Grief Recovery

Most human beings have experienced grief at some point in their lives. There are many forms of loss – divorce, incarceration, death, illness, even a geographic move. Grief manifests itself differently for different people but, by and large, the depth and duration of the grieving process depends on the severity of the loss. Moreover, grief is cumulative, so when you experience the pain of a loss, the grief from past losses is very likely to come back and further overwhelm you. Thankfully, the human spirit is very resilient, and unless what is known as complicated grieving is present – experiencing several losses in a short period of time, not giving oneself time to grieve and therefore suffering from unresolved grief – for most of us facing a loss, what feels like an unsurmountable emotional abyss will gradually heal over an unspecified amount of time. Remember that it is possible to move forward after death and recover from the pain of grief.

 

What is Grief? 

Grief is a reaction to a major loss or change in our lives. How we experience and express grief is different and unique for every human being. Professional studies indicate that grief manifests itself in different stages, although the order in which we experience each stage may vary, and the length of time we spend in each stage varies too, depending on the magnitude and the circumstances of our loss. For example, the death of an elderly and infirm family member may not impact us in the same way as the sudden accidental death of a young, healthy loved one.

  • Grief Recovery Guide
    Typical Signs of Grief Recovery
    List of 20 common sign that you are recovering from the grief of losing a loved one.
  • View the Guide

If the passing occurs in another city or country, it may take us longer to assimilate the loss and may take us longer to accept the reality of it. If we are prone to depression or anxiety, grief may become more complicated and persist longer. If the death we are facing is sudden or violent, such as a death by homicide or suicide, the shock may add another dimension to the grief. If it’s an ‘unnatural’ event – such as the death of a child from illness or accident – the grief is compounded.

However, the following five steps appear to be universal to most humans experiencing grief: 

  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Recent Grief Recovery Articles

Want more information on how to overcome grief? Read all of our grief recovery articles.

Learn more about the stages of grief and loss and how to recover from grief.

Grief Recovery Topics

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. Everyone experiences loss and grief at some point in their life. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief and bereavement is likely to be. As you deal with your loss, remember that there is no order or timetable for grief. Everyone grieves differently, but there are healthy ways to cope and heal from the pain. The following are the most common forms of loss and topics related to grief. Select a topic below to learn more about grief recovery.

Death of a Child

Articles on how to cope with the loss of an unborn baby, infant or child.

Death of a Sibling

Articles on how to cope with the loss of a brother or sister.

Depression and Anxiety

Articles on how grief can transform into clinical depression and anxiety.

Death of a Parent

Articles on how to cope with the loss of a parent or grandparent.

Death of a Spouse

Articles on how to cope with the loss of your husband or wife.

Faith and Spirituality

Articles on how faith and spirituality can assist with grief recovery.

Death of a Pet

Articles on how to cope with the loss of your dog, cat, fish, bird, or other pet.

Other Losses

Articles on the death of a friend, coworker, and losses not covered in the other topics.

Holidays and Special Days

Articles on grief associated with holidays, birthdays and other special days.

The Stages of Grieving

When you are grieving a loss, always remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve. We are all different and unique in the way we absorb feelings associated with loss and how we manifest them – and most definitely, we do not need to further castigate our broken spirits with the pressure of real or perceived expectations, either from ourselves or from others! It is possible to find happiness through the grieving process. Each person’s sadness and how they recreate their lives after a profound loss is different and no one should be rushed into ‘getting over it’ – this will only compound the grief, and will probably lengthen the process by adding anxiety and stress to the grief.

There are several things you can do to help yourself heal from grief

Rituals – create a ritual that honors the person you are grieving: write a poem, create a memorial, or take flowers to a grave.

Journalingwrite your thoughts and feelings on paper. The brain processes emotions differently when you write them down.

Emotional support – spend time with caring friends and relatives. Realizing that you are not alone and others care for you is important. Make sure to pick friends and relatives that are comfortable with your grief and will not try to interfere with your process.

Get involved – try new activities, cultivate hidden talents, meet new people, or join a support group. These things will enrich your life and will slowly help you heal.

Nourish your spiritual side – reconnect with the universe, take nature walks, attend church services, visit a 12-step group, join a grief support group, listen to inspirational speakers, or read spiritual books. Spirituality connects us to the ‘bigger picture’ and affirms that we are not alone.

 

Grief Recovery

As you move through the grieving process, remember that grief is unpredictable and does not follow a specific order. You may find yourself feeling irritable and restless, waver at times between apathy and excessive activity, are quieter or louder than your usual self, need to feel close to others or want to keep yourself isolated and distant. Grief comes in waves – you may experience a few days of numbness and an absence of tears, and just as you think you are progressing in your healing, all of a sudden the intense grief comes back like a tidal wave. This is completely normal and is just part of grieving.

The healing process takes its own time. It’s important to honor your feelings and allow yourself to feel them. Repressing your feelings by plunging into frenzied activity or other avoidance techniques does not make the feelings disappear – on the contrary, they will only fester inside and manifest themselves at a later point in your life.

As you reach the final stages of the grieving process – however long that takes – you will be entering the grief recovery process. You will start noticing little changes in your emotional state:

Ability to focus – you will be less distracted and more able to focus on the tasks at hand

Positive thoughts – you will have more extended periods of time without obsessing about the loss or the loved one

Increased energy – you will find yourself more able to undertake more activities and not feel exhausted all the time

Aliveness – little by little, you will once again begin to relish the joys of everyday occurrences – birds chirping, a blooming tree, a rainbow in the sky.

Acceptance – you will start to let go of your feelings of guilt and begin to accept that life goes on and that there is hope. Significant holidays and anniversaries will bring about sad memories but each year will become more manageable.

Moving on – you will become interested in cultivating new relationships, dating, the possibility of remarrying

For most of us, grief is inevitable. The upside of grief is that recovery from it makes us emotionally stronger, more empathetic and more compassionate human beings.

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