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Dealing With Death: What Is Grief?
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grief: noun 1: intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one (especially by death)
2: something that causes great

The common definition of "grief" sounds

Topics on
Dealing With Death:
So Many Questions
Accepting The Facts
What Is Grief?
Beyond The Sadness
Let It Go, Let It Out
Get Creative
When Someone Is Sick
Funerals And Memorials
Looking Towards
    The Future
When A Friend
    Is Grieving
Pet Loss
What About ME?
From the Mentors
True Tales
Marissa's Story
Daniel's Story
Laura's Story
pretty simple, doesn't it? But really, grief is a little more complicated than that. When somebody close to us dies, we spend weeks, months, and even years dealing with feelings, thoughts, physical reactions, and behaviors. People call this the "grieving process."

Everybody is unique, so everybody grieves a little differently and for different amounts of time. But parts of the grieving process are common to most of us:


  • "I can't stop crying since my mom died."
  • "I haven't been happy at all in the six months since we lost my brother."

It's a simple, painful fact: losing someone is a sad thing. Sadness is a big part of grief. When we lose a loved one, we may feel like crying a lot of the time, and we may feel so overwhelmed with sadness that we become depressed.

   Check out the IML guide to Depression for more about this serious topic.
Disbelief, shock, or numbness
  • "None of this seems real."
  • "Since my Grandfather died, it feels like I've been in a fog."

Right after someone dies, it's normal for people to feel like they have no emotions at all, like they're numb or are "sleepwalking" through their days. The emotional pain caused by losing somebody can be overpowering, so people "shut down" their feelings without even knowing they're doing it.

In addition to these emotions, grief can also lead to:

  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of weakness
  • Nightmares and trouble sleeping
  • Losing one's appetite
  • Losing interest in friends and normal activities
  • Problems in school and poor grades
All of these are part of what it means to grieve. We look at some more complicated emotions in the next section, Beyond The Sadness.


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When you think of the word "grief," what comes to mind?
Lots of sadness.
Crying and
Feeling numb
        and shocked.

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