The back of a teenage boy looking down facing a blurred grey landscape.

Grief affects everyone differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.


Having someone close to you die is very difficult thing to go through. Whether it is a parent, grandparent, sibling, a friend, or a pet, it can bring up many emotions and feelings of grief. Grief affects everyone differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

It can take time to come to terms with the fact that things will never be the same again or that a person is no longer with you.

It is very important that you give yourself the space and time to experience these feelings. Try to remember that friends and family are there to support you and that if you would prefer to talk to someone who doesn’t know you, Childline is always here to listen.


Symptoms of Grief

When someone you love dies, shock can set in and you might feel numb at times. However, grief shows itself in many physical and emotional ways.

You might find yourself experiencing these feelings all at once or not at all – everyone’s loss is personal to them and no one feeling is more important than another.

Emotional Symptoms of Grief

Physical Symptoms of Grief

The Grieving Process

Grief often feels like your emotions are in a jumble and, for every step we take forward, we fall another two backwards. It is important to be kind to yourself and let yourself grieve at your own pace.

If you are grieving, you may recognise some of the emotions below:

  • Anger

    After a death it is normal to feel angry at the person for leaving you, at the situation or at the world for carrying on as normal.

  • Numbness and Shock 

    It can be hard to believe what has happened is real when someone you love dies. This comes from shock while your brain protects you from the pain by going numb. Talking about what has happened can help you process these feelings.

  • Guilt

    When someone we love dies, it is common to feel guilty about not having spent enough time with them, that you could have done something to stop the death or guilty that you are still alive. These are all normal feelings, but it is important to remember that death out of your control.

  • Sadness

    It is understandable to cry and feel overwhelmingly sad when someone you love dies. This can be a reflection on how much you miss them. You can manage your feelings of sadness by spending time thinking about your loved one, this may help you come to terms with their death.

  • Depression

    Sometimes your feelings of sadness can become more intense and can make things in your life like school, friendships or routine seem unimportant. These feelings of depression may be only for a short time or last longer, especially if you have experienced depression before. Remember Childline is always here to talk about these feelings.

  • Acceptance

    Accepting that you won’t see a loved one again takes time, is hard and looks different to everyone. Even when you have accepted the death, you can still feel sad and miss them, while at the same time you might find yourself laughing and enjoying life again. This does not mean that you have forgotten the person you love, your feelings for them are still there and your memories of them can help you move forward with your life.


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