What is grief?

Grief is normal after any difficult changes and losses we experience. It’s the process that helps us to gradually adjust to what’s happened, so we can begin to move forward again.

Victims and witnesses of crime, trauma, or disaster will often find themselves grieving for how things were before, and what they have lost. For a while, the grief experience can be intense and unpredictable. It can feel as up and down as a roller coaster. Thoughts and emotions can be strong and hard to handle. Even though these reactions are normal, some people say they wonder if they’re going crazy. But over time, most people find the intensity begins to gradually ease.

Young man in deep thought

"I was starting to do okay and then got swamped by some big grief waves. It turns out my grief has its own agenda, but it is helping me get my head around what's happened. I'm thinking now it'll just take the time it needs to take."

Knowing the sorts of things to expect during grief can be helpful, as well as having some ways to cope.  There are no right or wrong ways to grieve and no rules to follow. Everyone does it differently, because we’re all different. Your grief experience will be like your fingerprint – unique to you.


Coping with traumatic grief