Friday Study Ministries- The First Church on the Internet

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Grief  and Bereavement



Grief Support Community ©

With approval & permission, this includes some general information from the

"Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted"
(Matthew 5:4

Grieving stages/phases to the loss of a loved one, other losses or change.

  • Shock

  • Strong Emotion

  • Depression and Loneliness

  • Fear and Panic

  • Guilt

  • Anger

  • Apathy Adjustment

4 Tasks of Mourning

Task I       To Accept the Reality of a Loss

Task II     To Experience the Pain of Grief

Task III   To Adjust to an Environment in
                     which the Deceased is Missing

Task IV    To Withdraw Emotional Energy and
                     Reinvest It

                   What is Grief?  What is Mourning?

Grief is the response brought about by loss or change. It is not just the loss of a loved one, but also from the changes in our lives, such as divorce, moving, changing a job or career, as well as situational changes. The difficulty in overcoming the effects of grief depends on the nature and depth of the loss. To feel and experience grief after the loss of someone we love and care for is normal, natural, and expected. It is a normal human reaction to loss or change. Grieving is done in a wide variety of ways involving the four (4) dimensions of our lives: mental, social, spiritual & physical areas.

Grieving is recognized by psychiatry as a normal and necessary reaction to loss of someone we love. There are very complex reactions accompanied by a wide range of contradictory emotions and distorted behaviors.

Because of the wide variety of behaviors and variety of human responses, grieving persons are often surprised, bewildered and perplexed by their seeming inability to recover or “feel normal.” Prior normal coping skills that enabled them to "handle' emotional or stressful crisis in the past, now are somehow ineffective. The consequences are additional feelings of frustration, depression and even despair as their lives become increasingly dysfunctional.

Grief often surfaces as the underlying cause of various physical and mental aberrations. People seek physical and mental health care without necessarily recognizing that there may be a grief issue underlying their particular physical and mental condition. Aaron Lazare, a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, estimates that 10-15% of the people who pass through the mental health clinics at the Massachusetts General Hospital have underneath their particular psychological condition, an unresolved grief reaction (Lazare, 1979).

Normal Grief Responses

Most people who suffer a loss, experience one or more of the following:

Initially denial of the loss along with feelings of shock and numbness. “I can’t believe he is gone!”

Enormous feelings of sadness, sorrow, emptiness and loss of meaning as well as purpose in life.

Restless activity yet difficulty concentrating. Aimless wandering, unfinished tasks, forgetfulness.

Idealized memories of the deceased person along with intense preoccupation of the life of the loved one.

Strong need to remember, relive, tell and retell memories of the loved one, often of the event and experiences related to, or associated with the death.

Insomnia frequent dreams about the loved one, sometimes of nightmarish quality.

Difficulty with eating either increased or decreased appetite.

Overwhelming, uncontrollable need to cry, often at unexpected or awkward times.

Identification with the deceased person, sometimes assuming traits and mannerisms of the deceased.

Selective sharing about or feelings of loss, no matter how desperate we are, to protect others who w\seem uncomfortable around us.

A sense of feeling the deceased person present in the room or nearby. Even hallucinations of seeing the person occur for some grieving people.

Tightness in the throat stomach, or chest pain, shortness of breath, a need for signing deep and often, and empty feeling in the abdomen, decreased muscle strength, increased weariness, exhaustion and lack of energy.


        The personal experience of loss or change

There are emotional reactions, stages or phases that the grieving person will experience following the death of the loved one.

 Emotional reactions, stages, or phases of grief:

  • Shock

  • Strong emotion

  • Depression and loneliness

  • Fear and panic

  • Guilt

  • Anger

  • Apathy

  • Adjustment

The grieving person will experience these perhaps some but not all and not in any order. Grieving persons will revisit the emotional reactions to their loss many times over during the acute phase of their loss, in the first few years post-death of their loved one. Acute, raw grief endures for 1-2 years or a bit longer. One never gets over the death of a loved one but can get through it with the help of grief support groups. In the event of a person feeling “stuck” or prolonged in their grief, the help of professional counseling must be sought out.

The grieving person needs to know and rehearse often:

Everything you feel
And experience
In your grief
Is normal


You are not going crazy!

Guidelines for Caring Friends of the Grieving Person

  1. I will need you to just listen to me whatever I may be saying, and to accept me however I may be acting.
  2. I do not need your advice right now; I need your supportive listening.
  3. When I ask you to listen to me I need you to not say that I shouldn’t feel this way, that is trampling on my fragile feelings. Rejecting my feelings is rejecting me.
  4. As strange as it may seem, when I ask you to listen to me & you try to solve my problems, you have failed to help me.
  5. I am not helpless during this time of loss and grieving. I may be discouraged, and faltering but not helpless. Doing something that I can and should be doing for myself contributes to my fears and feelings of inadequacy plus increases my sense of dependency.
  6. Please share with me your positive memories and experiences of my loved one, even if it makes me cry. This is good for me.
  7. My irrational feelings and awkward moments will make sense to you when you understand that this is how I am feeing, no matter how irrational they may seem to you.
  8. There are no magic words you could say, so relax and just let me be the grieving person I need to be.
  9. Prayer works wonderfully for the grieving person – God is my great listener.

       Helping Grieving People


  • Do let your genuine caring, emotions and concern show freely.

