Grief and Loss

September 07, 2020

The chance of experiencing loss in your lifetime is 100 percent. Everyone encounters significant loss at some point, and grief is the emotional reaction to that loss. Whether you face the death of a beloved family member or pet, see a marriage or job crumble, or watch your health or finances diminish, some level of grieving will occur.

Grief is both universal and unique in its nature. Two people experiencing the same loss might react   very   differently   depending   on   their relationship to whom or what is being grieved.

It’s not uncommon to experience sleeplessness, weight  loss  or  gain,  or  a  weakened  immune system. Chronic illnesses may become worse due to the stress of grieving.  Emotional responses may range from anger, sadness, guilt, fear, or anxiety to moments of relief, peace, or even happiness.


While  there  is  no  normal  or  expected  grief response, there are five common stages, observed by  psychiatrist  Elisabeth  Kübler-Ross,  through which many people walk. These stages include:


  1. Denial - Disbelieving the current reality as a way of coping with overwhelming facts.
  2. Anger - Initial emotional reaction to awareness of loss.
  3. Bargaining - Adjusting to loss through use of negotiation, compromise, or resolutions.
  4. Depression   -   Overwhelming   feelings   of helplessness and hopelessness.
  5. Acceptance - Coming to terms with the loss; sadness begins to give way to hope.


No two individuals will follow the same grief path or timetable. Grieving is an intensely personal experience, and no one should determine what is grief-worthy for another. There is no “normal” or standard protocol that fits everyone. Here are some other common misconceptions:


  • If you just ignore the loss, the pain will go away.
  • It’s important for you to stay strong at all times.
  • Tears are directly proportionate to the level of your loss.
  • After one year, you should be completely over all aspects of your loss. 



There are many useful ways to move from a place of grief to a life of healing and hope.

✓  Talking  about  the  loss  with  family  and friends can aid healing.

✓  Emotional  reactions  of  all  sorts  (anger, sadness, bitterness, envy) are normal.

✓  Give yourself permission to experience a wide range of emotions and not feel guilty.

✓  Take care of yourself with good nutrition, exercise and rest.

✓  Avoid relying on caffeine, alcohol or other drugs as a means of self-medicating.


Coping with  grief and  loss  takes  time  and involves learning to live with the loss without being consumed by it.  Consider reaching out to your health  care  provider and  engaging other counseling resources for guidance on next steps.

What steps will you take today to help yourself heal and recover?

Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call us at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.

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