John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute

Russell Friedman

Executive Director
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Normal and Natural reactions to the death of someone important to you.

Grief is the wide range of normal and natural reactions to the death of someone important to you. The seven most common reactions are:

  • Numbness
  • Reduced Ability to Concentrate or Focus
  • Crying or NOT Crying
  • Lowered State of Energy—Not To Be Confused With Clinical Depression
  • Disturbed Sleeping Patterns and Dreams and Nightmares
  • Irregular Eating Patterns
  • Roller-Coaster of Emotions
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that someone important to you has died and you’d like some guidance about the feelings and thoughts you’re experiencing. Or, you may be reading this because you are connected to and concerned about someone who’s just experienced a death, and you’d like to have more awareness about what they’re going through, and what you can say or do to be helpful to them.

Confusion About What Is Normal In An Unfamiliar Situation

While it’s true that grief is the normal and natural reaction to a death, fortunately most of us don’t have that experience very often, making it unfamiliar. Also, grief is not generally an open topic for conversation in our society, and a great deal of the information available to us about grief is not accurate or helpful.

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Ask John & Russell – The good news and bad news are equal—it's normal and natural to love somone and hate some of the things they've done. (Published 7/29/2014)


My older brother died at age 52, and my younger sister at 55. Now it's only me to take care of our mom and dad (88 & 86). Both siblings sponged off of my parents for years, up to the end of each of their lives. I had to move back to my parents home to take care of mom and dad while those two were already here. I love and miss both of them, but in the same sentence, I'm so Mad At Them! Is this the way I express my grief or am I just upset that now I have NO LIFE except for doctors and nurses? Everyone I know here is over 70. Get my drift?

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Suzi,

Thanks for your note and question.

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Find Local Support

If you or someone important to you wants help with grief: Look for a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist℠ in your community. The Grief Recovery Institute ® trains and mentors Certified Grief Recovery Specialists℠ throughout the United States & Canada.

See Russell and John's blog at Psychology Today

Workshops & Training Schedule

The Grief Recovery Institute ® offers Certification Training programs for those who wish to help grievers.

  • July 2014
    Atlanta, GA - July 11-14, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ - July 18-21, 2014
    Chicago, IL - July 18-21, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA - July 25-28, 2014
    Toronto, ON - July 25-28, 2014
  • August 2014
    Omaha, NE - Aug 8-11, 2014
    Singapore - Aug 11-14, 2014
    New York, NY - Aug 15-18, 2014
    Houston, TX - Aug 22-25, 2014
    Tampa, FL - Aug 22-25, 2014

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