Loss has many faces

Grief is often associated with the physical death of someone we care about.  While grief certainly is experienced when we lose someone we love, there are many different kinds of loss that might cause us to experience grief.

Grief is the natural and normal emotional response to loss of any kind.   It is conflicting feelings caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern of life.

Grief is the emotional pain we experience from loss and is what we mean when we talk about grief. The intensity of this pain is influenced by the depth of the relationship we had to the loss.

For many of us, when we experience loss that is not from the death of a person, it can be hard to understand what and why we are feeling what we do.

For example: when I experienced a change in my career, even though by my own choice, I experienced loss.  It was a significant change in my routine, lifestyle, and to a degree impacted my sense of identity and purpose. I experienced grief.

There are many different kinds of loss we may experience, and I wanted to share the following list with you.  I’m pretty sure it’s not exhaustive nor completely descriptive, but hopefully, it helps to illustrate that there are losses other than death that can produce stress and grief.  Being aware can help understand what we are experiencing and take action to heal our heart!


40+ Kinds of loss

  • Death of a spouse
  • Divorce
  • Marital separation
  • Imprisonment
  • Death of a close family member
  • Suicide
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Marriage
  • Dismissal from work
  • Marital reconciliation
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Child running away from home
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Change in health of family member
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Gain a new family member
  • Business readjustment
  • Change in financial state
  • Death of a close friend
  • Change to different line of work
  • Change in frequency of arguments
  • Loss as a result of dementia
  • Major mortgage
  • Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
  • Change in responsibilities at work
  • Child leaving home
  • Trouble with in-laws
  • Outstanding personal achievement
  • Spouse starts or stops work
  • Begin or end school
  • Change in living conditions
  • Revision of personal habits
  • Trouble with (change of) boss
  • Change in working hours or conditions
  • Change in residence
  • Change in schools
  • Change in recreation
  • Change in church activities
  • Change in social activities
  • Minor mortgage or loan
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Change in number of family reunions
  • Change in eating habits
  • Vacation
  • Christmas
  • Minor violation of law
  • Loss of Trust, 
  • Loss of Approval
  • Loss of Safety
  • Loss of Control of my body


source: Grief Recovery Institute


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