Coping With Loss

The Grieving Process

  • The grieving process can be slow and painful but you can cope.
  • It is important to allow yourself to experience your feelings.

Stages of Grief

While these stages are listed in an order, it is important to understand that you personally may experience them in any order or any one of them more than once. Grief is an individual experience and each person will differ in their process

  • Denial and Shock – It will be difficult to accept the loss of a friend and initially you may want to deny the reality of the situation. As you speak with others this denial will begin to fade.
  • Anger – You seek answers as to why this has happened and you displace your feelings toward others. With support your anger will subside and you will be able to move forward in your grieving process.
  • Bargaining – Often people try to bargain with a higher power. They offer a penance for the return of a lost loved one.
  • Guilt – You may experience guilt for something you did or something you now feel you shouldn’t have done before the loss.  Forgive yourself.
  • Depression – After the initial sense of loss, you may experience mood changes and feel isolated or the need to withdraw from activity. It may take a gradual return to normal activity. If these feeling seem overpowering, you may want to consider support services available to you on campus.
  • Acceptance – The realization of the permanence of the death.

Ways to Cope

  • Take time to care for yourself.
  • Eat regularly and exercise.
  • Journal your feelings and talk to others who share your feelings.
  • Seek assistance with support services offered on campus.


University Counseling Center

224 Elkins Hall • 448-4080

Crisis Intervention Coordinator

100-A Peltier •448-4430

University Health Services

Ayo Hall • 493-2600

St. Thomas Aquinas Center Monique Legendre • 413-0877

Baptist Collegiate Ministries

Tim LaFleur  • 446-5855

Chi Alpha

Chris Buckle • 493-2731

Grieving is a normal process; however, sometimes the stress of the situation can cause symptoms to increase in severity to the point where professional help may be needed.

Signs indicating a need for support services:

  • abrupt/radical changes in behavior, quality of work, or personal hygiene
  • isolation from others
  • depression
  • dramatic weight loss or gain
  • inability to make decisions despite repeated attempts to clarify and to encourage
  • repeated requests for special consideration
  • poor attendance with little or no work completed
  • sudden outbursts of anger, high levels of irritability; aggressive, violent, or abrasive behavior
  • homicidal threats
  • attention/memory difficulty; distorted thoughts; impaired speech
  • alcohol/drug abuse
  • normal emotions exhibited to an extreme degree or for an excessive period of time, e.g., tearfulness, nervousness, fearfulness
  • chronic fatigue or low energy; listlessness, lack of energy, frequently falling asleep in class
  • suicidal thoughts or feelings of low self-esteem
  • dependency on you or others, e.g., making unnecessary appointments with you
  • bizarre behaviors that are obviously inappropriate to the situation, e.g., hearing voices
  • behavior that consistently interferes with classroom management
  • distressing posts on social networking sites