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  • Writer's pictureKindra Beck

Grief: Understanding Loss and Change

Updated: 5 days ago


Heidi Dunstan
Grief Coach

What is grief? How do we experience grief daily? What are the different forms of grief? In a recent podcast with Heidi Dunstan on The Aftermath: The Epidemic of Divorce, Custody and Healing, we talk all things grief. This blog summarizes some of the important topics.


Grief is an intricate part of the human experience, one that touches us all in various forms throughout our lives. It is not confined to the sorrow we feel when a loved one passes away; it is an ever-present companion whenever we undergo significant changes or losses. In this podcast script, we delve into the multifaceted nature of grief, exploring its different dimensions, stages, and the importance of making space for it in our lives.


What is Grief?

  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to loss or change.

  • It extends beyond bereavement and encompasses various life transitions.

  • Examples of grief-inducing changes: empty nest syndrome, health issues, divorce, relocation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Grief is a universal human experience; it affects us all in diverse ways.


The Grief Cycle vs. Reality

  • The Kubler-Ross grief cycle (DABDA) is a classic framework, but it's often misunderstood.

  • It was originally intended to describe the stages of accepting one's impending death, not the stages of grieving.

  • Grief doesn't follow a linear path; it's not a one-and-done process.

  • Grief is a hot mess of emotions, and it's perfectly normal to revisit various stages.


The Uniqueness of Grief

  • Everyone experiences and copes with grief differently; it's as unique as a fingerprint.

  • There is no "right" or "wrong" way to grieve.

  • Two people can face similar losses, but their responses may vary drastically.

  • Understanding and respecting individual grief journeys is crucial.


Anticipatory Grief

  • Anticipatory grief occurs before a loss becomes a reality.

  • It's a normal reaction when you know a relationship is ending, like in divorce.

  • The decision to end a relationship is still accompanied by grief because it means letting go of shared aspects of life.


Recognizing Grief

  • Identifying grief involves acknowledging the wide range of emotions associated with it.

  • Grief is an umbrella term encompassing sadness, anger, regret, hopelessness, guilt, gratitude, hope, relief, and more.

  • The importance of understanding that grief is a natural response to losing something we care about.


Coping Strategies for Grief

  • Society often discourages facing pain and encourages avoiding it.

  • To move through grief, you must make space for your emotions.

  • Different coping mechanisms work for different people; some find solace in gratitude, while others may lean on support from friends and family.


Continuous Grief

  • Grief can be ongoing, especially in situations like divorce and parental alienation.

  • Coping with the ongoing nature of grief, such as the loss of daily family life in the case of divorce.

  • Recognizing that grief doesn't have a fixed endpoint; it may ebb and flow throughout life.


Grief All Around Us

  • Grief is a constant presence in our lives, often hidden behind our daily routines.

  • Examples of grief in daily life: empty nest syndrome, illness, relationship changes, and more.

  • Understanding that we are all navigating our personal journeys of grief, even when it's not readily apparent.


Embracing Grief as a Companion

  • Grief is an integral part of our existence, accompanying us through life's transitions and changes.

  • By acknowledging and making space for our grief, we can navigate these challenging moments with authenticity and compassion.

  • Remember that your grief journey is unique, and it's okay not to have all the answers; what matters is your willingness to confront your emotions and heal in your own time.


Grief is a complex and ever-evolving process. It's essential to create a space where we can openly discuss and support one another as we grapple with life's losses and changes. Whether you're facing the end of a relationship, the departure of a loved one, or any other significant life shift, understanding the multifaceted nature of grief can help you navigate these turbulent waters with resilience and grace.


Hear the full podcast here

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