author deems them too personal.

      © 2007 Kirsti A. Dyer

      Comments on the Loss, Grief and Breavement Lens

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        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @darkflowers: Thank you. It isn't a topic that most people think about much until they have to deal with a loss.

        • darkflowers profile image

          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          I loved this great Lens on a topic that is so important as we all face loss, grief and Breavement in our lives! Wonderful tips, great info, thank you so much!

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @socialcx1: One of the more difficult parts of life. Thank you for your comments.

        • socialcx1 profile image

          socialcx1 4 years ago

          Guess it's all just part of living and the only why we heal after suffering a sad loss. Lovely lens, thanks

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @ConvenientCalendar: That's why they call them triggers - the grief can come back anew. Understanding that people have triggers can be helpful.

        • profile image

          ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

          It is funny how you can get over grief, then something like a song or a certain thing can trigger the grief years after you are through it, then you have to get rid of those thoughts again! Great lens

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @Aunt-Mollie: The amount of grieving often depends on the type of loss. There are some griefs that you never truly get over.

        • profile image

          Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

          Grief can be as dehibilitating as an illness and as unique in its ramifications as each individual is unique. Fortunately, for most the worst cycle of grief does not last forever.

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @anonymous: Thank you

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Worth reading thoroughly!

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @Trudy Hanley: I am glad to know that the lens was of help.

        • Trudy Hanley profile image

          Trudy 4 years ago

          This information is so powerful. An abundance of understanding. Just after reading through it for the first time, I feel enlightened, and calmer. Thank you.

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @SusanRDavis: Thank you for the blessings. Loss isn't a topic that most people want to deal with until they have experienced a loss.

        • RaintreeAnnie profile image

          RaintreeAnnie 4 years ago from UK

          Your page has really helped me on several occasions, so just wanted to say thankyou and blessed.

        • SusanRDavis profile image

          Susan R. Davis 4 years ago from Vancouver

          What an important resource for anyone who has ever suffered a loss - and you mention the many kinds of loss, not just death - or anyone who wants to support someone who has suffered a loss. Dr. Kubler-Ross is an excellent resource, as I found out many years ago in my first time of loss. *blessed*

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @RaintreeAnnie: I am saddened to read that you have needed to use the page, but glad to know the information has been of help.

        • SassyGie profile image

          SassyGie 4 years ago

          In my line of work, I deal with people at the end of their lives so I can totally relate to this lens. It's a very emotionally-taxing job...

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @ClassyGals: I am glad that the information was helpful.

        • ClassyGals profile image

          Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

          Angel Blessings for creating such an informative lens on how to deal with loss. I can't tell you how helpful this lens was to me in my time of bereavement.

        • ManualMustafaa profile image

          ManualMustafaa 4 years ago

          Very helpful lens, thank you...

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @Tagarack: Sometimes talking out that conversation or writing out letters with what you would have liked to have said to a loved one, or even writing the conversation you might have had with them can help.

        • Tagarack profile image

          Tagarack 4 years ago

          This is a wonderful lens on a very difficult topic, but you give some very good advice and information on the grieving process. I lost my parents about four years ago, and while it's a bit easier these days, I still feel the loss a lot. The other day I found myself wanting to call them to tell them how I was doing, and I remembered that I couldn't and it hurt, bringing back a flood of memories. But anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject and some great resources. Any blessings and likes are well deserved.

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          @ericstrate: Thank you.

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          ericstrate 4 years ago

          Dang, what a great lens... I hope I can get good enough at this Squidoo thing to make lenses as nice as this some day! :)

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          SchoolHolidayDates 4 years ago

          What a great lens. I'm new to Squidoo but I like what I have read here. I have experienced a lot of loss in my life and can totally relate to a lot of what is here. I highly recommend a book I read by Gloria Hunniford called "Always with You"

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          HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

          Beautiful lens... I bookmarked it because I have a bad feeling I'll be consulting it soon :/

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          akunsquidoku 5 years ago

          nice lens..:D

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

          @chas65: Anniversary days can be very challenging, especially when most people do not remember the dates that someone died.

        • chas65 profile image

          chas65 5 years ago

          One way my wife dealt with the loss of our grandson was to get an antique box and fill it with personal things that belonged to him, kind of like the memorial you mentioned.

          She tried to stay busy and be with people she loves on those anniversary days.

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          Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

          @EMangl: You are fortunate to have a photo-folder full of memories.

        • EMangl profile image

          EMangl 5 years ago

          just today i received an email that a friend fell of a hill while climbing - my first reaction was to open my photo-folder and searched for the days where we have been out in nature: it was a sad journey but also a good time ...

        • BarbRad profile image

          Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

          As one very acquainted with grief, I think you've done a great job on this.

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          AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

          This is such an important topic, and you have done a beautiful job in discussing all aspects of it. Blessed!

