Grief and Loss

While we are here for your loved one, we are also here for you and your family during this time of grief. Grief is a normal and natural response when we suffer a loss. While everyone will experience a loss at some point, the symptoms of grief are often misunderstood – both by the people going through it and the people around them. By raising grief awareness, individuals in mourning can better understand their own reactions and their loved ones can better support them.

Symptoms of Grief

When we stop thinking of grief as a timeline, we can look at the actual physical, mental, emotional and spiritual reactions individuals may experience. Simply knowing these feelings are normal can help some people in mourning. Understanding the symptoms of grief is also helpful for those around them.
What a mourner is experiencing today may fade and be replaced with other reactions. It is not a linear process. Mourners may circle back to emotions. The bereaved may go through a period of time when they feel at peace and then return to sadness. All of this is normal.

Common Mental Reactions to Grief

  • Difficulties in concentrating
  • Continuously thinking about the loss
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Believing you were responsible for the loss
  • Increased or decreased dreams
  • Increased nightmares
  • Thinking everyone is watching you
  • Thinking you are different from everyone else
  • Self-destructive thoughts

Common Physical Reactions to Grief

  • Sleeping changes – too little or too much
  • Weight and appetite changes
  • Tiredness
  • Deep sighing
  • Feeling weak
  • Energized: feeling strong/invincible
  • Muscle tension
  • Pounding heart
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Easily shaken by certain sights and sounds (particularly those that remind you of the loss)
  • Increased number of colds and infections

Common Spiritual Reactions to Grief

  • Feeling lost and empty
  • Feeling abandoned or punished by God
  • Questioning a reason to go on living
  • Feeling like you don’t belong
  • Feeling angry with God
  • Questioning your religious beliefs
  • Feeling spiritually connected to the person who died
  • Feeling spiritually connected to God
  • Needing to receive forgiveness
  • Finding hope in prayer/spiritual beliefs
  • Finding purpose in life

Common Behaviors and Social Interactions When Grieving

  • Trying to stay constantly active
  • Overachieving
  • Underachieving
  • Changes in work performance
  • Being preoccupied and forgetful
  • Being more clumsy
  • Crying a lot, or more easily
  • Blaming others
  • Not caring about things, wanting to drop out
  • Wanting to spend more time alone
  • Dropping out of social activities
  • Pulling away from other’s attempts to touch and comfort you
  • Wanting more attention and affection
  • Seeking approval and reassurance from others
  • Being aggressive, getting more arguments
  • Showing more creative expression through music, writing, and art