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Different Types of Loss

Loss is not just about death. It can refer to a wide range of life changes such as a child leaving home, redundancy, loss of health, friendships, and family breakups, coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges, but any loss can cause grief.  You may associate grieving with the loss of a loved one —which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief. Often the death of a much-loved pet can cause an intense kind of grief especially if this happens at a time when other forms of grief are being experienced.

Anticipatory Grief

Loosing Mum Everyday.


“I started grieving the loss of my Mum before she died, when she got the diagnosis of Dementia. At that moment in time, I lost the future I had planned, my perspective changed from having all the time in the world to, 'how long do I have left with Mum?'. I thought about all the things she would miss out on and all the happy memories we once shared. I thought every day, "will today be the day she won't know my name or recognise my face?" I waited wondering when, how, what will happen to Mum and when something did happen, whether it was Mum forgetting a name to her forgetting how to walk, I cried for that loss.


I felt that every day I ached for the Mum I once knew and cried on her behalf for what she was losing. This was what I later found out to be Anticipatory grief, feeling sad for the loss that was to come, the death my Mum faced and the changes I faced. 


Anticipatory grief did not replace the pain I felt when Mum died but helped me to acknowledge the losses I'd faced.”


Frances – Insights Volunteer

As the comment above suggests this type of loss might be experienced over a long period, but every day a little bit more of that familiar person is lost to us, with perhaps flashes of recognition. When the person is still alive there might not be opportunity to discuss these changes with others who might not fully understand losing a loved one gradually to Dementia. There are many ways to support yourself and reduce negative feelings by learning more about the grief process, mindfulness, and meditation, exercise and reaching out for support and sharing. It might be hard to talk to family members, and so giving yourself permission to seek out people who can offer a safe space to share in confidence this difficult journey with you is important. If you want to arrange for one of our friendly volunteers to support, you please contact


Insights Bereavement Listening Service on 07942337801 or

You can also send an enquiry through our website                                                                            

Disenfranchised Grief

Another type of grief is called Disenfranchised Grief

Disenfranchised Grief refers to grief that is not publicly acknowledged or sanctioned. This can occur in a variety of situations in which there is a significant loss of some sort, but not the same opportunity to talk about it openly because of stigma or lack of understanding or sympathy from others. This type of grief can occur in the parents of adult children with mental illnesses, criminality, alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide, or a long-standing extramarital affair where the pain must remain hidden. It can also occur following a miscarriage or a terminated pregnancy. In the early days of AIDS, family members who lost a loved one from the disease suffered the stigma and often grieved privately or alone.

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