Whenever most people think about grief, they think of what happens when a loved one passes away. Yes, that is the most commonly recognized form of grief. What is not so common is that grief naturally accompanies any type of loss. Although there are more, here are ten of the not-so-common situations when grief is a natural occurrence:

  1. Divorce – grieving the relationship that had been hoped for but did not become a reality, grieving for children that have lost a unified parental unit

  2. Disability – grieving the physical or mental abilities that were lost

  3. Estrangement from family or friends – loss of relationships that were dear, although the individual(s) is/are still alive

  4. Immigration – grieving the loss of home, country, and community

  5. Parenting a child with a disability – grieving the hoped-for life of that child, whereas now limitations are being realized that make the previous dreams unrealistic

  6. Loss of a job – loss of some purpose, financial income, title

  7. Competitive athlete injury – grief over the loss of capabilities and future aspirations

  8. Realizing someone isn’t who you thought they were – loss of the perceived relationship

  9. Being informed of adopted status (often more grief the older the adoptee is) – the loss of identity, confusion about belonging

  10. Infertility – grieving the biological children that may not come

The biggest space for grief to occur is the space between hopes or dreams vs reality. The void between those two is inhabited by grief. The bigger the space, the greater the grief.

Grief is a natural human emotion in response to loss, even perceived loss. There need not be shame associated with it, although it is uncomfortable and may seem inconvenient to have to process.

Although others in your family or social circle may not associate these losses with grief, a therapist will not discount the difficulty and the reality of the presence of grief. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help as you make efforts to navigate this often misunderstood emotional process.