Grief is our response to loss. It is the price we pay for love and is a normal, natural and inevitable consequence of life. Bereavement is a particular form of loss, experienced following the death of a loved one.
The experience of grief is varied and different people experience it in different ways. Grief may impact upon all aspects of our life and can affect our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, beliefs and our relationships with others. Although many people respond to loss with great resiliency some people can experience feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, disbelief, panic, relief, fear and numbness. It can also affect our thinking, so that we find it difficult to concentrate, may think we will never get through this, or that we are going crazy. Grief can also impact upon our wellbeing with grieving people experiencing sleep difficulties or ill health.
When people grieve they are coming to terms with what has changed, both in terms of how they see themselves and the world. Following loss, the grieving person has to relearn the world and themselves.
It is important to remember that grief is a process and not an event. It is a journey, not a destination. Profound grief is not something that we just ‘get over’, but rather is something that we gradually learn to live with. Eventually we learn to live with the loss and life finds meaning again, although the loss will always be a part of us. Most people will grieve in subtle ways for the rest of their lives.
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