Individual personal response through the dying, death and grief processes.

Author: Terry J, Bonebrake |

Personal emotional responses to grief are as variable as persons on the planet, though may present in extreme ways as a result of culture, age and the length of time since the loss (Howarth, R 2011).    Research tends towards an agreement that a normal grief process oscillates between confrontation of the loss and compartmentalizing it in order to most effectively reorganize one’s life without the presence of the deceased (Neimeyer, 2014).  A linear display of the stages of grief primarily assists the professional in defining the presence of more complicated grief processes of those who remain after death. 

            The reaction to the dying process of the individual experiencing can have a positive or negative affect upon those chosen to be a part of the process.  For example, if a person seems to be at peace with dying, a significant other or child can interpret their response as apathetic.  This can be a source of tension in the relation intending to accuse the dying person of ‘giving up’ and could be an attempt to persuade the person to alter their seemingly peaceful acquisition to death by a refusal of medical treatment. 

            The dying individual indeed travels through the grief process, and yet problems associated with an unsuccessful grief process traditionally has been understood in relation to the life of the individual mourner (Neimeyer, 2014).  Upon the actual death, the significant persons remaining may exhibit an immediate shock response leading to a denial of what has transpired.  This can be swiftly turned upon the deceased individual as anger for not fighting harder to remain with them in this life.  

            At the risk of over-simplifying the grief process, I believe that the final resultant hope is for survivors of the deceased person to acquire a peaceful release of the extreme emotions which can surface in the immediate presence of a loss. 


Neimeyer, Robert A. (2014) The changing face of grief: Contemporary directions in theory, research, and practice. Progress in Palliative Care, 22(3), 125-130. doi:10.1179/1743291X13Y.0000000075

Howarth, R. A. (2011). Concepts and controversies in grief and loss American Mental Health Counselors Association. Retrieved from