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On Grief and Loss: Am I Supposed to Feel this Way?

Grief can be an isolating and frightening experience. The death of a loved one inevitably prompts us to experience many feelings and thoughts as our lives are forever changed. Death is rarely expected. We spend little time thinking about it, preparing for it. Is it any wonder then, that we rush to regain order and routine when we encounter loss? This chaotic force pulls us from our daily lives to confront us with uncertainty and sorrow. We can sometimes react by searching for a way back into the “normal” life.

               Many of my own grieving clients have come to counseling asking the question, “am I still supposed to feel this way?” This question shows that many people expect or hope that the human experience of grief has a natural course that can be followed to insure a healthy and satisfying resolution. As more research is being done on the universal experience of grief, the more we understand that everyone experiences grief and loss in a unique way.

A publicly posted presentation on healthy and unhealthy grief ( explores the many different areas of our lives that can be touched by grief. The Kubler-Ross model for grieving has long been thought of as a static and orderly description of every individual’s reaction to grief. This view has changed over the years. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the creator of this model, has stated that not all individuals should experience these stages. This model simply describes some of the most common reactions to grief.

               So how do we know if we are grieving in healthy way? Many descriptions of unhealthy grieving describe an avoidance of grieving and a suppression of feelings related to the loss of the loved one. This can help us avoid the pain, but we also do not process this powerful and important event in our lives. Without this acceptance we can struggle to move on. If you believe that you are struggling to work through your grief, please consider calling for more information or schedule time to see one of our counselors who can help you work through your personal loss.