Grief is normal

Grieving is the process of adjusting to your loss and learning to live with the changes it brings to your life. Grief is often accompanied by strong and painful feelings that change frequently. Talking about Grief and Loss aims to help you to understand some of these feelings. Not everything in this information will apply to you. You might like to re-read the information when some more time has passed.

The most important thing to remember is that grieving is a normal response to loss.

People grieve differently

How people experience grief depends on a number of things. Among them are:

  • your age and gender
  • your personality
  • the circumstances of the death
  • the support you have from other people
  • the relationship you had with the person who died
  • the degree to which your life will change as a result of the death
  • the losses you've had in the past
  • your cultural background

Everyone responds to loss, and shows their grief in different ways. Even members of the same family can grieve in different ways and it is important to remember that grief is individual to each of us.

There may be different ways in which women and men grieve.

Men may prefer 'doing things', getting back into work, going for a walk or getting busy doing jobs like mowing the lawns. Women tend to talk about the person and cry, and may be open about how they feel. Both men and women are feeling the loss but doing it differently.

Many of us use a mixture of these two styles of grieving. It can be difficult for us to understand each other's ways of grieving and this can lead to tension in relationships. By allowing and respecting differences in how a person grieves you are less likely to misunderstand each other. Ask the other person 'What would be most helpful for you?'

Remember there's no 'right' or 'wrong' way to grieve. Sometimes people find that a death brings back memories of other losses from the past. This can add to your loss and increase your sense of mourning (deep sadness).

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