What is grief?

Grief is really made up of the thoughts and feelings that someone might have in response to the death of a loved one. Grief is not pathological, grief is not an illness or a mental health problem. Grief is a natural part of life and a natural part of mourning the loss of someone that we care about.

Grief is a normal and natural response to a loss.

Each person’s grief is unique. Our individual grief experiences are shaped by many factors:

  • The relationship we had with the person who died
  • The cause of death
  • Our society and cultural background
  • Our personality and coping style
  • Our past experiences with loss
  • Our support network
  • Our religious or spiritual beliefs and customs

We can grieve for many reasons other than death. We can grieve when we experience job loss, loss of a relationship, lost opportunities, loss of heath, loss of safety or security, loss of independence, loss of hope for the future, and many others.

We might grieve our childhood when we graduate from school. Or grieve for our past life when we relocate for a new job. Parents may grieve when a child gets married, ending the years of life with the child at home. Any time we experience a major change in our normal routine can trigger a grief response.