What is grief?

Grief is the emotional suffering we experience when we lose someone or something that is important to us. It is a healthy and normal response and a necessary process for adjusting to living without the one we love. Grieving is the work we must do before we are able to fully embrace life again.

Each of us grieves in our own unique way – and the way we express our grief is determined by our culture, earlier experiences with loss, sex role and age. Some cultures permit and even encourage open expression of feelings while others discourage it. Men and women demonstrate their grief differently because of the way they have been socialized. As children we express grief as it relates to our level of understanding, age and the way significant adults share their grief with us. Because each of us is different in our upbringing and experiences, it is important that we respect each other’s way of dealing with grief.