Grief is a word for the range of feelings you may have following the death of someone close to you.

Grief can begin before the person dies. You may already have felt a sense of loss. You may have missed the way your relationship used to be and all the things you used to do together.

The thoughts and feelings you have will vary. At times they may be very intense and stop you doing things. At other times they may be in the background and you’ll find you can still do your day-to-day activities.

How you feel and react will depend on a number of different things, including:

  • the relationship you had with the person who died
  • whether their death was expected
  • how they died
  • any previous experience of death you have had.

Some people describe being overwhelmed and even frightened by the intensity of their feelings. Others describe feeling numb and that they can’t believe what has happened. You may have regrets about things you wish you had done or said. Or you may just wish you had more time together. Some people may feel relieved that their relative or friend is no longer suffering.

There is no right or wrong way to feel. Your feelings may change from day to day or even hour to hour. One day you may feel you are coping. The next day you may be overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and loneliness. It is quite normal to have ups and downs like this.

Back to Coping with bereavement

How grief can affect you

You may have many different emotional and physical symptoms after your relative or friend has died.

Your feelings

People describe having many different feelings after someone close to them has died.

Starting to move on

While life will change, most people find that they begin to adjust as time passes.

Prolonged grief

If you continue to find life difficult after a bereavement, it is important to get help and support.