Grief is the feeling that comes with the loss of a loved one.

What is grief?

Grief is the feeling that comes with the loss of a loved one. Grief, mourning, and bereavement are terms often used interchangeably. Grief is a normal part of life. For some, the grieving proceeds quickly and they are able to move forward with their lives. For others, it is more complicated and prolonged. There is no exact timeline for grief and not everyone experiences grief in the same way.

What are the symptoms of grief?

Grief presents in different ways for different people. For some, grief is associated with feelings of sadness, anxiety and guilt. For others, there can be anger, betrayal or indifference.

There can be a number of physical symptoms that come with grief including crying, sighing, stomach upset, weakness, poor sleep and fatigue.

People can have certain thoughts such as denial, disbelief, relief or acceptance. For some, certain reminders of the loved one (e.g. photos, songs, places) or specific times of the year (e.g. holidays or anniversaries) can bring back grief. In all, each person will proceed through the grieving process in their own way at their own pace.

How is grief treated?

There is no specific way to treat grief. In a way, grief is a normal part of life and an experience that will happen following the passing of a loved one. Support from family and friends can be an important part of the grieving process.

Self-care, adequate meals, exercise and sleep, avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs, and keeping up with favoured interests and activities can help. Allowing for time to process and heal following a loss is an important step in the grieving process.

If the symptoms of grief are severe, prolonged or debilitating, it may be important to seek professional help. Grief counselling can be an excellent resource to help in the period following a loss.

What should I do to get help?

If you or a friend/family member is suffering with severe, prolonged, or debilitating grief it is important to see your family doctor or speak with a mental health professional.

Resources

For more information and other resources that may be of help please see below:

  • B.C. Bereavement Helpline
    Please call the B.C. Bereavement Helpline at 604-738-9950 or 1-877-779-2223 if you are experiencing symptoms of grief. Volunteers are available to direct you to grief support in your community.
  • HealthLink BC: Grief and grieving
    Call 811 or visit healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including information about grief.
  • Kelty Mental Health: Grief and loss
    Resources to help with grief and loss for children and youth.
  • Pregnancy loss and grief
    The loss of a baby is devastating. Parents who have lost a baby may feel sad, angry or confused. It is not your fault. Also, you and your partner may grieve in different ways.