Bereavement Services

Location Information

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions to Bridge Bereavement Services. Hopefully these FAQs will answer some questions you may have about grief, loss and support while experiencing the loss of a loved one. 

What is grief and why does it happen?
Grief encompasses the internal thoughts and feelings caused by someone’s death. The feelings of grief can not only be felt emotionally, but physically as well. Here you will find some of the ways that grief can be felt:

  • Physical Reactions
    • Loss of appetite/overeating
    • Inability to sleep
    • Blood pressure, headaches, stomach and digestive issues
  • Behavioral Reactions
    • Withdrawn, quiet, limited conversation
    • Hyperactivity – excess energy from stress/anxiety
    • Reckless behaviors (drugs or alcohol) to numb/escape the feelings
  • Cognitive Reactions
    • Reduced attention span and forgetfulness
    • Idealization of the past, future and of the individual
    • Thoughts such as “I made this happen”
  • Emotional Reactions
    • Self-blame/guilt: “I could have…” “Should have…” “If only…”
    • Anger at the situation, God, unfairness, or others
    • Helpless or hopeless
    • Anxiety
  • Spiritual Reactions    
    • Why did God let this happen?
    • Questioning of the belief system as a whole

What is mourning, and is it different than grief?
Mourning is quite different than grief as it is the outward expression of grief. Crying, wearing black to a funeral, listening to music and journaling about your feelings are all signs of mourning.

How is grief different than depression?
It is only natural for someone to feel sadness and depression when a loved one dies. Experiencing these emotions does not always mean that someone is suffering from clinical depression, but it is possible.

One thing to note is that grief tends to be trigger-related. In other words, events such as the deceased loved one’s birthday or a holiday may cause the feelings to resurface intensely. In grief, the bereaved may feel better when friends and family are around to offer support, but an individual experiencing depression will find very little relief in their symptoms from time spent with friends and family.

Grief can be exhausting and has physical effects, as well. However, if you are feeling totally immobilized by your grief or are having thoughts of suicide, get help immediately. These may be indicators of clinical depression. Only a professional (physician or mental health professional) can diagnose clinical depression. Hold on to hope. Remember that you can find your new normal without your loved one.  

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.

Do children experience grief? 
Yes. A child of any age has the capacity to love, and grief is a natural reaction to a loss. What children understand about death and how they express their grief is unique to the child and their age. Being honest to children about death and loss is key to provide a healthy environment for children to heal.  

There are many helpful resources available for adults to explain death to children of any age, and there are also many grief groups/camps available to help show children healthy coping mechanisms for coping with loss. Having the love and support from adults during trying times of grief is vital to child’s healing.

Should children attend funerals?
A funeral or memorial service honors a life lived.  If a child was part of that life, it is only natural to allow them to attend. If he/she is not comfortable with attending do not force the child, but gentle encouragement to attend could be effective. Remember that children observe the adults in their life for cues on appropriate behavior. They will also do this with grief, so do not be afraid to show your emotions and expression of them in a healthy way (i.e. crying).

How long will grief last?
While ultimately people want to know when they will feel better, we cannot pinpoint a time frame for each individual and their unique grief process. It seems more helpful to think of grief as a life experience that you are going through and not so much as a task to overcome. Rest assured, through healthy expression, healthy distractions, good support and self-care, the grief process will continue and eventually the intensity of the pain will dissipate.

What kind of support is available to me?
There are a vast number of supports available to find comfort in a time of grief, and what is helpful to one person may be of less interest to another. Here are a few support options and ways to take care of yourself: Find supportive people in your life who will stand by you and walk this journey with you.

  • Friends tend to fall into groups such as the “Doers” who wash your dishes, buy your groceries and take the dog for a walk, “Listeners” who grab the box of tissues and let you cry and vent to them, and the “Distractors” who encourage you to take a much needed walk, play that missed round of golf or see a new comedy movie.
  • Support groups offer a safe space to share your feelings, thoughts and experiences with other individuals who are also going through the grief process. The bereaved have the ability to learn how others are coping with daily tasks, as well as find support in others who are experiencing or have experienced something similar to what you are going through.

Bereavement counselors are specially trained in grief and loss issues and are able to help individuals identify triggers of grief, differentiate between grief and depression, and normalize the grief experience.

Our bereavement specialists are here to help you. We welcome any question you may have about the bereavement process in adults and children. You can call us at 419.423.5351 or email