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Why Do We Grieve?

Someone once said, "Grief is reaching out for someone who's always been there, only to find when you need them the most, one last time, they're gone." We think there is a lot of truth in those words.

The death of a loved one is life's most painful event. People's reactions to death remain one of society's least understood and most off-limit topics for discussion. Often, grievers feel totally alone in dealing with their pain, loneliness, and isolation. And they find themselves asking the question, "Why do we grieve?" 

Grief is a natural emotion that follows death of someone dear to you and to one degree or another, it hurts. It is like an open wound that must heal.

At times, it can seem as if this healing will never happen. And sometimes the healing process can take much less time than we have been led to believe. Grieving is purely an individual experience.

But It Does Have a Purpose

So, why do we grieve? The ultimate goal of grief and mourning is to take you beyond your initial reactions to the loss. The therapeutic purpose of grief and mourning is to get you to the place where you can live with the loss in a healthy way. To do this, you have to make some necessary changes in your life:

  1. Change your relationship with your loved one recognizing he or she is now gone. Develop new ways of relating to him or her. Take comfort in knowing your relationship will continue; it will just be different.
  2. Develop a new sense of yourself to reflect the many changes that occurred when you lost your loved one.
  3. Take on physically and mentally healthy new ways of being in the world without your loved one.
  4. Find new people, objects or pursuits to redirect your emotional investment from the one you placed in your relationship with the deceased.


The bottom line of this active work of grief and mourning is to help you recognize that your loved one is gone. You must then make the necessary internal, psychological changes as well as the necessary external, social changes, to accommodate this reality. It all takes time. 

If you would like additional grief support, or want to explore the answer to the question, "Why do we grieve?" in more depth, please call us. We are here to help you through all the moments after loss.