Definition of Grief

My favorite definition of grief is that grief is the complex set of emotions that result when you need someone one more time and you reach out for them only to find out they are no longer there. Grief is the natural, human response to a significant loss. When you experience grief, it is because your heart is seeking a way to heal your broken heart. Grief occurs when there is a loss of connection with a person, pet, community or way of life.

People experience and express grief in unique ways. No two losses are the same between people and even for the same person at different times. One can experience grief symptoms on multiple levels:






Definition of Grief is impacted by Culture and Past Experiences

How you define and experience grief is impacted by cultural traditions, your history of dealing with loss, experience of trauma, current stress and your belief systems.

In some cultures, people will describe their grief more in terms of aches and pains in their body rather than naming emotions. Some communities tend to be more stoic and believe grief is a private experience.  Other groups are very expressive and include wailing and mournful singing at funerals, even for several days after a death.

If you have other major losses in the past that have not been resolved, your current experience of grief may include a lot of memories of other grief events.  For example if you experience the death of a close friend, you may be surprised that you are having a lot of memories about a parent's death many years ago.

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Debbra Bronstad, Grief Recovery CoachDebbra Bronstad, LMFT, Grief Recovery Coach MI #4101006638


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How Long Does Grief Last?

This is a very common question among those experiencing grief.  I created this video to address this.

The length of time one spends grieving depends on multiple factors including:

  • the quality of the relationship when a person dies
  • whether or not there was unfinished business in the relationship
  • the personal investment in the relationship or with other losses such as a job, career, home or community
  • the quality of your social support
  • and more

When there has been a significant loss, usually after about 2-3 years people notice that the pain is not as intense as it once was.  You have more good days than bad.

However, other estimates for the loss of a spouse, for example suggest it can take 5-8 years for a broken heart to heal.

As a Grief Recovery Coach and Counselor I help my clients heal their broken hearts more quickly.  Together we take the specific steps necessary to heal after loss.

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