The Multiple Facets of Grief

Grief is a complicated experience. Each person grieves differently, and the duration of grief is unpredictable. Like the facets of a gem that throw light around a room and bounce off objects, grief is also multifaceted, full of unexpected emotions and unplanned twists and turns.

As you grieve, remember the following:

Grief has an unpredictable timeline.

It would be nice if we could schedule grief for a convenient time and relegate it to a specific timeline, but grief doesn’t work that way. Grief is often a few steps forward followed by a step backwards kind of process. Often, grief overwhelms when we least expect it, and rarely comes when we are in private.

Grief isn’t limited to death.

We associate grief with death, but other losses also involve the grief process. When those losses are compounded, the grief time frame expands. Don’t be surprised if you experience renewed grief for long-ago losses.

Grief makes you re-live other life losses.

When I grieved the loss of my father after my mother’s death almost thirty years later, I thought it was because I failed to mourn my father after his death. But since the death of my aunt, I’ve experienced renewed grief for my parents, other family members, and friends. More than anything, I miss time spent together with family members and what felt like a simpler way of life. Grief brings renewed sadness for other life losses.

Grief is multidimensional.

Grief envelops in a hard-to-describe fog that renders focus difficult. Grief makes simple tasks feel huge. Grief causes us to sit and stare when we want to move forward. Grief is emotional, numbing, and unpredictable, but in time, you will regain forward motion.

Grief involves emotional and physical weight.

In reading about grief, I learned sighing is an expression of grief. Perhaps sighing expresses what we can’t put into words.

Emotionally and physically, grief is exhausting. You may experience fatigue even after a good night’s sleep. Often, for no specific reason, you just don’t feel like doing anything.

Grief requires grace.

Sometimes, we expect more of ourselves, and others, than we should. We grow frustrated with our grief and also with the thoughtless statements of the well-intended. But remember the encouraging, heartfelt words of others instead. Extend grace to yourself and others while grieving and find comfort in God’s faithfulness amid heartache.

Grief may cause you to question God.

God’s plans and purposes are far beyond our ability to comprehend. Often, our losses, or those of others, don’t make sense to us. You can take frustrations, fears, and emotions to God, knowing he is gracious and doesn’t fault us for questioning, doubting, or even expressing anger toward him. In his goodness and grace, God comforts and carries us through the multiple facets of grief.

“Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery. My eyes are weak from so much crying, and my whole being is tired from grief” (Psalm 31:9 NCV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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  1. When we love deeply, we grieve deeply. I appreciate your sharing and openness. I have been there, and know that grief is a complicated process. The Lord does walk this path with us, but in the midst it can be grueling. This is another opportunity for us to pray for one another to put one foot in front of the other. Praying for you this morning.

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