What is grief?
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind.
Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern of behavior.
Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find when you need
them again, they are no longer there.
Typical responses associated with Grief
• Reduced concentration
• A sense of numbness
• Disrupted sleeping patterns
• Changed eating habits
• Roller coaster of emotional energy
There are over 43 losses that are considered Grief. Some examples include:
• Pet loss
• Financial change (increase or decrease in wealth)
• Loss of health
• Legal Problems
• Empty Nest
• End of Addiction
• Starting School
Here are some intangible examples of Grief.
• Loss of Trust
• Loss of Safety
• Loss of Control
• Loss of Faith
• Loss of Fertility
Grief is individual and unique. There are no stages. Grief cannot be neatly categorized. Elizabeth Kubler
Ross's work was on Death and Dying, not Grief. She is very specific about this distinction in her books
and yet the media and universities have attached her work to Grief. This common misinformation has
confused and hurt many grievers throughout the years.
There are no absolutes in Grief. There are no reactions so universal that all, or even most, people will
Grief is normal and natural. It is not a pathological condition or a personality disorder.
Grief is often mislabeled as ADHD, Depression, PTSD, and many other pathological conditions.
Sadly, if you misdiagnose, you will mistreat. These mislabeled Grievers are then incorrectly put on
various medications, which will get in the way of recovering from loss.
If you are unwilling to think about or talk about someone who has died, or express feelings about any
If fond memories turn painful, you may be experiencing unresolved Grief.
If you want to talk only about the positive aspects of the relationship, you may be incomplete.
Wanting to talk about only the negative aspects of the relationship, might be unresolved Grief.
Unresolved Grief may be at the root of any fear associated with thoughts or feelings about a
James, John W. and Friedman, Russell P. The Grief Recovery Handbook. 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition. New York: Harper-
Kaprio, Jaako, MD; Koskenvuo, Markku, MD; and Rita, Helo, MPolSc. "Mortality after Bereavement: A Prospective Study of
95,647 Widowed Persons." American Journal of Public Health 77.3 (1987): 283-287.
Wakefield, Jerome C., PhD, DSW; Schmitz, Mark F., PhD; First, Michael B. MD; Horwitz, Allan V., PhD. "Extending the
Bereavement Exclusion for Major Depression to Other Losses: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey." Arch Gen Psychiatry 64.4 (2007):433-440