Chapter 1: An introduction to grief

Everyone grieves in their own way

The grief expert says
Fred Nelson, social worker, talks about how we all grieve in our own way. (3:22)
Some days I find myself struggling to even believe what happened. And then when I think about it, it feels real and the emotions come back again.Right after she died, I remember being at a red light and thinking, “How is it that the streetlights are working and the restaurants are open? Everything just needs to stop for a while.”

Not everyone expresses their grief in the same way. Even those experiencing the same loss may grieve differently. They might be overcome by sorrow or anger; talk openly or close down; get “busy”; or avoid people altogether. A person who is grieving may feel alone in their grief if others appear to have different responses to the loss.

What affects your grief

Many factors may impact how a person experiences grief, whether the loss is related to a death or not. Click on the arrows below for some examples.

It’s not just one loss

A person may experience a variety of losses after a death or another loss. These are referred to as “secondary” losses. These losses may be connected to relationship and roles or they may also be related to lost hopes, lost dreams, and changed expectations about the future.