Chapter 1: An introduction to grief

I remember leaving the hospital after she died, and I actually couldn’t believe the sun was still shining.

There are some days I wake up and find myself struggling to even believe he died. I pick up the phone to call him and then I remember. When that happens, the sadness starts all over again.

I was surprised at how the grief came in waves for me. One day I was fine and the next I wasn’t. You can get through it, but it changes you forever.

Grief hasn’t ended for me, but it has changed. I think we need to work on making space for people to just be with one another, without trying to fix it or put a timeline on it.

Grief is a normal response to loss that is often misunderstood. Whenever you lose someone or something important to you, you grieve, but not always in the same way. Some losses are more significant than others and have a greater impact on you.  Click on the arrows below to reveal some facts about grief.

How grief may affect you

The grief expert says
Chris speaks about how there is no blueprint for grief or how we respond to loss. 
Video transcript

When he died, my heart broke into a million little pieces. It’s back together now but the scars will always be there.

I remember leaving the hospital after she died, and I actually couldn’t believe the sun was still shining.

Ways grief may affect you

Grief can affect your emotions, your thinking, and your behaviour. It can also affect how your body feels. Click on each of the boxes below to see some of the ways grief may affect you.

At times, your grief may be felt as a physical sensation, such as a stomach ache, a headache, or shortness of breath.

You may have:


  • Conflicting feelings, such as sadness and relief.
  • Intense feelings that might surprise or shock you.
  • Unpredictable feelings – Feeling you’re doing “okay” and then suddenly feeling knocked over by a wave of emotion.
  • Feelings of isolation – Even if you have people who care about you close by, you might still feel lonely.

Grief can interfere with thinking, making you more forgetful or affecting your ability to concentrate.

You may notice changes in your behaviour, such as not doing things you used to enjoy and avoiding friends.

Your beliefs may change, such as your faith or your trust in the future.

Grief often changes you, and it changes over time. After a while it may take up less energy. This doesn’t mean forgetting your child. No matter how much or how little time you had with them, you will carry your memory of them forward, remembering all aspects of who they were – what you found most challenging, what you cherished most, or both. You can continue to have a relationship with your child in a different way, even though they’re no longer physically present.