Diane D. Rodriguez, Grief Educator, Bereavement Coach & Consultant, Writer & Speaker.

What if no one has died?

photo taken by D. D. Rodriguez

photo taken by D. D. Rodriguez

Grief isn’t only experienced when someone has died.  Grief happens with any perceived loss and can show up in different feelings, thoughts or emotions.

Example: In relationships

Grief looks like:

  • A sense of lost identity – a piece of you is missing

  • Depression

  • Emotionally withdrawing, shutting down or disconnecting

  • Resentment when needs aren’t being met

  • Questioning your relationship

  • Increased arguments

  • Interpersonal conflicts

  • Feeling disconnected

  • Sadness when reflecting what you believed the relationship would be like and the reality of what it is not

  • Feeling rejected, lost or alone

  • Self-doubt

  • Being critical or being criticized

  • Being betrayed – lack of trust

  • Emotionally drained

  • Not adjusting to the interdependence in the relationship

  • Difficulty coping with demands within the relationship

  • Negative self-talk

  • Excessive worry

  • Low self-esteem – feeling inadequate

  • Significant instability

  • Neglectful experiencing

  • Feeling vulnerable

  • Painful memories/experiences

  • Lack of nurturing

  • Lack of contact- avoiding closeness/intimacy

  • Difficulty with effective communication, no communication or lacking communication

Example: Life-transition – retirement, chronic illness, terminal disease, empty nesting, new relationship/marriage, becoming a parent, divorce, break-up, demotion, promotion or aging

Grief looks like:

  • Tearful spells

  • Strong emotions and reactions when speaking of the event

  • Lack of appetite

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Feeling discouraged

  • Thoughts have been dominated by the experience

  • Uncertainty of what the next stage of life brings

  • The loss of a positive support network

  • Avoiding talking about the transition

  • Being vague or superficial with the acknowledgement of deeper rooted feelings

  • Feeling guilt, shame, remorse for things done or left undone

  • Difficult adjusting to the new normal

  • Lack of meaning in life

  • Overwhelmed with lack of time or too much time

  • Experiencing difficulty and anxiety with new demands

  • Isolation and sadness

  • Feeling bored

  • Spiritual confusion

  • Little or no motivation

Example: With a move

Grief looks like:

  • Lost connections

  • Less interactions with people, places or things that were part of your daily routine before the move

  • Isolation due too little or no new social support, friends, family, good neighbors

  • The uncertainty of learning a new area

  • Melancholy with memories

  • Missing an old lifestyle

  • Feeling lonely even when surrounded by people

  • Resentment, anger or sadness because of the reasons/circumstances for the move

  • Feeling incredibly sad

  • Confusion with intense emotions where initially the move may have been perceived as exciting

  • Emotional outburst

  • General irritability

  • Anxiety about the future

  • Negative attitudes about new possibilities

  • Bleak outlook on life

  • Suppressed rage