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You can expect that:

  • Grief takes longer than most people think
  • There is no right or wrong way to grieve
  • Grief involves many changes and will continuously develop
  • Healthy grieving requires you to express and process your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors through talking, writing, composing, and creating
  • Healthy grieving holds the potential for personal growth; pain is transformational
  • Healthy grieving is not about forgetting, but remembering and forming a new relationship
  • Expect to grieve losses symbiotic, tangible, past and future; grief will threaten your sense of security, hope, independence, and control
  • Loss will resurrect unsettled issues, feelings, and unresolved conflicts from the past
  • Grief may cause you to experience a lack of self-concern
  • Grief bursts may be common – acute upsurges of emotional pain that occur without warning
  • Certain days of the week or month, anniversaries, special events, or holidays can bring upsurges of grief
  • Society will have unrealistic expectations about your grief journey and may respond inappropriately to you and your loss
  • Often the people we think will help us don’t, and those who are helpful seem to come from nowhere
  • Future losses may resurrect past losses causing more powerful than expected emotional pain, and a temporary upsurge of grief
  • People are fundamentally resilient; you can and will survive

Adapted from Judith Skretny, M.A. and from How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Therese A. Rando, Ph. D. Edited by Karl J Shackelford for We Grieve.