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What are the normal types of grief?

Carol Milardo Floriani
Hospice Nursing

The normal types of grief include crying or expressing emotion, based on one's cultural socialization, during the acute period of loss or during times of remembrance of the loss. Being able to go on with one's life with minimal disruption. Loosing the ability to function as before, or being paralyzed by the pain of loss, is an indication to seek professional help, such as a grief counselor.

There are various kinds of normal grief. Here is a brief synopsis of some types of grief:

Anticipatory grief: This kind of grief is experienced when a loved one is expected to die soon, such as in cases of terminal illness or in the case of an ailing, elderly family member. Although painful, some psychologists theorize this type of grief may help to make the post-death grief process shorter because many of the related emotions have been worked through ahead of time.

Unanticipated grief: This kind of grief is usually associated with an unexpected loss, such as from a heart attack, an accident, or other unexpected event.

Ambiguous grief: This kind of grief can result when there is little or no closure about a tragic or unfortunate event. For instance, this can occur if a loved one is kidnapped and never found, a parent abandons a child, a child abandons a parent, or a pet runs away.

The way a person responds to grief is related to several factors. For example, the length and level of grief is related to the closeness of the relationship between the deceased and the griever. Different people also have different coping capabilities, so one person may bounce back more quickly than someone less resilient.

Life experience plays a role, too, when it comes to response to grief. Someone who has been through more loss may be able to draw on prior experiences to help manage their current grief more easily.

A solid support system is essential to the grief process. Those surrounded by loved ones tend to recover in a healthier manner than others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.