What is grief?

Grief could be considered the feelings, thoughts and actions we experience after the death of a significant attachment, and the re-organisation and adjustment of our world without the person in it.  Grief is not just emotional, it can be physical, cognitive, social, cultural, spiritual and/or behavioural.  Grief can also occur after non death losses that have a significant impact on someone.

Do we go through stages when grieving?

Research suggests that there are common phases that have been identified, however any 'stages' are not usually experienced in a linear process.  Some people may experience all identified phases and others may experience some or none.  Chapter one of Grief Demystified explains the theoretical underpinnings of stage models and explains more relevant modern grief theories.

What do you say to someone who is grieving?

Language is a powerful tool and, used without consideration, can cause emotional and biological damage.  People can be unsure about what to say, and platitudes are usually well intentioned but can be hurtful.  The term 'holding' is particularly relevant with the bereaved; offering non-judgemental support in an empathic way, allowing silence, allowing emotions, listening attentively and being genuinely present with them.  Chapter two in Grief Demystified explains what to avoid saying to a griever and offers suggested alternatives.  When in doubt there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know what to say".

Is the death of a child different?

The death of a child is different because many people have clear dreams and ideas of what their children, and life as parents, will be like.  The relationship, and attachment,  a parent has with their child may have started within their imagination many years prior to conception.  Additionally, this is the only relationship that is physically and internally created, all other relationships are external.

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