If you are experiencing these symptoms,
call or visit the Health and Wellness Center.

Grief and Loss

Grieving is an unavoidable part of living for all of us. No one is immune.

What is Grief?

In the Grief Recovery Method Guide for Loss they explain grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior. Grief can be caused by the death of a loved one but also:


  • Divorce or relationship breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of friendship

According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, grief is a process and people go through various stages. One may not go through all the stages nor in the same order; however, understanding all stages may help us through the healing process.

  • Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
  • Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  • Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will do whatever you want.”
  • Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
  • Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

Symptoms of Grief

  • Shock and disbelief: Right after a loss it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb and have troubling believing the loss really occurred.
  • Sadness: You may have feelings of emptiness, despair or loneliness. You may also cry a lot.
  • Guilt: You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t do. You also may feel guilty for not being able to prevent or “save” this person.
  • Anger: You may feel angry or resentful with yourself, God, the doctors or even the person you lost for abandoning you.
  • Fear: You may feel anxious, helpless, worried or insecure.
  • Physical Symptoms: Grief often involves fatigue, nausea, weight loss/weight gain and insomnia.
  • Other symptoms may include anxiety, lack of concentration, hopelessness, depression, altered dreams, and relief.

Ways to cope with Grief

  • Get Support: It is important to seek out and find our support system during this time. This includes but is not limited to friends and family members. Possibly drawing comfort from your faith can be helpful as well.  
  • Take care of yourself: This could include exercise, meditation, writing in a journal, making a photo album or having a gathering to share memories of the person who has passed away.
  • Seek professional help: Talk to a therapist or grief counselor (available here at the Health and Wellness Center; outside sliding scale referrals are also available).

A Life Care Guide to Grief & Bereavement on Managing your Grief found the following guidelines to help.

  • Remember that grieving is a long process.
  • Offer your companionship.
  • Don’t minimize the loss.
  • Encourage your loved one to share his or her feelings.
  • Help your loved one create new traditions/rituals/activities.
  • Listen to your loved one.
  • If you are concerned about your loved one please let someone know.

*Please walk into the Health & Wellness Center if you need support, referrals or guidance on how to deal with Grief & Loss.


Nancy Montgomery, RN, MSN
Assistant Dean, Health, Wellness and Veterans Services

Ask a Nurse: 949-451-5687

T: 949-451-5221
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