Throughout life, everyone will experience a loss that is devastating and immobilizing. In fact, one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them before they reach age 18. Feelings of grief and loss commonly surface after the death of a loved one (human or pet), a job, a relationship, or an incomplete pregnancy.
Grief can affect an individual mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can be so overwhelming that the person is left feeling sad, hopeless, isolated, irritable, and numb. Grief in children can be life-altering if they have no skills with which to handle such loss.
It is important to understand that healing from grief is a process and everyone copes differently, experiences symptoms differently, and behaves differently. Those trying to help a grief-stricken friend or family member never know what to say or do, but you should know that your efforts to help will require patience. The individual's emotions and behaviors, as well as your own grief-stricken responses, can all be different from anything you've experienced in the past; and all are acceptable unless harmful to self or others.
Also know that the grief process can last up to a year. Most grief-stricken individuals do not believe that others understand what they are feeling or thinking. If you believe that the individual is struggling too much, please recommend counseling. A professional counselor provides a safe and confidential environment where grief can be fully shared.