Grief & loss

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Grief & Loss: A Perspective View of a Natural Process

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Page 1: Grief & loss

Grief & Loss:

A Perspective View of a

Natural Process

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What is Grief & Loss

Myths and Facts About Grief & Loss

Global Grieving & Loss

Theories of The Grieving Process

Types of Losses

Signs & Symptoms

Child Grieving

Help For Grieving Children

Adult Grieving

Help For Grieving Adults

Elderly Grieving

Help For Grieving Elderly

Other Interventions & Treatments


Workplace Grief

Death At School

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What is Grief?

Emotions may range from shock, anger,guilt,or depression.

What is Loss?

Grief is a natural response to a loss.

Grief is various emotions and reactions that a person’s feels when experience loss in their lives.

Loss of health

Loss of a loved one/ a pet

Loss of safety , after a traumatic event Loss of relationship/friendship

Loss of dreams to succeed

Loss of a job

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Myth: The pain will go away if you ignore it.

Fact: Trying to ignore the emotions, or denying the natural feelings of grief will only make it worse later on .

Myth: It is important to ‘ be strong’ in the event of a loss.Fact: Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “put on a brave face” for your family and friends , letting them see your true feelings will help them as well as you.

Myth: If a person doesn’t cry, it means they are not sorry about the loss.

Fact : There is different ways of grieving for individuals. Just because they

don’t cry, doesn't mean they do not feel the sorrow of the loss.

Myth: Grief should last about a year.Fact: There is no set timetable for an individual to grieve

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oss Even in grief and loss, every ethic race has its own customs, rituals, and traditions

that are different from one another. The following are some examples of this .

African Americans: The process of grief includes singing ,poetry readings, and a eulogy spoken. The deceased is viewed in church before the burial in the cemetery. Prayers, black clothing as well as decreased social activities.

Muslim Americans: They do not permit cremation, and follow steps of the burial procedure: with the washing of the body( by a Muslim of the same gender),dressing and positioning of the body for viewing.

Chinese American: They have strict traditions for announcing death, preparing the body, arranging the funeral and burial, as well as mourning after the burial. Burning incense, reading scripture, and meditating before a shrine. For 1 year after the death, the family may place bowls of food at the table for the deceased.

Orthodox Jewish Americans: It is custom for a relative to stay with the dying person so that the soul does not leave the body while the person is alone. To leave the body alone after death is disrespectful. The eyes should be closed, and the body remains covered with a sheet until family. A rabbi, or a Jewish undertaker can begin rites. Organ donation is permitted, autopsy is not. Burial must be within 24 hours unless delayed by a Sabbath.

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Theories of The Grieving Process

There are numerous theories on how an individual goes through each stage of the grieving process. We will take a look at some of the different views of the stages.

Elisabeth Kubler -Ross’s Model of the five stages of the grieving process is as follows:

1.) Denial - is shock and disbelief regarding the loss

2.) Anger – may be expressed toward God, relatives, friends or health care providers.

3.) Bargaining – occurs when the person ask God or fate for more time to delay the inevitable loss.

4.) Depression – results when awareness of the loss becomes acute.

5.) Acceptance – is when the person shows evidence of coming to terms with the loss

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John Harvey has different thoughts to the stages of grieving. There are as follows:

1.) Shock, outcry and denial

2.) Intrusion of thoughts, distractions, and obsessive review of the loss.

3.) Confiding in others as a way to emote and to cognitively restructure an account of the loss

Rodebaugh and colleagues also summarized the stages of grieving. They state that those stages are :

1.) Reeling - the person feels shock , disbelief or denial2.) Feeling - The person experiences anguish, guilt, profound sadness, sleep troubles, appetite changes, fatigue and general physical discomfort

3.) Dealing - The person begins to adapt to the loss by engaging in support groups, grief therapy, reading. And spiritual guidance.

4.) Healing – The person integrates the loss as a part of their lives. Healing does not imply , however, that the person has forgotten or accepted the loss.



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sWhenever a tragic occurrence unfolds, a person can experience various emotional outcomes due to grief . There can be a range of psychological effects that may be very harmful if not attended to by a health/mental health professional.

These signs and symptoms are as follows:

Physical Effect – overtiredness, change in appetite , weight gain or weight loss, loss of strength, headaches, shortness of breath, aching of the arms, restlessness, and vision trouble.

Emotional and /or Psychological Effect-Denial anger, resentment, bitterness, confusion with time, feelings of hopelessness, fear, sadness, irritability , and mood swings.

Spiritual Effects – Despair, shattered faith, anger at God/institutions, spiritual confusion, and searching for meaning /purpose.

Social Effects – Withdrawal from social activities /events, isolation, reassessment of friends/ activites, and energy depletion.

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Although grief is associated with adults , children experiences grief as well. Children may show grief emotions in different ways then adults ,but the process stays the same.The following are some examples of the various age groups and the feeling that grief bestows upon children.

