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Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss (PDQ®)

Patient Version
Last Modified: 03/06/2013

Bereavement and Grief



Bereavement is the period of sadness after losing a loved one through death.

Grief and mourning occur during the period of bereavement. Grief and mourning are closely related. Mourning is the way we show grief in public. The way people mourn is affected by beliefs, religious practices, and cultural customs. People who are grieving are sometimes described as bereaved.

Grief is the normal process of reacting to the loss.

Grief is the emotional response to the loss of a loved one. Common grief reactions include the following:

  • Feeling emotionally numb.
  • Feeling unable to believe the loss occurred.
  • Feeling anxiety from the distress of being separated from the loved one.
  • Mourning along with depression.
  • A feeling of acceptance.