What is Grief?

Grief is: the sorrow, hurting, anger, guilt, confusion and other feelings that arise after a loss

Grief is: experienced in three major ways 

  1. Psychologically — through your feelings, thoughts and attitudes 
  2. Socially  — through your behaviours with others
  3. Physically — through your health and bodily symptoms

Perhaphs you have noticed some of these in yourself, your spouse or your children:


Behavioural reactions

Physicaly Reaction



Deep Sighing






Rapid heartbeat



 Increaed activity


Unable to concentrate

Decreased activity



 Muscular Tension



 Sleep disturbances


Lack of Spontaneity

 Weight Changes


 Apathy regarding future

Appetite Change 

Loss of Peacefulness

Blameful of others

Increased sensory awareness


Seeking solitude

Grief is: a continuing development, involving many changes over time. It will come and go and appear different at times 

Grief is: a natural expectable reaction. In fact, the absence of it (when a less is experienced) in abnormal in most cases

Grief is: the reaction to all kinds of lesses, not just death

Grief is: based upon your own unique, individualistic, perception of the loss. It is not necessary for you to have  th eloss recognized or validated by others for you to experience grief 

Bereavement is: the state or condition caused by loss through death.

Mourning concerns the way in which you express our grief. Mourning is influenced by culture and may include attending funerals, wearing black or having a celebration in memory of your loved one.

The Grief of Coping with the Death of a Child:

  • It is not the "natural course" of life for parents to outlive their children;
  • The death of a child causes overwhelming emotional pain;
  • The number of years lived does not make a child's death any easier; 
  • The labour of grief demands more energy than you ever imagined; 
  • "Your grief will take longer than most people think" (Randon, T.A., 1988); and much longer than society allows;
  • Your grief will affect you psychologically, socially and physically; 
  • Your life will be changed forver. "It's not that you won't be happy again. It's simply that you won't be exactly the same as you were before the death" (Wolfelt, A., 1991); 
  • You will grief for past and future loss; 


Potential problems that may surface:

  • Marital tension: Bear in mind that no two people grieve in the same way, this is especially true for bereaved couples. Be sensitive to one another, but be aware that is hard to be a support to someone when you are doubled over with your own pain. If possible share your feelings, while allowing each other to grieve in their own way. 
  • Surviving siblings: Remember that your surviving siblings are suffering, just as you are suffering. They will need the reassurance that they too are loved and cherished, just as much their brother or sister that died.
  • Decision making: Avoid making serious decisions and changes (i.e., moving, clearing out your child's belongings) when newly bereaved. What now may feel like too much to bear, may become those cherished memories tomorrow.
  • Communicating: Many bereaved families suffer in silence. Because your family is bereaved does not mean that you have all become mind readers. Communicating your needs with each other can elminate some unncesscary hurt and pain.You already hurt enough.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Yes!  While you will never entirely get over the less of your child, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle or loved one, you can begin a healing journey and experience joy again.

Call Us.. We can help!





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Bereaved Families of Ontario
293 Wellington St. N
Suite 118
Hamilton, ON, L8L 8E7
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