Whether it's a child, a wife or husband, brother, sister or good friend, the loss of a loved one is one of the most stressful periods of life one can experience.
The physical and emotional stress of funeral planning, religious doubt, or a feeling of abandonment or hopelessness may surround those who grieve.
Usually when dealing with the death of a loved one it is often only the passage of time that proves to lessen the pain, coupled with the loving support of those around us.
The best way of dealing with our own personal grief, say experts, is by talking about it with friends, family, or others who are experiencing the same emotions. Alternatively, there are online self-help grief counseling communities, grief healing forums or grief
recovery chat rooms to share stories with those who are suffering the same feelings of pain and heartbreak.
A loss suffered as a result of war, terrorist attacks such as 9/11, or natural disasters may result in more serious and long-term symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder which sometimes require professional counseling.
Regardless of the circumstance, a better understanding of the grieving process helps us to realize what is happening to us emotionally, spiritually, and physically as we go through it.
Helping others to cope with grief
While there are those who subscribe to the classic stages of grief as a coping method, it has lately become controversial for its perhaps too-scientific look at the process.
Certainly there are common steps from denial-to-acceptance, but it may not always happen in textbook fashion. Some people may grieve in small doses over time depending on their psychological makeup or a responsibility to remain "strong" for others. Weeks, months, or even years may go by before we come to terms with the death of a child, friend, relative, or spouse.
Age is also an important factor. Children who experience grief may act out their grief in aggressive or inappropriate behavior. Grieving teens may become moody and depressed and unable to talk about the death. Overall,
communication is key to relieving the burden of grief for those at any age, with frank conversations about the loss of a loved one an essential step in coping with the loss.
Avoid awkwardness by simply taking cues from those who grieve. When they are ready to talk, listen to their stories or reminisce with them about a loved one. This will greatly help in the mourning process as they come to vibrantly cherish the memories of the deceased.
Helping out with tasks such as shopping, running errands,
or preparing meals are equally important practical steps in assisting those who mourn return to the routine of daily living.
More information about coping with loss and grief around the Web:
Around the Web, find more tips on dealing with grief and the mourning process, along with expert resources for helping adults, teens and kids come to terms with the loss of a loved one:
The Kübler-Ross grief cycle - The classic cycle as described by pioneering terminal illness specialist Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, with information on the five stages of grief from shock and denial to acceptance with descriptions of related symptoms and suggested remedies and treatment.
Death and Grief - KidsHealth.org guide for teens with advice and information on dealing with feelings of loss, anger and depression, coping with stress and self-care tips, with related story articles and resources.
to Children About Death - Extensive discussion on helping young children through the grieving process including what reactions to expect, how to recognize a cry for help, how to talk to children about an impending death and related advice on kids' attendance at funerals.
Grief - Wikipedia facts and information on cultural, historical and modern expressions of grief, discussions on the grief
cycle and types of grief with related images, references and resources.