Bereavement means to be deprived of someone by death. The death of someone you love is one of the greatest losses that can occur. However, feelings of bereavement can also accompany other losses, such as the loss of your health or the health of someone you care about—or the end of an important relationship, through divorce, for example. Grief is a normal, healthy response to loss.

Everyone feels grief in their own way, but there are certain stages to the process of mourning. It starts with recognizing a loss and continues until a person eventually accepts that loss. People's responses to grief will vary depending upon the circumstances of the death.

For example, if the person who died had a chronic illness, the death may have been expected. The end of the person's suffering might even have come as a relief. If the death was accidental or violent, coming to a stage of acceptance could take longer.

Bereavement. Last reviewed 12/31/1969
  • AARP
  • National Cancer Institute
  • National Institutes of Health-Bethesda
  • National Institutes of Health-National Library of Medicine
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  • Mental Health Association
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  • National Funeral Directors Association