top of page

Grief - You are Not Alone

By Larry Dawalt, M. Div., CT, CTSS

Having been in the ‘grief business’ for much of my adult life, I am consistently looking for words to help people understand what grief is and also what it is not. While there is no single absolute definition that covers grief in its entirety, I recently found three explanations in a blog by Russell Friedman that are certainly important contributions to the discussion. His first and most basic definition states that

‘Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Of itself, grief is neither a pathological condition nor a personality disorder.’

While that definition works in a classroom setting, it doesn’t exactly explain seemingly endless tears, sleepless nights, and the morning startle of awakening to find him/her still gone. The second definition is more personal and a little closer to reality, writing that

‘Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.’