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Grief and Loss

Losing someone or something you care about is painful. And grief always follows. It’s a normal process, with both physical and emotional signs. But even with major life changes, such as the loss of a spouse or parent, you can face the loss and move on.

Senior couple at breakfast table , woman looking sad, man with hand on her shoulder.

Losses We Grieve Over

Everyone feels a major loss at some point in life. These are just some of the types of loss you might be facing:

  • The death of a family member or friend

  • Health issues such as a permanent injury, chronic illness, or aging

  • A breakup, separation, or divorce

  • The loss of a job, a change in income, or other life changes.

How Loss Changes Us

Loss leaves a “hole” in your life where what you lost used to be. The loss can affect the way you see yourself. Your daily routine changes if you have lost a partner, child, or parent. Your self-image may change if you are no longer healthy. After a divorce, you may need to think about life on your own.

Grief Takes Many Forms

Grief isn’t just about sadness. It may make you experience a range of intense feelings. In fact, grief is sometimes described as having five stages. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You can shift from one stage to another in any order. So from moment to moment, you may:

  • Not want to believe the loss is real.

  • Feel annoyed or outright angry.

  • Think you could have done something to stop the loss.

  • Have sad moods and feel hopeless.

  • Accept that the loss is real and that you can cope.

© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.