What is grief response?

About Grief

The important thing to understand about grief is that it manifests itself in different ways in different people. Typical grief responses are as follows, but they vary from person to person.


[Emotions more likely to occur]

1.Shock, numbness and paralysis

Feeling that what happened is not real, they become stunned, feeling numb. Sometimes the bereaved might look calm and seem not be as sad as surrounding people.



They don’t want to admit or accept the facts.


3.A sense of hopelessness and helplessness

They can’t find meaning in life nor hope. They feel they don’t have the strength to do anything, and sometimes they even feel like ending their own life.


4.Fear and anxiety

The fear of not being in control, the fear of being alone,the fear that the same thing might happen again, the fear that this world is full of danger that no place is safe, etc.

*Some sounds, smells, and textures can cause fear, sadness, and panic.



A feeling of sadness that the person will never come back, that they will never see that person again, and that life with that person will never return.



A strong desire to meet and resume life with the deceased.



Feeling angry at death (anger at God and fate) and at those involved in the scene, the circumstances and cause of death. Feeling angry at those who don’t understand how the bereaved feel, feeling angry at the injustice of it happening to their family…. Or feeling angry at themselves for not being able to help their own family, etc.


8.Regret and self-blame

“If only I had done this (if only I hadn’t done this) at that time…” or “It’s my fault…”. Or “I could have protected you better…”, or “how I could be the only one who survived.

*Particularly after the loss of a loved one, this is called survivor’s guilt. It has been known to produce a strong sense of self-blame.


9.Hope for a miracle

The desire to hold on to the hope that “they might be alive somewhere,” “they will come back.”



Sometimes, the bereaved feel ashamed, feeling they are useless, being unable to act like they used to, or crying easily.  They feel ashamed of themselves when they imagine how others perceive their bereavement.


[Common thoughts, behaviors, physical symptoms, etc.]

1.Rumination, repeatedly thinking about death or the deceased

he deceased and their death repeatedly come to mind, and they constantly think about the deceased. They keep wondering how it happened, why it happened to them, how it could have been prevented. Some people have nightmares about death or dream about the deceased.


2.Lack of concentration

They feel they can’t concentrate on what they are doing, feeling that their ability to think and make decisions is impaired, etc.


3.Behavioral changes

Crying more than before, being in a daze throughout the day, avoiding remembering the event or the deceased, and clinging to belongings of the deceased, etc.

Pay attention to people who engage in inappropriate coping behaviors, such as being too busy, withdrawing, or increasing their alcohol or drug intake.


4.Physical symptoms that are likely to occur

Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, extreme fatigue (tiredness), pain in the chest, head or abdomen, dizziness, feeling thirsty, throat congestion, breathlessness, feeling body weakness, increased blood pressure and heart rate, sensitivity to sounds and smells, etc.


5.Effects on relationships with family members and friends

Feeling lonely even when family and friends are around, yet at the same time feeling anxious unless someone else is present.


*Source: Disaster leaflet for bereaved families “Coping with Trauma and Loss, Cruse Bereavement Care.