Chapter 1: An introduction to grief

Everyone grieves in their own way

The grief expert says
Fred talks about how we all do our grieving in our own way. (3:22)Video transcript

There are some days I wake up and find myself struggling to even believe he died. I pick up the phone to call him and then I remember. When that happens, the sadness starts all over 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. You may feel alone in your grief if others appear to have different responses to the loss.

What affects your grief

Many factors may impact your grief. Click on the arrows below for some examples.

It’s not just one loss

You may experience a variety of losses with one death. These are referred to as “secondary” losses. These losses are connected to your relationship and the role the person had in your life, and the one you played in theirs. Losses may also be related to hopes, dreams, and expectations about the future.