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Grief and Grieving - Cause

Grief and grieving are the natural response to a major loss. But any loss can cause feelings of grief, sometimes when you least expect it.

Losses that may cause grief include:

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  • Death of a loved one.
  • Being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease.
  • Disability from a severe accident or illness.
  • Divorce or the end of a relationship.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth.
  • The birth of a child with a birth defect.
  • A diagnosis of infertility.
  • Learning that your child or teen has developed a behavior problem, learning disability, or substance abuse disorder.
  • A move from a familiar home. This is especially hard for older adults.
  • Job loss.
  • Loss of independence after a serious accident or illness.
  • An act of violence or a natural disaster.

Grief can be also caused by a loss related to a normal, seemingly positive life change. Examples of such life events include:

  • Starting school (loss of the comfort of home and familiar surroundings).
  • Gaining increasing independence and self-responsibility in the late childhood and teen years (loss of dependence on parents).
  • Marriage (loss of independent decision making).
  • Birth of a child (loss of independence).
  • Retirement (loss of income, work-related identity, and daily social contact).
  • Aging and maturing (loss of physical strength and youthful appearance).

You may find that old feelings of grief from past loss can be triggered by current experiences or anniversaries of that loss. This is normal.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 17, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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