Exploring Personal Grief History

Below are a series of questions which are used in my death awareness education workshops, these are questions designed to help you think about your own bereavement style and early experiences with grief.


  1. What was your first loss by death? How old were you? What do you most remember about that experience?
  2. What feelings do you remember having about that loss?
  3. How did people around you respond? Mother? Father? Siblings? Others?
  4. What kind of support did you receive?
  5. What messages did your father give you about death? How did he express his grief?
  6. What messages did your mother give you about death? How did she express her grief?


  1. What has been your most recent or most difficult loss by death?
  2. How did you or how are you coping with it?
  3. In what ways do you remember the person you are mourning, their life and their gift to you?
  4. What has been the most difficult part of dealing with this death?
  5. In what ways have you learnt and grown as person as a result of this loss?
  6. Of the important people in your life still living, what would the most difficult death for you? What would make it most difficult?


  1. What is your primary style of coping with grief?
  2. Is it different now than it was when you were a child? How is it different?
  3. Can you share your grief with others? If so, how does this help you? If not, why do you choose not to share your grief?

Adapted from J. William Worden Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, Springer Publishing Co., New York, 1982.

“…a key issue for the individual, and indeed for society, is to learn to bear the pain of loss that must inevitably be faced; to keep a passionate involvement in humanity and human relationships; to learn to comfort and console others with compassion; and to seek and accept the compassionate concern of other members of human society.”

Beverley Raphael,
The Anatomy of Bereavement

“. . . existence embraces both life and death, and in a way death is the test of the meaning of life. If death is devoid of meaning, then life is absurd. Life’s ultiamte meaning remains obscure unless it is reflected upon in the face of death.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel