Grief is most commonly understood as a reaction to a death. However, death is just one of the many different types of losses that trigger grief. Here are five types of grief that people often experience that are not related to death:
1. Loss of Identity
This type of grief involves the loss of an important role or affiliation in life. Some examples of this include:
- Mourning the loss of the role of parent or caregiver when becoming an “empty nester” after children move out and become independent.
- Going through a divorce can elicit grief over the loss of the role or identity as a spouse.
- Grief surrounding the loss of professional role and identity can occur following job loss or retirement.
The loss of identity means grieving one’s sense of self. People derive much of their self-esteem and sense of purpose from their roles in life. Grieving involves finding other sources of purpose and meaning and integrating the loss into a new personal narrative.