Grief and loss

Grief is something that we all will experience at some point in our life. 

Grief does not discriminate, and sometimes takes us unawares.

Some common symptoms to loss may include:

  • Shock and numbness, overwhelming sadness, crying, tiredness or exhaustion. 
  • You might express anger towards the person you have lost or the reason for your loss.
  • You might feel guilty about feeling angry, guilty about something you might have said during a disagreement, or not said, or not been able to stop your loved one from dying. 
  • You might have not been present when your loved one died.
  • You might feel guilty for not feeling anything at all. You might feel guilty for not crying or being sad.

These feelings may not be there all the time and may come in waves unexpectedly.


How do I grieve my loved ones?

There is no right or wrong way to grieve a loss.  We all cope differently.  How you grieve will depend on your personality, your faith, life experiences and how significant the loss was to you.  There is no time limit placed on grief.

Is there a time limit on how long I should grieve?

Healing from grief will take place over time, but it is a process that should not be rushed.  There is no time limit or fixed end when one should stop feeling the pain. 

 There may be days when you feel better and then a sudden memory is triggered by something someone said, a song, a smell or a visit to a memorable place, or you might just be deep in your thoughts.

Take grief at your own pace, be patient and don’t rush, everyone is different. 

 For some people it may be weeks or months, for others it is years. Sometimes you might feel guilty for not grieving your loss for the period expected by others. Sometimes you might feel guilty for feeling a little happier than the day before.

People may say words or comment, some might be unexpected or even hurt.  Things like;

Be strong

The loss of a loved one is an emotional time of deep pain. It often brings reflection of how things could have been. The plan of retirement or grandchildren, of a future together. What you are feeling is normal. You do not need to pretend or keep in your emotions.  Being able to show your true feelings will help you to cope better.

You have not cried since the death?

This does not mean you do not feel the pain deep inside, that keeps you awake late at night.  Yes, crying is a normal response to sadness, but it is not the only way to express sadness.

Are you still grieving after all these years?

There is no specific time on how long one should grieve.  How long it takes will depend on each person. There is a healing process taking place.

It has not been that long, and he is moved on already?

This is often difficult for those left behind, and you might feel guilty.  Moving on does not mean you have forgotten the person you love.  The memories will always be there but may not be as frequent.  There will always be an empty space in your life, but you will have learned ways to cope.  You have come to a place of acceptance, and able to build a life around your loss.

By Angela Tulloch