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What is Grief & Loss?


The Center for Disease Control describes Grief as being normal response to loss during or after a disaster or other traumatic event. Grief can happen in response to loss of life, as well as to drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability.

Common grief reactions include shock, disbelief, or denial, anxiety, distress, anger, periods of sadness and/or a loss of sleep and appetite.

The Stages of Grief & Loss

  • Denial which can look like avoidance, procrastination, forgetting, easily distracted, mindless behaviors, keeping busy all the time, thinking/saying “I’m fine or it’s fine”.

    Denial can feel like shock, numbness, confusion, shutting down.

  • Anger which can look like sarcasm, irritability, being aggressive or passive aggressive, getting into arguments or physical fights, increased alcohol and or drug use.

    Anger can feel like frustration, impatience, resentment, embarrassment, rage, feeling out of control.

  • Bargaining which can look like ruminating on the future and past, over-thinking and worrying, comparing self to others, predicting the future and assuming the worst, perfectionism, thinking/saying “I should have.. or If only..”, judgment toward self/others.

    Bargaining  can feel like guilt, shame, blame, fear, anxiety, insecurity.

  • Depression can look like sleep and appetite changes, reduced energy, reduced social interest, reduced motivation, crying, increased alcohol and or drug use.

    Depression can feel like sadness, despair, helplessness, hopelessness, disappointment, overwhelmed. 

  • Acceptance can look like mindful behaviors, engaging with reality as it is, being present in the moment, able to be vulnerable and tolerate emotions again, adapting the new normal.

    Acceptance can feel like courage, validation, self- compassion, pride, wisdom.

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