What is Grief and Coping with Loss
Coping with loss is perhaps the most painful event we will ever
experience. It's normal to feel caught up in a whirlwind of strong
emotions. Sadness one day, anger the next. It can feel
overwhelming, but it is part of the normal grieving process.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Your reaction to grief
is truly a personal experience. Try to allow yourself to feel the
emotions that come up for you. If you need to cry, then cry. If you
are angry, then be angry. Experiencing these emotions will help you
work through the sense of loss and will ultimately help you
One of the best things you can do is express how you're feeling.
It helps to talk to someone who has experienced what you are going
through. (Of course, no two deaths are the same.) Open to Hope Foundation can help
you connect with people who have experienced similar types of loss
and grieving. Or you might consider joining a support group
for the understanding and help you need.
What is Grief?
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross's ground-breaking 1969 book, On Death and
Dying, introduced five stages
people experience while coping and dealing with grief and tragedy.
Her work was originally focused on people diagnosed with terminal
illness and the loss they feel coming to terms with their own
While some academics have developed their own variation of the
grief stages, the Kübler-Ross model is still the most widely
recognized. The stages are:
- Denial: The person refuses to accept facts,
information, reality relating to the situation. This is a natural
- Anger: The person feels angry with himself or
herself, those nearby or the person who died.
- Bargaining: Negotiating with whatever God the
person believes in.
- Depression: Sadness, regret, fear and
beginning of acceptance of the reality.
- Acceptance: General emotional detachment and
objectivity of the reality of the situation.
Kübler-Ross's stages are not linear - one can experience them in
any order or perhaps go through two or three stages at one
Coping With Loss
For more on coping with your grief, see Finding
Support . If you are a friend looking for ways to help someone
who is grieving, see How to Be Supportive
There are some excellent books on grief that might also help. See Books on Grief
Grief And Holidays
For more on coping with your grief
during holidays and special events, click
Grief at Work A collection
of grief resources for the workplace from the American Hospice
Grieving Children A
collection of articles and stories for (and about) grieving
children of all ages from the American Hospice