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          sherioz 5 years ago

          This is a very important lens. I dealt with grief regularly in my clinical work - survivors of sexual abuse would finally get to the stage of healing during which they would grieve for the childhoods they never had, the innocence that was stolen from them, the safety they should have known, etc. It is a hard and important part of healing.

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          maraga 5 years ago

          this lens is important to me at this moment when i am mourning the death of two ministers in the government of kenya. remember the government of kenya. thank you

        • ChenB profile image

          ChenB 5 years ago

          This lens is considerable important for anybody who has ever lost someone near and dear. This lens brought up many happy memories of lost loved ones.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          What a great lens, full of love, and peaceful healing.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Consider the book: "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life" by Susan Anderson for issues related specifically to Loss/Abandonment. Great book. It includes a practical process for healing.

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          happynutritionist 5 years ago

          You are the one to come to to find information about this subject, a friend just lost her father, happening a lot at the age we are now, losing parent. Beautiful information on so many of your lenses. Thank you. *blessed*

        • PaulWinter profile image

          PaulWinter 5 years ago

          A very helpful lens. I wrote a lens about the loss of my son not long after he died. I am disabled, so whereas others in the family could distract themselves with work i was left on my own for long periods of time. it happened nearly 4 years ago and I still think I'm grieving, but the feelings are not so intense.

          Occasionally I get comments left on my lens from parents who have just lost their child, and some have said what I have written has helped. But I know no words can take way the pain of the loss of a loved one. It is something we have to work through.

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          rysth13 5 years ago

          Very much supportive lens for all, specially who are going through loss, grief and breavement.

        • profile image

          rysth13 5 years ago

          Very much supportive lens for all, specially who are going through loss, grief and breavement.

        • Bill Armstrong profile image

          Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

          Thank you for sharing, having lost my Father and about to lose an Uncle and Cousin and day now, I appreciate these kind words

        • icansurpriseu lm profile image

          icansurpriseu lm 5 years ago

          Thanks for sharing, Great lens

        • flinnie lm profile image

          Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

          Thanks for sharing these tips and info.Lot of help for the person going through loss and grief.

        • rachelscott profile image

          rachelscott 5 years ago

          Nice lens i found your lens so interesting and deserve thumb up.

        • avigarret profile image

          avigarret 5 years ago

          This lens is admirable, you've taken up a difficult subject and handled it beautifully.

        • LaraineRoses profile image

          Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

          Coming back again to give this lens a blessing. It is a great resource!

        • tomazg profile image

          tomazg 5 years ago

          This really is a beautiful and meaningful lens. It sure helped many people...

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          AbandonGames 5 years ago

          a very nice lense !

        • Cari Kay 11 profile image

          Kay 5 years ago

          I know this page has helped so many just have to bless it!

        • HenkWillemse profile image

          HenkWillemse 5 years ago

          Yes loss is a real setback in one's life, but all of us have to deal with it at some time.

        • cynthiannleighton profile image

          cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

          Thanks! Useful

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          michaelangelas 5 years ago

          Great lens!

          You hit all the checks in my grief boxes.

        • CreativeXpressi profile image

          CreativeXpressi 5 years ago

          A wonderful and informative lens! Thank you for writing this lens!!!!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 5 years ago

          Great lens now featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Why do Humans Suffer, Hugs

        • profile image

          harmony200517 5 years ago

          Thanks for you lens.nice!

        • mrkensworld profile image

          mrkensworld 5 years ago

          Dr. Dyer great lens. I hope you are blessed as you will help many through these tough times in life. Thanks for the great lens!

        • Scotties-Rock profile image

          Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

          Beautiful Lens! Blessed!

        • craigmitchell profile image

          craigmitchell 5 years ago

          Thank you for such a rich and helpful lens. Some truly helpful recommendations for actions and reading material. Thank you.

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          linkreggie 5 years ago

          Great lens, one of my favorite quote about sadness: Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death by Jean-Jacques Rousseau ...

        • peggygallyot profile image

          peggygallyot 5 years ago

          Thank you for the wisdom that you have shared

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          MarcellaCarlton 5 years ago

          Wonderful lens!

        • Elyn MacInnis profile image

          Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

          This lens is so amazing - I am going to refer people to come here when they have had a loss. I was also delighted to see that Steven Halpern had done more music - he is very sensitive, and I am going to go buy these albums. Thank you so much.

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          dumutu 5 years ago

          Again, thank you for this lens. :)

        • snazzify lm profile image

          Katie Harp 5 years ago

          blessed by a squid angel :) <3

        • Rangoon House profile image

          AJ 5 years ago from Australia

          This is such a helpful collection of material. Our family recently lost a precious pet and the different unique grief responses from each of us were interesting - I now understand that better. I appreciate the quotations you site and am staggered at the statistics you share. Blessings.

        • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

          Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

          You are such an expert on connecting this difficult subject to ordinary people. Of course I cried while learning about the possible next step on my "journey." Thanks so much.

        • tyrosine profile image

          tyrosine 5 years ago

          wow was overwhelm by the loads of information you have on loss :D

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Outstanding resources on loss. It really made me think and try to face the losses in my own life.

        • intermarks profile image

          intermarks 5 years ago

          Very well and nicely build lens. We have to face the truth bravely and look forward and don't look back.

        • Wedding-Music profile image

          Matt Warren 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

          A very powerful lens, thank you

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          candidaabrahamson 5 years ago

          This is a well-researched, informative, poignant but helpful lens on a topic that impacts all of us at one point or another. Well-done!

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 5 years ago

          This is truly an amazing lens. Blessed!

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          oiloflife 5 years ago

          Thank you for the awesome lens! Very informative I loved it

        • ottoblotto profile image

          ottoblotto 5 years ago

          Beautifully written

        • TTMall profile image

          TTMall 5 years ago

          Very good information. Thanks for sharing!

        • LouisaDembul profile image

          LouisaDembul 5 years ago

          It is so true that loss and bereavement can involve so many different features of life. Very good information on how to deal with it.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Dr. Dyer, thank you for sharing this wonderful lens. I have usually thought of grief in connection with losing a loved one, but your lens helps me see that we can grieve over many life experiences. While reading your list "Types of Losses," I was surprised at how many of them I have experienced. Thanks, again and all the best.

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          squid232 5 years ago

          Very useful article. Thanks for posting.

        • biminibahamas profile image

          biminibahamas 5 years ago

          As a former medical professional I thought that I could handle personal loss. After helping my Mother and sister through hospice within 2 months of each other I came away thinking, well, I am OK. It wasn't until several months later it really hit me. Profound grief. Your lens is spot on. Thank you!

        • Pip Gerard profile image

          Pip Gerard 5 years ago

          definitely among the very best lenses on squidoo! thank you for sharing your years of work. I've always said death and grief should be talked about way more in society... I'm amazed that most of the time it seems an almost taboo subject.... can only assume that's because of the intense emotion associated with it. I think I'm still grieving the loss of my brother 13 years ago... or whether or not I supressed the grief and numbed myself from expressing it to it's full... do you believe that's possible?

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          sellhousefastusa 5 years ago

          Having gone through loss and grief myself I identify with the pain ...thank you for a lens devoted to this topic, not an easy one.

        • accfuller profile image

          accfuller 5 years ago

          Thank you for this lens - it's very helpful :)

        • blogalexg profile image

          Alex Graham 5 years ago

          Hello Dr.,

          Loved your lens. Lots of great information! I especially liked the sections about:

          Types of Losses, My Professional Opinion on Grief & Loss, Sending Condolences by Email, Text or Instant Message.

          I write an English Language Learning Blog for international adult readers. I will probably be referencing you in the course of 2012.

          Thank again,


          Celebrity English

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          VillaDejaBlue 5 years ago

          Nice lens.

        • Country-Sunshine profile image

          Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

          I can definitely identify with your "Grief will make a new person out of you, if it doesn't kill you in the making." You have provided a wealth of great information. Thank you so much!

        • vkumar05 profile image

          vkumar05 5 years ago

          A highly introspective Lens. Thanks for sharing.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thank you for the lens.

        • goo2eyes lm profile image

          goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

          thank you for sharing this lens. whenever we have a family reunion, we visit my parents' graves and recite the rosary for them. i am pretty sure that when it is my time to go, they will pick me up and gather near my deathbed.

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          nelsonkana 5 years ago

          Nice lens. Today am exploring top lens. Your lens is interesting and informative.

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          jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

          Thank you for the lens. Loss and grief can be very crippling, especially if it's of a loved one. I know people who end up becoming very depressed as a result.

        • Jimmy Gavin profile image

          Jimmy Gavin 5 years ago

          Thanks for sharing, always a difficult time for everyone

        • CNelson01 profile image

          Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

          Helpful...thank you.

        • tvyps profile image

          Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

          Thanks for sharing....blessed.

        • CanInsure profile image

          CanInsure 5 years ago

          I think grief can be very powerful.

        • krakensquid profile image

          krakensquid 5 years ago

          Another fantastic lens of yours!

        • jadehorseshoe profile image

          jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

          This lens is the encyclopedia of sad; that's a good thing.

        • dwnovacek profile image

          dwnovacek 5 years ago

          What an incredible lens. Over the past three years I've suffered through 11 of the types of loss you mention here. I now understand so much more about my feelings and reactions during this time. Angel Blessed!

        • SiochainGraSonas profile image

          SiochainGraSonas 5 years ago

          Finding this lens at this time is a blessing. This was very helpful to me.