What is grief?

Grief is a feeling of deep sorrow that we experience in response to a significant loss or death. While we all experience grief differently, a roller-coaster of emotions is often involved. Though difficult but necessary, the grieving process enables us to adjust to our new reality and to imagine the future differently. 

Expected reactions

The intensity and duration of feelings brought on by grief differ from person to person. Emotions can fluctuate between extreme sadness and anger, regret and guilt, denial and acceptance. The pain of losing someone never goes away completely, but it gradually lessens over time. Take the time you need.

After losing a loved one, normal responses to grief include:

  • Feeling sad and crying a lot
  • Wanting to be alone, not wanting to go out or to have fun
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Lack of appetite and energy
  • Different sleep routine 
  • Having unusual thoughts and questioning things

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When to seek help

Sometimes, the pain is so intense and overwhelming, or lasts so long that professional help may be needed. Signs that it is time to seek help include:

  • Persistent periods of intense and frequent sadness or loneliness
  • Feeling like you are unable to get back on your feet
  • Deteriorating relationships with family and friends
  • Inability to take care of yourself
  • Substance use (alcohol or drugs), self-harming or other risk-taking behaviours
  • Suicidal thoughts

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Tools and Resources



♦ Notice to reader: The resources listed are provided for information purposes only to help bereaved and grieving individuals access community resources available to the public. The use of these services is at your discretion. The institution cannot be held responsible for services provided by the resources listed.

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