Your Complete Guide to Grief and Bereavement


griefLosing someone close to your heart is never an easy experience, no matter how the loss may have come about. During moments of separation, relocation, death and the like, people often go through feelings of grief and depression. The grieving process itself is referred to as “bereavement,” and it describes the time a person spends overcoming the termination of a relationship. Some people only experience a few days of bereavement while others spend months or years grieving over their loss. This is all common, natural and apparent in every community.

Dealing with the pain of grief can be overwhelming and at times can seem impossible to overcome. With that in mind, there are a number of resources online that help grievers get through their bereavement in a timely manner. AspiringNurse.com has put together a list of the best resources for grief and bereavement on the web so you can potentially get through a difficult time in life or help others to do so. The statistics, links and general information below will be of use to you should you ever experience bereavement in the future. These links detail grief and bereavement above and beyond what you may learn in online LPN programs.

Grief and Bereavement Statistics

Here are some interesting statistics related to grief and bereavement:

  • 4% of kids age 5 to 16 have undergone the death of a sibling or parent. 6% have undergone the death of a close friend of the family. 13% of children have undergone the death of a grandparent. Resource: Winston’s Wish
  • Grieving is most often associated with death, but it can also be linked to divorce, loss of work, relocation, or other life-changing events. Resource: Mental Help
  • Over the course of 15 years, studies showed that couples who have experienced a miscarriage are had a 22% greater risk of separating than couples who completed their pregnancies. Comparatively, couples who experienced stillbirths had a 40% greater risk of breaking up. Resource: University of Michigan Health System
  • There is no time limit for bereavement. The grieving process may take years to complete, depending on the circumstances surrounding the loss.

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Grief and Bereavement Symptoms

The symptoms of grief will vary by patient based on the loss he or she has experienced to cause the bereavement. Some patients purely experience changes in emotions, and others encounter physical difficulties because if their grief. Listed below are some common grief symptoms to look out for.

Emotional Symptoms of Grief:
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross theorized that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The appearance of any of these stages may indicate grief, but they do not always occur as a group. Some people only go through three or four of the stages within their bereavement. Additional emotional symptoms associated with grief include: fear, shock, guilt, and physical impairment. Resource: Help Guide.

Physical Symptoms of Grief:
Physical symptoms of grief change significantly from person to person. Common symptoms may include: insomnia, fatigue, headaches, nausea, weight gain, weight loss, and excessive sleep. Maintaining your health and fitness levels may prevent you from experiencing extreme physical alterations. Resource: Family Caregiver Alliance

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How to Cope with Grief

Every individual copes with grief in different ways, but there are some general strategies you may use to get through your bereavement. The following tips should help you overcome this process so you can get back to a normal life.

  1. Eat and rest: If you stress your already stressed body with lack of sleep, insufficient fitness or poor nutrition, you may prolong your grief. Take care of your body, and your mind will follow suit.
  2. Go out and socialize: Isolation is a natural byproduct of the grieving process, but it may make matters worse. Spend time with friends and family, and you may be able to distract yourself from the pain.
  3. Face the grief: There is nothing wrong with distracting yourself from bereavement, but you cannot allow that distraction to completely mask the grief. Be flexible enough to adjust to the grief you feel, and you should soon be back to your normal routine.
  4. Plan for future grief: Most people experience a reoccurrence of grief on the anniversary of a loss. Prepare for these moments in advance so you can get through them effectively. You may take off work or schedule a time to visit a grave site, depending on the loss you are overcoming.

Resource: Mental Help

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Signals That Grief is Complete

There is no specific timeframe for bereavement, which may make it difficult for you to determine that it has ended. Since most grief-stricken people experience the feeling of hopelessness, one sign of completion is the return of happiness and pleasure. Re-engaging in social activities and living in the present are also good signs that a person has overcome his or her grief. Finally, a relieved person should be able to look at the lost loved one as a happy memory, rather than a painful loss. Resource: Mental Help

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Useful Resources on Grief and Bereavement

The list below highlights some fantastic resources online for grieving individuals.

  • Family Caregiver Alliance: The Family Caregiver Alliance offers general information about how to anticipate grief, ethical issues surrounding grief, how long grief may last, how to identify grief, the stages of grief, how to help people in bereavement, and how to get through grief.
  • Centering Corporation:
    The Centering Corporation is a non-profit organization that helps professionals and families get through times of grief. In this link, you will find an events calendar for the organization, along with a list of grief resources and other education materials.
  • Crisis, Grief and Healing: Started by grief psychotherapist Tom Golden,
    Crisis, Grief and Healing offers a deep look into the grieving process, including an analysis of parent loss, infant loss, and other forms of bereavement. The organization was founded by Tom Golden, a psychotherapist who sought to fully understand why people grieve and what they can do to get through their pain. In this link, you will find a set of discussion boards that you may participate in for support or education.
  • Finding My Banana Bread Man: Finding My Banana Break Man was founded by a man who lost his life partner several years ago. It provides support from the perspective of someone who has faced grief head on and learned to love life again in the process. The site offers pictures, poetry, reviews, frequently asked questions, resource links, special events, and more.
  • Help Guide: Help Guide is a site that offers general advice for a variety of problems. In the grief and loss section, you can find information about coping with grief, including an analysis of common causes and solutions.
  • How To Deal With Grief: This is a link to publications offered through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The list has useful articles about the grieving process, as well as information about how to get support.
  • Grief.com: Grief.com us a popular resource devoted to bereavement. The site features helpful information about how to diagnose and treat grief, which you can find in books, upcoming events, articles, and a special question and answer section with accomplished psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
  • Grief Healing: This website focuses on helping people get through grief as early on in the process as possible. It also features a section devoted to dealing with pet loss.
  • Mental Help: Mental Help has a blog that is entirely focused on grief and bereavement. The site also offers links, videos, news, book reviews, and more. There are specific sections for adults and children, so each visitor can get through the grieving process in a way that works for him or her.

