How the Grieving Process is Different for Everyone

Category: Grieving


We are humans, not robots. When the time comes to say goodbye to a loved one, there is no telling how long your grief will last, or how you will feel at certain stages of your grieving.

Learning to come to terms with the loss of someone you care for deeply will take as long as it takes – and no-one should be ashamed of that.

There’s no formula

Of course, it would be great if we could define grief as an equation, providing a linear answer that we could all accept.

Unfortunately, the grieving process is not like that. Grief is driven by emotions. It is steered by your personal relationship with whomever was lost. Every person and their relationships are different. Therefore, how we cope with each loss is different too.

There is no instruction manual on how to grieve. That’s because our minds process things differently. Some people process things internally, while others prefer to verbalise their feelings and share their experience with others.

Different coping mechanisms

Some people may throw themselves even deeper into their job; even accepting overtime to take their mind off their loss. Meanwhile others might find it a daily struggle just to leave their bed in the morning.

Which approach is the wrong one to grieve? Neither. Both approaches are perfectly acceptable coping mechanisms.

Take care of yourself

Just because you and your other family members have lost the same person, that doesn’t mean that your loss will be felt in the same way. It’s important to focus on your own grieving process. This is not a selfish approach. If you want to heal and look to the future with renewed optimism, you must take good care of yourself first.

Of course, there may also be times when you suffer a setback in your grieving process. You might have been coping better with your loss and then, suddenly, a memory or something you do or say might trigger a whirlwind of emotion. This is perfectly normal.

Coping with reminders and waves of grief

Your loved one may have played a huge role in your life prior to their passing. Day-to-day reminders of your loved one will be completely understandable. Waves of grief can rear their head even when you’re out in public. Some people might feel uncomfortable demonstrating emotion in public, but you should never feel embarrassed – this is your life and your situation that you are trying to come to terms with.

There is no time limit

Finally, some people move on from their grieving process quicker than others. However, it’s important not to put pressure on yourself to feel better or move on just because others think you should.

Be respectful of your own wellbeing and be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself the space and time you need to help make sense of your loss. Don’t worry about what you ‘should’ be doing or what you ‘should’ have already done. Try not to put unrealistic expectations upon yourself.

Even if you feel that other loved ones are coping or somehow coping better than you, your grieving process is unique to youand your relationship with your loved one. No-one can take that away from you.