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Finding Your Way: Dealing with Grief


What can we expect from grief?

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Loneliness
  • Panic/Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Shock
  • Guilt

These are just some of the reactions you can expect after experiencing a profound loss. Understanding and dealing with grief can help us face the many changes we will experience. It will leave us deeply affected, and impacted. It is necessary to work through the emotions and behaviors associated with loss or they could manifest themselves through symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Accepting and experiencing the reality and pain of grief is probably the hardest work an individual will face. If you think you need help in your grief, talking to a counselor or another supportive person may help you move forward in the healing process.


How can you support others who are grieving?

  • Be a good listener. Often just sitting with someone is a great support. Ask them about their loss; don't avoid it.

  • Ask if there are helpful things that you can do such as making telephone calls, offering to shop for them, etc.

  • Let them feel sad.

  • Don't minimize the grief, or tell them to get over it.

  • Acknowledge their loss and sadness.

  • Be available when you can. Accept your own limitations. Be supportive, but care for yourself too.

  • Be sensitive to the cyclic nature of the grief process. Be patient. Remember that grief can appear to come and go for no apparent reason. There is no fixed time in which the bereavement process should be over.

People who are grieving often feel isolated or lonely in their grief. Soon after the loss, social activities and support from others may decrease. As the shock of the loss fades, there is a tendency on the part of the griever to feel more pain and sadness. Well-meaning friends may avoid discussing the subject due to their own discomfort with grief or their fear of "making the person feel bad". They may "not know what to say".

People who grieve are likely to fluctuate between wanting some time to themselves and wanting closeness with others. They may want someone to talk about their feelings and experiences. Showing concern and thoughtfulness about a friend shows that you care. It’s better to feel nervous and awkward sitting with a grieving friend than not to be there for them at all. This is a time to reaffirm the value in your relationship.

Learn more about grief and loss and the process of transforming this loss into hope, change and acceptance. Let us help.


University of Rhode Island resources:

  • Acknowledge their loss and sadness.

  • Be available when you can. Accept your own limitations. Be supportive, but care for yourself too.

  • Be sensitive to the cyclic nature of the grief process. Be patient. Remember that grief can appear to come and go for no apparent reason. There is no fixed time in which the bereavement process should be over.

  • Counseling Center, 401.874-2288

  • Health Services/Health Education, 401.874.5149

  • Courses in Thanatology (grief and loss), 401.874.2766

  • Office of Student Life, 401.874.2101

  • Chaplains offices:

    Catholic Center, 401.874.2324
    Jewish, 401.874.2740
    Episcopal, 401.874.2739
    United Ministry at URI/Protestant, 401.874.4784

  • See www.uri.edu for further links to departments and services.

For more information about grief resources please consider visiting www.growthhouse.org.

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