Need support?

Living with a terminal illness and looking for support? Our Support Line team are here to help. 

 Reopens today at 11AM

by phone

 0800 090 2309 Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Find out more about our Support Line.

Grieving in your own way

Grief is a natural response to losing someone you care about. There's no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences it differently. The important thing is let yourself grieve and mourn as much and as long as you need to.

Although grieving is painful, in time these feelings begin to change as you adapt to a different way of life. Grief can never be fixed, diminished or taken away. It becomes part of us, and shapes the rest of our lives.

How you might feel

Counsellors sometimes talk about grieving or mourning in terms of stages or tasks that are worked through. Some people find these helpful but don’t worry if they’re not right for you. Here are some common emotions experienced by people who are grieving:

  • Denial: This can't be happening to me.
  • Anger: Why is this happening to me? Who caused this to happen?
  • Bargaining: From now on, I promise to go church/visit my sick neighbour every day, and everything will be OK again.
  • Depression: What is the point of it all?
  • Acceptance: This has really happened.

These are sometimes called the five stages of grief. Some people have all of these feelings, while others may not experience any, or experience them in a different order.

You think you are ready but the end  comes very quickly. There is a great relief that they are no longer suffering but the selfish side of you wants them to stay with you forever. 
Natalie, carer/relative

If you're unable to move through your grief, or are concerned about the welfare of someone who isn't coping well, seek help, or encourage them to seek help from a specialist service such as the Bereavement Advice Centre  , Cruse Bereavement Care   or Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland  . It's Good to Talk   also has a directory of counsellors across the UK.

Not everyone experiences grief

For some people, the death of a close friend or relative is a relief, especially if the person suffered or had a drawn-out death. Try not to assume how someone is feeling.

First of all, check with the person. Ask them how they're coping with the death of their relative or friend. This allows the person to tell you how they're grieving, or whether they're ok.

You may not feel comfortable with their response, but it's important to let the person cope in their own way.

Knowing how they're coping can open up more honest conversations.

This content has been supplied by Dying Matters  , with additional research in-house.

Useful links

Bereavement Advice Centre  

Cruse Bereavement Care   (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

Print this page