5 Things to Know About Processing Loss:

We experience grief...

"when an important or meaningful attachment bond is damaged or severed in some way" (Flesner, 2013).

Terms to Know:

  • GRIEF (personal response to the loss - emotional, physical, behavioral, cognitive, social & spiritual dimension).

  • MOURNING (outward & active expression of that grief).

  • BEREAVEMENT (period of time after the loss where grief and mourning occur.


1.) Acknowledge Your Grief

  • As much as it sucks, we need to tend to our grief by being with it, in all of it's pain & misery.

  • Avoiding is an option, but comes with severe consequences only delaying the inevitable.

2.) Grief is a Lifelong Journey

  • The pain of our loss never fully leaves us.

  • Grief comes in waves of accepting reality of the loss, experiencing pain of the loss, adjusting to a world without the deceased, and creating balance between remembering the deceased and living a full/meaningful life (Worden, 2009).

3.) Express Your Grief

  • It is very important to allow yourself to feel. You have to feel in order to heal.


  • Write a letter to your loved one

  • Paint a picture (of whatever comes to your mind)

  • Write a poem or song

  • Meditation/Mindfulness

  • Talk to a friend or family member

  • Talk to a counselor or therapist

  • Connect to a local bereavement support group

4.) Understand That We All Grieve Differently

  • Not everyone experiences grief with the same level of intensity.

  • We grieve differently based off our cultural & biological differences, past experiences (what we've been taught about death, dying and grief), & spiritual beliefs.

5.) Create Meaning in Your Life

  • Our healing period may bring new passions and even shift us into a new direction in life such as:

  • Volunteering

  • Starting a charity

  • Going back to school





Buglass, E. (2010). Grief and bereavement theories. Nursing Standard, 24(41), 44-47.

Flesner, J. M. (2013). A shift in the conceptual understanding of grief: Using meaning-orientated therapies with bereaved clients. Ideas & Research You Can Use: VISTAS, 25, 1-13.

(Based on Worden, J. W. (2009). Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner, Fourth Edition, Springer, N.Y.).

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