What are the normal types of grief?

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.

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.

Continue Learning about Grief & Emotional Health

6 Ways Grief Affects Your Health
6 Ways Grief Affects Your Health
If you've ever experienced the loss of a loved one, you've likely confronted a period of grief and mourning in the days, weeks and months following th...
Read More
How can I tell people that I need time alone while I am grieving?
Michael E. Hirsch, MDMichael E. Hirsch, MD
Leave the door open. You may wish everyone would just go away and leave you alone to sort through yo...
More Answers
What are the benefits of the grieving process?
Lara Honos-Webb, PhDLara Honos-Webb, PhD
There comes a time in the process of grief when grieving no longer means dwelling on the emptine...
More Answers
The Long Island Medium on Grieving Positively
The Long Island Medium on Grieving Positively

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.