Common Signs of Grief

Although everyone experiences and expresses their grief differently there are some common reactions. It can show itself in all spheres of your life: psychological (emotional), social, physical and spiritual. Grief can also be called ‘bereavement’.

You may experience some or all of the following:

  • Your grief may be painful and intense.
  • Your grief may take longer than most people think it should.
  • Your grief may take more energy than you can imagine.
  • Your grief may show itself in all spheres of your life:  psychological, social, physical and spiritual.
  • Your grief will depend upon how you perceive the loss.
  • You may grieve for many things (both symbolic and tangible), not just the death itself.
  • You may grieve for what you have lost already as well as for the future.
  • Your grief may entail mourning for the hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations you held for and with that person.
  • Your grief may involve a wide variety of feelings and reactions:  some expected, some not.
  • Your loss may resurrect old issues, feelings and unresolved conflicts from the past.
  • You may have some identity confusion, due to the intensity and unfamiliarity of the grieving experience and uncertainty about your new role in the world.
  • You may have a combination of anger and depression:  irritability, frustration, annoyance, intolerance.
  • You may feel guilt in some form.
  • You may have a lack of self-concern and self-esteem.
  • You may experience spasms or acute upsurges of grief that occur without warning.
  • Your grief may involve continual changes.
  • You may have trouble thinking and making decisions:  poor memory, organization and concentration are common experiences.
  • You may feel like you are going crazy.
  • You may be obsessed with the death or preoccupied with thoughts of the dead person.
  • You may search for meaning in/for your life and question your beliefs.
  • You may find yourself socially acting in different ways.
  • Society may have unrealistic expectations about your mourning and may respond inappropriately.
  • You may have a number of physical reactions:  e.g. stomach upsets, headaches, non-specific aches and pains, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, etc.
  • Certain dates, anniversaries, birthdays, events, seasons and stimuli may bring upsurges in your grief.
  • You may try to escape from your grief by "running away" or making dramatic changes in your life.

White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society provides support to people with a serious illness, their family and friends, from diagnosis through grief. We offer:

For more information, please call 604-531-7484 or email us