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Grief after a Miscarriage

Miscarriages are among the hardest events to get through because of the attachment parents feel to their unborn children. It is completely understandable for a person to grieve after losing a child, regardless of his or her age. If you have recently experienced a miscarriage, one of the links below may help you address your pain and return to normal life.

  • Bereaved Single Mothers Forum: The Bereaved Single Mothers Forum is a community for single mothers who have had a miscarriage or lost a newborn. The site allows these women to speak openly about their experiences and offer support for one another. It was designed to give single mothers a chance to get through their grief without the fear of being alone.
  • KUMC: The Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC) has a great list of resources, links, and articles that relate to stillbirth, infant death, and miscarriage.
  • Missing GRACE Foundation: The Missing GRACE Foundation is an organization that provides support for families who experience infant loss, adoption, infertility, and miscarriage. GRACE stands for Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate, and Educate.
  • SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support: SHARE is an organization that offers support for families who have experienced the loss of fetus, infant, or child. The organization is comprised of local support groups, and it offers a bi-monthly newsletter about infant loss and grief. To find a chapter in your area or to start one on your own, check out the link for this description.
  • Pregnancy Loss: Pregnancy Loss is a unique website that allows grieving families to create a memorial of their lost babies online. Additionally, the site offers resources for those families to find support and relief.
  • UNITE: UNITE is an organization in Philadelphia that provides counseling for grieving families after stillbirth, miscarriage, and infant death. It offers forums, support groups, suggested readings, training, and educational programs.

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Grief after the Death of a Child

Losing a child is one of the most traumatic experiences that a parent can face. Dealing with this pain on your own may seem impossible, but there are numerous support groups and resources that may help you get through the grief after the loss of a child. Here are some fantastic sites that provide advice and condolence for grief-stricken parents.

  • The Compassionate Friends: The Compassionate Friends is an organization that specifically sets out to help families overcome bereavement after the loss of a child. In this website, you will find information about local chapters of the organization, as well as videos, brochures, and other helpful resources.
  • COPE Foundation: The COPE Foundation offers an assortment of articles, readings, and other resources for parents who have lost a child. The organization also offers answers to frequently asked questions, as well as a forum allowing grieving parents to connect with one another online.
  • Feelings of the Fathers: This site was made specifically for fathers who have experienced the loss of a child. It features a popular discussion forum, as well as a list of advice articles and links to other resources for fathers.

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Grief after the Death of a Parent

The bond between a parent and child is sacred, no matter how strong or weak the relationship may be. Most people experience the loss of a parent in their adulthood while some have to deal with losing both parents at the same time. Whatever the case may be, rest assured that there are resources online to help people dealing with the death of a parent. Here is a list of links to popular sites of help and interest.

  • Dougy Center: The Dougy Center is an organizations that focuses on helping children, teens, and young adults overcome the death of a parent. The center has several locations throughout the country, as well as a website with advice articles and general support.
  • Grieving Center for Children, Teens and Families: The Grieving Center is a support group that aims to provide young people and their families with a safe place to support one another and grieve the death of a parent.
  • Kids Aid: Kids Aid is a subdivision of GriefNet, and it provides a variety of resources for grieving children in need. The site offers email support groups, a support forum, answers to frequently asked questions, and a ton of helpful advice.
  • Winston’s Wish: Winston’s Wish is a non-profit organization based in the UK. It offers general support to grieving children and young adults who have undergone the loss of a parent. Additionally, the group provides these children with a way to connect with one another so they can get through their bereavement together.

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Grief after Child Abduction

Child abduction can be just as traumatic as the loss of a child entirely. Even after a child returns from abduction, parents often feel a sense of loneliness and confusion. The grief that results can be overwhelming at times, but it can be overcome. If you have experienced child abduction in the recent past, some of the links below may help you get through your current bereavement.

  • The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children: POMC seeks to make a difference through ongoing education, prevention, support, awareness, and advocacy. In addition to providing a virtual forum for parents to connect and provide support, the organization boasts local chapters around the country.
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has links to reputable resources related to child abduction.
  • Peace 4 the Missing: Peace 4 the Missing is a site for parents with missing or abducted children. It features support forums, blogs, articles, and links to help parents get through the bereavement of an abducted child.

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Support Groups and Hospice Care

Hospice care offers special services for people with terminal illnesses. Not only does hospice take care of people during their last days on earth, but it also provides support for families with terminally ill loved ones. If you are in this situation or you just need a support group to call your own, one of the links below should be able to help you out.

  • Caring Connections: Caring Connections is a special website for caretakers and people who are currently in need of care. The site offers information about dealing with grief, with an entire section focused on death of the elderly. In this, you will find an array of articles and links to hospices around the country.
  • GriefNet: GriefNet is a network of email and web-based support groups for different kinds of grief. Most support groups are focused on the loss of a parent, a child, or a partner. In addition to the support groups, GriefNet provides people with a chance to share online memorials of their lost loved ones, as well as a list of suicide prevention resources.
  • MISS Foundation: The MISS Foundation is an international organization that aims to help grieving families by getting them involved with their communities. The volunteer activities within the organization allow grieving individuals to get through their pain by remaining active at all times. This website features information about the volunteering process, along with tips on how to reduce infant death rates around the world.
  • The National Hospice Foundation: The National Hospice Foundation offers information to help people plan their passing or get through grief after the loss of a loved one. It is one of the best known hospice care providers in the country.

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