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Grief and Loss: Understanding Grief and Loss

Find help understanding what grief and/or loss feels like and what emotions you might expect to experience after a loss.

Though it is sometimes hard to accept, loss — and the grief that goes with it — are part of being human. Understanding what you might expect to feel or realizing that many others experience the same feelings as you can sometimes help you heal after a loss.

Loss

Bereavement, defeat, damage, and a deficit

Loss is any situation in your life in which something or someone of value is taken away or changed. Losses can range from minor to major, according to your perception of what is lost. When you experience a loss, you feel like your world has collapsed.

Grief

When your heart aches

Grief is not something that happens to you. Loss is what happens to you. Grief is the process you engage in as a response to a loss.

Grief is the work you do:

  • After any change
  • After any major loss
  • After any major illness
  • When anticipating any major change

to regain balance and to recover a sense of joy in life.

Next: Phases of Loss and Grief