Certain conditions, events, and circumstances can be obstacles to
grieving. These may include:
Living in a fast-paced society. People who live in fast-paced societies are often hurried
through grieving when they are required to return to work or
Having no formal way to express grief. This can happen, for example, after a
miscarriage. Ceremonies and rituals
associated with loss give people ways to express themselves when grieving,
protect them from being alone and isolated in their grief, and provide a
boundary or limit for the grieving process.
Being unable to participate in a ritual or ceremony. Sometimes people are not
able to participate in family rituals or ceremonies to express grief. They may
not live near their family. Or their family may not be able to organize a ritual
or ceremony to handle the loss. Or they may be too ill or injured to
participate. Some families do not allow young children to take part in
rituals or ceremonies.
Having certain beliefs and values about grieving or death. For example, people who believe they need to be
strong for the sake of other people may have difficulty grieving. Some people
aren't able to grieve when they lose someone important through an illness that
frightens them (such as cancer), suicide, or an act of
Having unresolved problems with or conflicting feelings about the person who died. Having both positive
feelings (such as gratitude) and negative feelings (such as resentment) toward
a deceased person may sometimes interfere with healthy grieving.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerSidney Zisook, MD - Psychiatry Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH - Geriatric Medicine, Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine