The first time someone described the pain I was feeling long after my divorce as grief, I cried. I had never considered that grief – a term more commonly associated with death – was what I had been experiencing as I tried to navigate (not very well at times) my new life. Grief. Just having someone name it immediately freed me from the guilt and confusion I was feeling over not “feeling better” or being “over it”. Naming it (shout out to my counsellor at the time) gave me permission to feel and eventually heal. Because grief, as it turns out, is not a linear process allotted a set period of time. It is different for everyone and, as I discovered, can ebb and flow through your life for many years, regardless of the type of loss and your connection to it.

It was in her legendary 1969 book, On Death and Dying, that psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, first outlined what she saw as the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And while the Kübler-Ross model is still referenced today, there is a greater understanding that while grief can include those five stages, it doesn’t always and it certainly does not have to follow that particular order. Further, we can experience grief about many things including the ending of relationships, around the holidays, things we thought would happen in our lives but didn’t, the passing of time and major life events (like kids leaving home), as well as death.

Are you grieving the loss of a relationship, something you expected/wanted in your life, a major life transition, or a death? We can help. Our counsellors are experienced in working with grief of all kinds.

More grief resources:

Grief expert and co-author with Kübler-Ross, David Kessler

Author of Love Notes to Grievers, Angela E. Morris

Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association