Understanding Grief: The Natural and Inevitable Response to Loss

Grief is intensely personal and unique, yet it’s something we all must go through at some point in our lives. It’s also an emotional state that’s often misunderstood.  

Most people have heard about the five stages of grief, and some look to them as a rule or guide. In fact, the stages of grief were related to people facing their own mortality from a terminal illness. The loss of a loved one is a different kind of pain. So although you may go through some or all of the stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — this is by no means the path everyone takes. And if you feel like you’re stuck in one of the stages, you’re not alone.   

  • What is grief? Grief is an internal feeling of loss, and a process that each person experiences differently. Grief over the loss of a loved one is a reflection of the connection that has been lost, and it can be heartbreaking.  
  • Is there a difference between grief and mourning? Just as grief is the internal part of loss, mourning is the external part. While grief is primarily feelings, mourning has more to do with the things we do to get through those feelings.  
  • How can grief be avoided? It can’t. You have to work through grief to heal from your loss.  
  • How long does grief last? Grief is a healing process that everyone who has lost a loved one must go through. It doesn’t have a clear beginning or end. In fact, the pain can come and go for the rest of your life. It’s never really possible to get over the loss of someone important, but grieving helps us take the time to remember and honor the loss so we can learn to live with it.  

If you’re experiencing grief, it’s important to be gentle with yourself as you work through the process. Don’t try to block the feelings out or rush past them. Take time to feel, to reflect on the loved one you have lost, and find a way to honor that person’s memory.   

If you’re struggling with grief, Evergreen wants to help. Our online grief support means we’re always there for you, no matter what time of day. Online, you’ll find counseling services, group grief support and interactive videos. We also provide aftercare for those who have suffered a loss, and can help you find a support group or counselor. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn how we can help.