The definition of Grief –

In the “Grief Recovery Method®”, an action program for moving beyond death, divorce and other losses, by John W. James and Russell Friedman, we define grief as follows:

  1. “Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind. While grief is normal and natural, and clearly the most powerful of all emotions, it is also the most neglected and misunderstood experience, often by both, the grievers and those around them.”
  2. The conflicting feelings that come at the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior or life.
  3. The feeling of reaching out for someone who has ALWAYS been there, only to discover, when you want/need them one more time, they are not there.
  4. The feeling of reaching out for someone who has NEVER been there when/how we needed them, only to discover, when you want them one more time, they are STILL not there.
  5. The result of undelivered communication: things we wish had ended different, better; or more; the loss of hopes, dreams and expectations.

As you can see by the above definitions – grief is a universal experience. And it is not limited to mourning the death of a loved one. ANY major change in life can cause an overwhelming response of conflicting feelings all at once – and that experience is what we call grief. What does that mean? Here are some examples:

  • Losses: Death, divorce, health, career, faith etc.
  • Major changes: Retirement, a major move, marriage, pregnancy, even a promotion, a job change, the new dream house… – yes, conflicting feelings accompany negative as well as positive change in life. And if not processed, the feelings we push down, ignore or skip over, can result in lingering effects from unresolved grief.
  • Complex grief: growing up or living in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home, PTSD, prolonged grief (for example in an unhappy marriage, job or other lingering unhappy life situation), grief that has been minimized (pet loss, loss of health of a loved one, or even some of the positive events that you didn’t allow yourself to feel all the feelings that could have come up…)

The Grief Recovery Method provides a step-by-step guide with the specific actions needed to move beyond the sense of loss in any of these situations.

Do you have a new insight that moved, touched or inspired you? Was there anything in these definitions that was new to you, and brought a sense of relief – if so, what was it?


The Grief Recovery Method(R) by John W. James and Russel Friedman


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