Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief

Mourning (bereavement) and loss

Loss can be taken as a phenomenon that is common to the human race, but the reactions of different people to it varies in the extents of the mourning and grief. Individuals and groups grieve using diverse techniques, ranging from dissimilar periods and unlike levels of dejection to becoming furious and withdrawn.

According to Howarth (2011), bereavement can be defined as the experience someone goes through due to the loss of a loved one. Grief describes several behavioral, cognitive, physiological and emotional responses to the loss. On the other hand, mourning represents the cultural practices used to expressing grief during bereavement.

The process of grieving entails expressions of large extents of anger and sadness, physical signs like insomnia and loss of weight, low concentration levels as well as a resurgence of the memory of death.

Uncomplicated Bereavement

The process entails reconciliation and the description of the process occurring while the person in grief understands the reality of the loss. The bereaved learns how to move forward with life without having the loved one who died by their side (James, 2007). Several steps are taken to achieve the reconciliation.

The first step is integrating the reality of the death. The person then has to experience the maximum pain of losing a loved one. He or she then learns to move on and adjust his or her life without incorporating the dead person in it. Bringing in the aspects of a dead person into self-identity of the bereaved person is another task involved (James, 2007). The bereaving individual also needs to change the relationship between himself and the lost one from the day-to-day interactions with that of memories. He then needs to find a meaning in the death of the loved one and build up relationships with other people. Individuals can go through the bereavement and grieving process successfully. However, there are those whose situations get complicated getting more painful and draining (James, 2007).

Complicated grief

A definition of complicated grief can be the building up of symptoms of trauma that interrupt the grieving ability of an individual. The experience could prompt distress and shock, bringing to memory the upsetting nature of the demise. They may also get reminders of events, people or thoughts associated with the dead one or memories bringing to mind the changes that have been associated with the death of the loved one (James, 2007).

The memories and thoughts associated with trauma bring about serious psychological distress and other physiological effects that had occurred at the time of the original loss. The events at times lead to numbing and avoidance as protection against the undesired feelings associated with the loss. The person gets so overwhelmed that he cannot get over the loss. In fact, they always focus on the traumatic factors associated with the loss hindering their progress in the normal grieving process (Howarth, 2011).

Traumatic grief

The situation occurs where an individual suffers from both the effects of losing a loved one and traumatic distresses. The case may lead to conditions of anger, distrust, disbelief, numbness, and feeling futile about the future (James, 2007). The causes of this situation may be due to sudden or unexpected deaths of loved ones, violent deaths, or an individual who is carrying forward memories of another past traumatic situation.

Disenfranchised grief

The situation happens where an individual is grieving in their heart but is unable talk about it or share the pain with others by considering the situation unacceptable to others. The situation may also occur where an individual is in misery and sadness, but the rest of the world feels that he is not worth the situation or is not entitled to it. The occurrence may be founded on the fact that other people did not know or approve the individual’s close relationship with the deceased (James, 2007). It may happen given that the person died in a way that the world did not expect, or the grieving individual’s reaction is not how the people expected.

It is advisable for individuals in this situation to find someone who exactly understands their situation to tell him or her daily about how real the love for the departed one is in the end. He should enfranchise the grief shining a light upon it and watching as the darkness reduces (Attig, 2004).

Primary and secondary loss

When the death of a loved one occurs, other factors and events follow. In the case of primary loss, the bereaved parties get to understand that there are additional losses than just the dead person. For instance, during death, burial expenses are incurred to give proper send off to the dead. However, secondary loss occurs when the dead person is the first born in the family, the roles and guidance he or she ought to give will be assumed by the second born. Besides, other holes seem to be created through the death of a loved one that causes the secondary loss (James, 2007).

Ambiguous loss

The situation involves an instance where there has been a loss though the bereft is incapable of moving on with grieving. The bereaved individual is not sure if the person is dead and, therefore, his or her memory remains in the mind. The individual always feels like something is missing and finds no answers for the situation (Howarth, 2011). In type one loss, the bereaved parties feel the spiritual presence of the dead while the bodily aspect is absent. The family members lack the body contacts that were previously enjoyed. The second category of loss occurs where the spiritual absence is hardly felt while the bodily aspect is present.


Attig, T. (2004). Disenfranchised grief revisited: Discounting hope and love. Omega, 49(3), 197-215.

Howarth, R. (2011). Concepts and controversies in grief and loss. Journal of mental health counseling, 33(1), 4-10.

James, R. (2007). Crisis intervention strategies. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, January 25). Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, January 25). Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief.

Work Cited

"Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief." PsychologyWriting, 25 Jan. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief'. 25 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief." January 25, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief." January 25, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Personal Loss, Bereavement and Grief." January 25, 2023.