You can expect that:
Your grief may take longer than most people think it should.
Your grief will take more energy than you expected.
Your grief will involve continual changes.
Your grief will show itself in all aspects of your life – social, physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive.
Your grief reaction will depend on how you perceive the loss.
You will grieve for many things (both symbolic and tangible) and not just for the death itself.
You will grieve for your anticipated future – for the hopes, dreams and unfulfilledexpectations you held for and with that person.
Your loss might resurrect old issues, feelings and unresolved conflicts from the past. You may find yourself thinking of other losses.
You may feel angry, irritable, frustrated and have little tolerance for others.
You may feel very sad and experience weeping spells that seem to suddenly hit you.
You may feel guilt for things that you should / could / would have done and did not do.
You may become anxious about losing other people, your own well being and the well being of other loved ones.
You may experience waves or acute upsurges of grief that occur without warning.
You will likely experience poor concentration, forgetfulness, and have a hard time being present and focused on tasks at hand.
You may be preoccupied with thoughts of your deceased loved one.
You may feel flat and uninterested in things that once gave you joy.
You may find yourself searching for meaning and trying to understand what hashappened and why.
You will find that certain dates, events, seasons, places and other reminders will trigger upsurges in your grief.
Other people are well meaning but they either may not know what to say or do, or say or do things that are not very helpful. Identify who is a good listener / helper and turn to them when you need support.
References: Hospice Victoria Handout, adapted from “Grieving: How to go on Living When Someone you Love Dies” by T. Rando.
Printable and downloadable resources
- After the death of a loved one-what do I do?
- Grief and loss
- Adults grieving the death of a parent
- Coping with the death of your same sex partner
- Grieving the death of someone close
- Living through the death of your partner or spouse
- Adolescent Grief pamphlet
- The grieving family
- Ten things to know about grief
- Understanding grief
- When someone you care about is grieving
- A guide to understanding your emotions when you are grieving
- Coping with Christmas and other special dates
- North Shore Grief Recovery Society – North Shore Grief Recovery has served the North Shore since 1990 – rebuilding the lives of the bereaved.
- My grief – Helps you understand and work through your grief
- Living Through Loss Counselling Society of B.C.-LTLC (founded in 1972) is a not-for-profit organization that provides professional grief counselling to adults and children who have experienced any type of loss.We offer a confidential and supportive environment in which to discuss your concerns.
- British Columbia Hospice/Palliative Care Association (BCHPCA) Education and support for palliative professionals and volunteers in BC
- BC Bereavement Helpline – helping the people of BC cope with grief. tel:604-738-9950 or toll free 1-877-779-2223
- Canadian Virtual Hospice – Information on Palliative and end of life care, loss and grief.
- Camp Kerry Society– A registered nonprofit organization specializing in bereavement care for families.