Scope of Grief Response

The following list mentions the wide range of normal responses you may have after a loss or change in your life. Some responses may be immediate and of short duration, while others may only appear after weeks and months. It is helpful to learn about your personal response to loss and change and to recognize that each person responds differently to each loss and change they experience.

Mental
Overwhelmed
Hostility
Hallucinations
Absent-minded
Denial of loss
Confusion
Depression
Preoccupation
Self-destructive thoughts
Avoidance
Question values
Bargaining
Inability to focus
Shock
Disbelief
Sensing the deceased
Problems making decisions
Relief
Think you are going crazy

Physical
Exhaustion
Nausea
Sleep disturbances
Numbness
Dry mouth
Chest Pains
TMJ
Appetite changes
Headaches
Dizziness
Agitation
Digestive difficulties
Hyperactivity
Nervous energy
Heart pounding
Noise sensitivity
Increase in physical illness
Skin sensitivity
Shortness of breath

Emotional
Courage
Resilience
Helplessness
Irritable/resentment
Intense sadness
Fear
Joy
Overwhelmed
Shock
Low self-esteem
Peace
Numbness
Gratitude/relief
Mood swings
Anxiety
Vulnerability
Increase/decrease in all feelings
Anger
Guilt
Love
Fragility
All cried out

Behavioral
Restlessness
Avoid Reminders
Overactive
Cling to Reminders
Changes in Sexual Activity
Crying
Dreams
Visit Places
Disposal of Belongings
Increased Sensitivity
Need for Touch
Searching
Adventuring
Use Transitional Objects
Pick up deceased's mannerisms
Addictions

Social
Need for support of friends and family
Withdrawal from friends and family
Isolation
Increased dependency
Need to act normal
Need for normalcy
Relationship difficulties: romantic, friendship, family
Hypersensitivity to topics of loss
Need for rituals/routines
Changes in social status
Role change
Role reversals

Spiritual
Dreams
Visions
Visitations
Despair
Abandonment
Increase/decrease in faith/questions
Forgiveness
Belief in miracles
Curiosity about meaning/purpose of life/death
Question long held beliefs and values
Question meaning of pain and suffering
Anger at God or faith
Spiritual rituals no longer have meaning
Illness/death seen as punishment

This information came from HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield County. Phone: 303-449-7740, info@hospicecareonline.orgwww.hospicecareonline.org.

To return to Office of Victim Assistance's Grief and Loss/Death Overview page click here.