  • Do be available to listen, run errands, help with the Children or any other felt need that will be supportive help for the grieving person.

  • Do say you are sorry about what happened to their loved one and about their pain.

  • Do allow the grieving person to express as much grief as they are feeling at the moment and are willing to share.

  • Do talk about the special endearing qualities of the person they have lost.

  • Do give special attention to the members of the family at the funeral, and in the months to come. They are hurting also just as the grieving person.


  • Don’t avoid the grieving persona because of your own awkwardness or sense of helplessness.

  • Don’t allow your own grief for the loss of the person to cause you to avoid the grieving person.

  • Don’t say “I know how you feel.”

  • Don’t offer solutions of the replacement to them (they can always have another child or get married again).

  • Don’t avoid using the deceased person’s name because it may cause them to cry. Crying is normal, healthy, reaction of loss.

  • Don’t try to offer a positive reason for the death of the person.

For more information, you can contact New Hope Grief Support Community here:

New Hope Grief Support Community
P.O. Box 8057
Long Beach, California 90808

Adults and Children's Grief Support Handbooks are available.  Contact New Hope Grief Support Community for more information & resources.


Look for healthy/unhealthy responses, reactions  and/or excessive behaviors through your grief journey

Grief Community Support

        * Need to love and be loved
        * Need to belong and have a sense of community
        * Need to give and receive

        * Avoid isolation - Take the risk to reach out
        * Give yourself permission to feel
        * Express emotions naturally

             Diagram by Gen and Ron Beckham

Bereavement Resources

Books and Booklets:

The Holy Bible, The Old and New Testament

Good Grief - by Granger E. Westberg, - Fortress Press

New Hope Grief Support Handbooks for adults and children – Contact Sue Beeney at New Hope Grief Support Community, PO Box 8057 , Long Beach , CA  90808 / 562-429-0075 -

Widow To Widow - by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg, M.S., - Fisher Books

Getting to the Other Side of Grief by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, R.N., Ed.D. and  Robert De Vries, D.Min., Ph.D, - Baker Books  

A Grace Disguised by Gerald Sittser, Zondervan Publishing House

A Grief Observed – by C. S. Lewis, - HarperCollins San Francisco

Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy by J. William Worden, Ph.D.

Roses in December by Marilyn Willett Heavilin, - Thomas Nelson Publishers

December’s Song by Marilyn Willett Heavilin, - Thomas Nelson Publishers

Let Me Grieve But Not Forever by Verdell Davis, - Word Publishing

When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson, Tyndale House Publishers   

Lightposts for Living – by Thomas Kinkade, Warner Books, (also in Audio Book)

A Step Further by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes, -  Zondervan Publishing

Overcoming Loneliness by David Jeremiah, - Thomas Nelson Publishers

You Gotta Keep Dancin’ by Tim Hansel, Chariot Victor Publishing

Care Notes Pamphlets
by One Caring Place, Abbey Press 1-800-325-2511

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, Avon Books

When Going to Pieces Holds You Together: You can Find Healing When You Allow Yourself To Grieve - by William Miller, Augsburg Publishing House  

Healing Grief by Amy Hillyard, Medic Publishing

Healing a Father’s Grief by William H. Schatz, Medic Publishing  1-206-881-2883

Devotions for Morning and Evening with Mrs. Charles E. Cowman – containing Streams in the Desert and Springs in the Valley by Inspirational Press

The Bereaved Parent by Harriot Sarnoff Schiff, Crown Publishers & Penquin

        Books Paperback

Living When a Loved One Has Died by Earl Grollman, Bekin Press

Your Grief: You Are Not Going Crazy – by MADD Publishing

A Man Called Peter – by Cathrine Marshall

A Gift of Hope: How We Survive Our Tragedies by Robert Veninga, Ballantine Books

“Journeys” – A monthly publication and literature by Hospice Foundation of America 1-202-638-5419 / Fax 1-202-638-5312

Grief: A Climb Toward Understanding by Phyllis Davies -  Sunnybank Publishers.  A book on the death of a child and valuable bereavement information.

Good Grief For Life’s Love Lost by St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, Los Olivos , CA - Lucky Canyon Publishing –


Zig Ziglar - Confessions of a Grieving Christian, - Thomas Nelson Word Publishers

Shadowlands – Based on the true story of C. S. Lewis

Picking Up The Pieces produced videos titled - “Someone you love is dying”  “Living With Grief After Sudden Loss” and “Working Through Your Grief” - Available through Luyben Family Mortuaries – 562-425-6401

Support Organizations:

The Compassionate Friends, Oak  Brook ,IL (1-310-368-6845)
An international support group for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings.

Umbrella Ministries – Support for parents who grieve the loss a child for any reason.  Daisy Cathchings – 1-760-328-7142

Grief Resources – Bill Hoy – 562-430-8405 – Support resources, seminars and training.  

Friday Study Ministries – The First Church on the Net - Spiritual support & resources -

AOWAC - Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition

New Hope Grief Support Community Sue Beeney , R.N.
562-429-0075 / PO Box 8057,
Long Beach, CA 90808 -

Stepping Stones Ministries - Personalized memorial stepping stones – Cathi Corgiat –209-551-8347

MADD, Mothers of Drunk Drivers – based in Texas  

Philippian Ministries – in Texas – 1-214-343-8093