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Grief after bereavement or loss

Most people experience grief when they lose something or someone important to them. If these feelings are affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.

Support is also available if you're finding it hard to cope with stress, anxiety or depression

Symptoms of bereavement, grief and loss

Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms and they affect people in different ways. There's no right or wrong way to feel.

As well as bereavement, there are other types of loss such as the end of a relationship or losing a job or home.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • shock and numbness – this is usually the first reaction to loss, and people often talk about "being in a daze"
  • overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying
  • tiredness or exhaustion
  • anger – towards the person you've lost or the reason for your loss
  • guilt – for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or did not say, or not being able to stop your loved one dying

These feelings may not be there all the time and powerful feelings may appear unexpectedly.

It's not always easy to recognise when bereavement, grief or loss are the reason you're acting or feeling differently.

Stages of bereavement or grief

Experts generally accept that we go through 4 stages of bereavement or grief:

  1. Accepting that your loss is real
  2. Experiencing the pain of grief
  3. Adjusting to life without the person or thing you have lost
  4. Putting less emotional energy into grieving and putting it into something new

Most people go through all these stages, but you will not necessarily move smoothly from one to the next.

Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control, but these feelings will eventually become less intense over time.

Things to help with bereavement, grief and loss
The National Bereavement Service

The National Bereavement Service provides practical and emotional assistance after a death. If you or a loved one is experiencing loss, you can access free support today.

UK callers freecall 0800 0246 121

Helpful Links and Advice

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.


Telephone: 0808 808 1677

The Loss Foundation

Our charity has been providing free support groups for people who have lost their loved ones to cancer since early 2011. The aim of the support groups is to create regular spaces for people to share stories and experiences with others who have experienced a similar kind of loss.


Telephone: 0300 200 4112

The National Bereavement Service

The National Bereavement Service team comes from a variety of professional backgrounds, such as the NHS, legal, estate agency, business and funeral services and is committed to providing experienced information and advice to bereaved people.

Website: Bereavement Services: Free Support for Bereaved People (

Telephone: 0800 0246 121