Grief is the natural occurring response when you experience a loss. It is most commonly associated with loss as a result of death. But grief is not limited to this, and can occur as a result of other losses too, including the loss of a job, a divorce or end to a relationship, loss of good health, and loss of a home. One event may include several different kinds of losses to process as well. For example, a divorce may include the loss of a spouse, identity and home, integrating diverse emotions associated with each of these experiences.
There is no standard or set amount of time for the grieving process to take. It may take some a few months, while others may take years to grieve. It is important to allow yourself the time and patience to grieve at whatever pace you need, without forcing yourself to hurry up the process. During this time, it’s important to remember to take care of your physical needs as well, including attending to your need for sleep, food and exercise to help reduce additional stressors.
There can be a vast number of emotions that arise when experiencing grief.
One common emotion right after a loss is a feeling of shock or disbelief. It can feel unbelievable, accompanied by denial of the loss truly happening. Guilt may come up as you question the things you did or didn’t do, or feel responsible in not preventing the loss, even if it was out of your control. There may also be feelings of fear, as this loss may introduce big changes. There may be fears of the unknown, or fearful of what is to come alone.
During periods of grief, it is important to surround yourself with loved ones, rather than retreat into isolation. Sharing the loss can help ease the grieving experience and provide a sense of support. However, you do not necessarily need to talk about the loss at every interaction, but the mere presence of face-to-face interaction can provide beneficial comfort. Overall, this period of grieving will take time, and it’s important to allow yourself the space and patience to heal and process things at your own pace.