Grief & Loss

Grief is a natural response to loss.

It is the emotional suffering experienced when something or someone loved is taken away.  Grief is most often associated with the death of a loved one and this loss is often the source of the most profound grief. 

Other sources of grief can be:

  • A relationship breakup
  • Loss of a friendship
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • A miscarriage or pregnancy termination
  • Loss of a job or scholarship and/or loss of financial stability
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • Loss or death of a pet
  • Moving away from home and/or the sale of the family home

Are these feelings normal?

Everyone experiences grief at some time and each person is affected in different ways.  Some of the more common feelings experienced are:

  • Shock, disbelief and denial as in “this can’t be happening”
  • Sadness, emptiness, despair and deep loneliness
  • Anger and guilt
  • Anxiety, insecurity and fear of always being alone
  • Confusion, lack of concentration and lack of focus
  • Fatigue

The more significant the loss, the more intense the feelings of grief can be. 

How long will I feel this way?

Grief can resolve sooner than one would expect or can be a manageable lifetime experience as in the loss of a loved one. Grief is highly personal, differing by situation and from person to person.  For a few, the grief experience can become more painful and debilitating over time. This experience is referred to as “complicated grief”  

What helps?

  • Talk to family and friends.Feeling a sense of support from your community is one of the most effective ways of reducing the impact of the loss.
  • Create a routine
  • Eat well, go for walks and try to get six to eight hours of sleep a night. 
  • Take time for yourself and read a book, drink tea, take a warm bath or shower.
  • Give yourself permission to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time.
  • Plan ahead for places, holidays and events that can reawaken feelings of grief. 
  • Know that your grief is your own. No one can tell you when it’s time to “move on.”
  • Cry, be angry, laugh and find joy.


Make an appointment with UW Bothell Student Mental Health Counseling Services at: 425.352.3183.

To learn more, visit any of the sources listed below.

Coping with a Breakup or Divorce.”

Grief.” Hospice Foundation of America.