FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is grief and how does it affect us? Grief is the normal and natural response to loss. Although death and divorce are the two major life experiences that cause grief, they are not the only ones. Did you know that there are over 40 life experiences that may cause grief? Grief affects us in different ways: emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What is unresolved grief? Unresolved grief is about the things we wish we would have said or done differently, better or more. It may also be about the unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations we had for the relationship or experience.
What are the stages of grief? Did you know that the 5 Stages of Grief was never meant to be applied to all grieving experiences? Dr. Kubler Ross compiled conversations with people who were diagnosed with a terminal illness, and wanted to gain a better understanding of how to care for people who were dying. Somehow the stages - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - have been misapplied to different grieving experiences, which can leave us frustrated, angry, confused, and feeling alone. The truth is, grief is not linear; grief is unique to each individual and we all feel grief at 100%. https://www.ekrfoundation.org/5-stages-of-grief/5-stages-grief/
How long does grief last? Grief is a unique and individual experience, and there is no set timeline for how long it lasts. Although we often hear, “Time heals all wounds”--and most of us know that it’s not true–we just don’t know what to do next. The most effective way to handle grief is to process the loss through acknowledging, feeling, and creating small action steps towards healing. You can find healing and hope now…and for your future.
What are some common physical and emotional symptoms of grief? Grief manifests in many different ways - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. More accidents happen due to shortened focus, there is sadness, anger, fatigue, headaches, and stomachaches are only the beginning of the list. For some people, they may isolate, stay busy, or avoid feeling the loss, believing that they will get through it by just “doing.” At some point, though, grief will come through, which deserves to be acknowledged.
How can I cope with loss? Having a loss of any kind can be one of the worst experiences of your life - death of a loved one, a pet, a divorce, break-up, job separation, or any other kind of sudden change in life. One of the main things to understand is that you are not alone! By seeking the right support, you will be able to share, gain new insights, understandings and tools to process and navigate through the loss.
Is it normal to feel angry when grieving? Anger is a common emotion that can arise during the grieving process…and there is nothing wrong or bad about it. When we grieve, we feel a lot of different, sometimes conflicting, emotions about the loss.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, however there are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage it. Are you lashing out at others, isolating, stuffing it down? Or finding ways to release, like exercise, talking to others, or writing it down? Processing grief in a healthy way is a key factor in moving forward after loss: expressing emotions, seeking support, and finding meaningful ways to process.
How do I support someone who is grieving? When someone we care about is grieving, it can be difficult to know how to support them. By learning what to say and not to say, you will be able to be there for them in a different way. There are a couple of powerful things you can say to someone who is experiencing loss, from our heart to theirs:
“I really don't know what you're going through and I’m here for you.”
“I really don’t know what to say, and I’m here for you, whatever you need.”
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