Chapter 1: An introduction to grief

Everyone grieves in their own way

The grief expert says
Fred Nelson, social worker, talks about how we all grieve in our own way. (3:22)Video transcript

Some days I wake up and feel like I can take on anything. Other days I wake up and find myself struggling. This illness and the sense of grief that goes with it keep me guessing.

Right after her diagnosis, I remember feeling like the world had ended. Everyone was talking about being strong and getting through this, but for us, the reality was a huge loss. I think I started grieving for her and for our life as we knew it from that first day.

Not everyone expresses their grief in the same way. Even those experiencing the same loss may grieve differently. They might be overcome by sorrow or anger; talk openly or close down; get “busy”; or avoid people altogether. You may feel alone in your grief if others appear to have different responses to the loss.


What affects your grief

Many factors may impact your grief. Click on the arrows below for some examples.

It’s not just one loss

You may experience a variety of losses over the course of the illness or related to a person’s death. These losses are connected to your relationship and the role the person has had in your life, and the one you have played in theirs. Losses may also be related to hopes and dreams, and expectations about the future.