Who Experiences Grief?
Journey of Hearts
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
Everyone grieves.

We experience many losses and significant changes in the daily process of living, which result in the need to look at the loss, our reaction to it, process the feelings, incorporate the changes and finally let go.

Grieving is a necessary and important event that will recur throughout our lives, it is a byproduct of everyday living and interacting with the world.

Many times after the shock of a medical diagnosis, a loss, an acute or chronic grief phase, people find themselves overwhelmed and unable to deal with this change in their lives. Part of the mission of this website is to help people understand the grieving process, to realize that the emotions they may be experiencing are not unique or unusual, to help determine if the reaction is an acute depression, but ultimately to help get through the process.

Part of what needs to be remembered about grief and mourning, is that the same event can affect individuals differently. This is especially important within families, because different members may be in different stages of the grieving process, go through certain phases more quickly than others and stay stuck in certain phases for years e.g. Anger, or Depression. One needs to be mindful when dealing with others, that they will probably not be in the same stage as you are. Understanding the stages of grief and the grieving process can help deal with the hard feelings and the arguments that may arise from two individuals trying to communicate when in different stages, e.g. one in an anger phase and the other in denial, finding a common ground to communicate can be difficult.

Grief melts away,
Like snow in May.
As if there were no such cold thing.

George Herbert

Those who may "grieve" after experiencing a loss include:

Some important truths about the grieving process:

Grieving is a necessary and important process that will occur through out our lives we interact with people. We experience many losses, which need to be acknowledged, learned from, and incorporated in order to move on with living.

If old, past issues and losses are not dealt with, then when there is a new loss, in addition to grieving for the present loss, we will continue to grieve for past, unresolved losses.

This was very evident in the worldwide grief response to the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. I know in my own case, the death of Princess Diana, brought back memories of several patients and friends who had died at an early age, tragedies of lost youth.

To quote Elaine Child-Gowell, R.N., Ph.D, author of Good Grief Rituals: Tools for Healing:

I must Grieve. 
I must forgive myself and the person or event about 
which I have experienced a loss. 
I must take the time to deal daily with the feelings that arise as a result of the loss. 
I must do this until I am completely clear of the archaic feelings and unfinished business I have with the person of the event that troubles me. 
If I do not do my grieving about the old hurts and insults, then, when I am faced with a here and now grief experience, 
I will end up having to dredge up all that old energy along with the current experience. 
Elaine Childs-Gowell, R.N., Ph.D
Classic Stages of Grief from Dr. Kubler-Ross
Part of understanding the grief and loss response is understanding the classic stages of grief response.
In her now classic work, On Death and Dying, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified the five emotional states that people going through in the process of dying. These stages equally apply to anyone going through a grief process,  experiencing a loss or a significant life change.
First Stage: Denial
Second Stage: Bargaining
Third Stage: Anger
Fourth Stage: Depression
Fifth Stage: Acceptance
Tasks of Grief--William Worden

One of the more recent grief "specialists" offers these tasks which one must process as part of the grief response:

    1. Acceptance of the reality of the loss.
    2. Working through the pain of the grief.
    3. Adjusting to the environment in which the deceased is missing (or loss has occurred).
    4. Emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life. Finding an appropriate place for the dead in one's emotional life.

On Dealing with Grief

We invite you to explore the website, find the Condolence and Deepest Sympathy Page, the Emergency Pick-me-up Page, the variety of Resources available--words, poems, stories, songs (we are working on music), quotes that people have found helpful in dealing with their losses.

The hope of those creating and contributing to this website is to provide worthwhile resources to help others during the grieving process, integrate the loss and attain a long-term healing. Recovery occurs when you have healed enough to be able to share your experiences or coping techniques with others who are going through their own grief process. This continues the healing cycle.

This site includes some valuable resources and links to help manage the short-term crisis, determine if someone is depresses and if professional intervention may be helpful and to manage the reaction.
Last updated January 12, 1998
All material, unless otherwise specified, is copyrighted 1997 by Journey of Hearts A Healing Place in CyberSpace. We invite you to share the information on this site with others who may benefit, but ask that you share from the heart only and not for profit.