What is bereavement?

Bereavement refers to the state of having suffered a loss, typically the death of a loved one. It encompasses the entire process of adjusting to life after the loss. Bereavement includes the emotional, psychological, and physical responses that individuals go through as they try to come to terms with the reality of the loss. It can also involve dealing with practical matters such as funeral arrangements and legal matters related to the deceased person’s affairs.

What is GRIEF?

Grief is a normal response to loss which can range from losing a loved one or a drastic change to your daily life. The grieving process can last several months to several years and everyone’s experience is different. There is no “right” way to grieve, and grief can often be unpredictable. 

Types of Grief

Often grief is thought of losing a loved one; however grief can include more than that. Grief can be associated with the following:

    • COVID-19 
    • Relationship changes (e.g., divorce or breakup)
    • Health changes
    • Job loss
    • Miscarriage
    • Retirement
    • Loss of a pet
    • Friendship ending
    • Moving
    • Financial instability 

Common grief reactions include:

Physical symptoms:

  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Headaches and upset stomach
  • Excessive sleeping or overworking and excessive activity

Emotional symptoms:

  • Memory lapses, distraction, and preoccupation
  • Irritability
  • Depression and feelings of euphoria
  • Extreme anger or feelings of being resigned to the situation
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of sadness

Spiritual symptoms:

  • Feelings of being closer to God or feelings of anger and outrage at God
  • Strengthening of faith or questioning of faith

Five Stages of Grief

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief.

  • Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
  • Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  • Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
  • Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
  • Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
    Not everyone experiences these five stages of grief and there is no set order in which you reach these stages. These stages are used to help you understand what you may be feeling, rather than provide expectations of how you should feel.


  • Bearing the Unbearable written by: Joanne Cacciatore, PhD
  • Staring at the Sun written by: Irvin D. Yalom
  • Lament for a Son written by: Nicholas Wolterstorff
  • Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief written by: David Kessler

Pillars has a number of therapists who specialize in grief and can help you or a loved one on your healing journey. Get Started Today!