Understanding The Grief Process




  • Shock
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic
  • Guilt
  • Anger (at God, medical personnel, yourself, the deceased)
  • Fear (of being alone, of leaving the house, of being in the house)
  • Relief
  • Yearning
  • Gradual Hope
  • Tightness in chest
  • Breathlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Changing in eating habits
  • Stomach aches
  • Lump in throat
  • Headaches
  • Inability to sleep
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Unpredictable and uncontrollable tearfulness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Busyness to evade reality
  • Preoccupation with the life of the deceased

You may find yourself busy immediately following your loved one’s death. It is important during this time to take things slowly and enlist the help of friends and family. You can expect to experience grief for a long time. Be prepared for the possibility of unexpected feelings of bereavement months and even years after your loved one’s death. This is normal. Grief is a normal, healthy, and human response to loss. It is painful and can seem unbearable at times. Many emotions come and go. The length and difficulty of the grieving process varies from person to person. Grief does not follow a timeline, but it does ease over time. This process can offer an opportunity for personal growth.

A mourning period of a year or more is quite normal, but society often finds it difficult to tolerate a person’s grieving for more than a week or two. Family, friends, and colleagues may become concerned or even impatient if the grieving continues.Support from friends and family may decrease after the funeral/memorial service. You do not have to go through the grieving process alone. The Harmony Hospice Bereavement Team is available to you. They can offer support in any way you might find helpful.If you need support immediately and have not heard from a member of our team, do not hesitate to call the Harmony Hospice office at 509-758-2568 and express your need.


When ignored grief can continue to cause pain. It is important to recognize grieving, even though it is very difficult work. Allow yourself to feel all emotions that arise and be patient with yourself.

  • Realize your grief is unique
  • Get your rest
  • Journal
  • Meditate
  • Seek out friends who can encourage and support you
  • Get involved in a support group
  • Postpone all major decisions
  • Give in to your pain
  • Realize that grief has no timetable
  • Talk about your sorrow
  • Forgive yourself
  • Eat well and exercise
  • Indulge yourself by doing something that is frivolous and distracting that you enjoy
  • Prepare for holidays and anniversaries
  • Take steps to create a new life for yourself
  • Change traditions that may no longer be comfortable