Influencing the Grief Process
are so many factors influencing the grief process that when we put
them together, there are nearly infinite combinations. This is why
grief seems so complex and what makes each grieving experience
completely unique. For the sake of simplicity, we divide these
factors into five groups.
nature of the loss
was your relationship to the person who died (parent, sibling,
were the feelings between you and the person who died (close,
indifferent, ambivalent, abusive)?
was the amount of unfinished business?
were some of the secondary losses as a result of the death
(financial, social, personal)?
important to never assume the significance of a death for an
individual. For example, someone may grieve more over the death of
their grandparent whom they had a very close relationship with, than
over the death of their parent.
characteristics of the mourner
are your coping behaviours in general? Are you someone who faces
things head on or is your tendency to withdraw and avoid things? Do
you become aggressive during challenging times and/or abuse
substances? Sometimes our coping strategies can become exaggerated
after a loss.
is your previous experience with loss?
is your social, cultural, and ethnic background?
are your spiritual or religious beliefs?
are your family rituals and traditions around death?
is the state of your emotional health?
is your age and level of maturity?
characteristics of the death
there a lengthy illness before the death or was it sudden?
the death violent in nature?
more than one person die at the same time or were there a series of
deaths close together?
is your support system and if you have one are you using it? It is
generally accepted that those who receive support do better than
those who don’t.
is your economic, occupational and educational status?
there a funeral service, memorial service or celebration of life?
there other stresses or crises currently going on in addition to the
you getting enough rest and sleep?
you exercising? Exercise can provide a natural anti-depressant
effect which is helpful during grief.
you eating well?
is your current state of health?
you have any addictions? (alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, drugs,
food.) The use of drugs, sedatives, and/or alcohol is not recommended
as they inhibit the grief process.