From ArticleWorld

Grief is what is felt when something or someone is lost to us. The death of a loved one produces the most intense feelings of grief but the loss of a job, a home or a pet can also result in a grieving process. The feeling is expressed emotionally but also physically, behaviourally, cognitively and socially. The way one responds to grief can vary depending on personality, culture, support systems and religious beliefs.


There are stages or processes to the feeling of grief which is such a powerful emotion, it may take years to reach the stage where life goes on; for some, indeed, it is never reached. Most characteristic of the stages are:

  • Shock and numbness – Usually the first reaction to news of the death of a loved one is denial and withdrawal, which are a self defense mechanism and a way of getting through the initial shock.
  • Yearning and searching – This is also known as pining, where one acts out the wish to see their loved one again by ‘seeing’ their face in a crowd, or ‘hearing’ the door slam at the time they usually came home.
  • Disorganization and despair – A process of mourning and pain for which there is no relief but must be borne and could take years.
  • Reorganization – Finding meaning again without the presence of the deceased, a redefining of life and their place in it.

Types of grief

Grief manifests itself in different ways depending on the age of the person affected. In a toddler, for example, though the reaction is not obvious, the consequences become so later in life because it is at this age that trust and dependency are formed. An older child may have difficulty in accepting that the absence is permanent as they still don’t understand what death really means. Adolescents may become either an over-achiever or may resort to delinquency as a way of coping with the loss.

The death of a child is a situation one may never accept; only learn to deal with it. It is such a devastating event that some families cannot cope and break up or it may result in suicide. The death of a spouse is also traumatic.

Other losses such as divorce, loss of a pet or a job, or even the children leaving home can also lead to grief but generally not so intense.