Children under 2 years old :

When an individual, who is the main caregiver for a baby, is gone , the baby may react to the changes that are in its surroundings long before thy are able to talk.

A stuble understanding of death is shown when a toddler sees a dead frog or bird. The depth of death is not fully realized; such as the dead frog or bird won’t get up ever again or that it cannot feel anything.

Children 2-5 years :

When a death occurs, be straightforward with the child. Telling the child that the person is ‘gone to sleep’ or ‘gone away’ may cause misunderstanding as well as confusion later on .

Children’s limited understanding of death may cause a child to have difficulty expressing emotions.

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Children of Primary School Age

Children may view death as a ‘bad person', 'who will catch you, if you are not


Children may be fascinated with the surroundings that follow a death:

examples of this may be a large group of individuals in the room or the services

of mourning the individual.Adolescents:

While going through the struggles of growing up and trying to show your independence to everybody , adolescents may find it difficult to ask support in the time of grief.

Adolescents need to know that you are there for them if they need to talk or express emotions. Also, they need to know that you still care about them , even though you are experiencing grief.

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It is difficult for many grieving people to ask for help. They might feel guilty

about receiving so much attention, fear being a burden, or be too depressed

to reach out.

Adult grieving is a private experience. It takes place in the head and mind of an individual. It is like fingerprints- everyone is unique in the ways that grief is expressed and experienced.

Both men and women express their grief in different ways and sometimes it is

hard to show a way of supporting each other in a time of loss.

Adults will experience a wide range of emotions and feelings , which may vary from day to day.

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ltsNobody has to be alone in the outcome of a loss. There are many treatments and

interventions available to help individuals cope with loss . Examples of this is as

follows :

Get Support

Face your feelings

Express yourself through creativity

Look after your physical health

Plan ahead for

grief ‘triggers ‘

Turn to family members

and friends

Draw comfort from

your faith.

Join a support group

Talk to a therapist or grief counselor.Don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you how you should feel

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Older adults are more likely to become physically ill after experiencing a major loss. They may already have long-term physical illnesses or other conditions that interfere with their ability to grieve. The symptoms of these illnesses may become worse when they are grieving.

Some older adults may develop unresolved grief or complications associated with grieving. This may occur more often in older adults because they are more likely to experience:•Many major losses within a short period of time.•The death of their friends, including their spouses. Older adults who lose their spouses may suffer many losses, including financial security, their best friend, and their social contacts.•Losses that occur as a part of the natural aging process, such as loss of beauty and physical strength.•Loss of their independence or the development of illness and other conditions that are common in older adults.•Anticipation of losing someone or something special to them.

In addition, some older adults need more time than other people to adjust to change. Adjusting to change may be hard for them and cause them added emotional stress.


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lySupport for the elderly are as follows :

Pet Therapy

Family Therapy

Art Therapy

Massage / Compassionate Touch Therapy

‘ Reborn Doll ‘ Therapy

Grief Counseling/ Therapy

Reminiscence Therapy

Music Therapy

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l When a student or teacher dies in a school, everyone in the school is affected. It is important to tell the student body and the staff as soon as possible, in a personal way. The principal or the school counselor can go to each classroom and tell the students the news, instead of over the PA system or in a large group assembly. Each Student will react differently and its best to do it in a small group setting. It is important to inform all the students and staff , not just the ones that you think knew them well.

When sharing the news with students , have a written statement with the information about the death. The information should be factual, honest and use the correct words such as died ,killed, died by suicide or murdered. All deaths should be treated in a constant manner , weather it be the football star or a gang member, from cancer or suicide.

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lIt is important to call or send a letter to parents of your students to inform them of the news about death. It should contain what was shared with he student body as well as the staff and the common grief reactions to expect.

Scholl administrators may wish to schedule an evening forum with the parents. This provides a chance for parents to express their concern, ask questions and participate in a open discussion about the death and the effects it has on their children.

If a student or teacher dies , there should be a time when their locker or desk remains unchanged. This visual reminder helps students with their grieving. In general, it is a good idea to involve the students in the class about the decisions, asking them what they would like to see done with the locker, desk,etc.

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Although grief is common ,we do not relate it to a workplace event. Grief does not disappear when we enter the workplace.A grieving employee/employer can have an impact on the whole workplace community. It can have an effect on the morale to decreased productivity loss.A way of helping to reduce the emotional cost and the monetary cost is through education in relation to both the employee as well as the employer.

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There are other treatments/interventions as well that can be applied to the grieving person.


Group Therapy

Support Groups

Cognitive- behavioral therapy

Behavioral Therapy

Touch Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

Social Support



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Here are some resources that may be of help for an individual to turn to when in need .

Canada’s Grief Resource centre –

Grief Support Services –

Facing and Dealing withBereavement

Guiding Kids Thru Life’s Storms-

Seasons For Grieving Children- http://www.grieving

The Compassionate Friends of Canada Youth Grief Resources –

Canadian Hospice Palliative Care-

Support For Widows and Widowers-

Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths-

Bereavement Ontario Network-

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