What is bereavement?

The words grief, mourning, and bereavement are sometimes used interchangeably.


Bereavement is the time of grief and mourning you experience after you lose someone you loved – it’s the time you spend adjusting to the loss of that person. 

Do I need grief counseling? 

You may have heard that you should get grief counseling after a loved one dies.   While it’s helpful to some people, not everyone wants or needs grief counseling.


For years, we’ve read about the stages of grief (such as those popularized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who was researching and writing about dying patients) but the reality is that there are no neat, fixed stages that you go through in your grief journey. Mourning is messy, unpredictable, zig-zaggity, and exhausting.

You’re the best judge about whether you can benefit from a visit, a phone conversation, or individual counseling with one of our bereavement counselors.


If you enjoy learning from others, our bereavement support group might be a good fit for you.

What happens at bereavement support groups and events?

All of our groups and events are free and open to all, regardless of how many months or years-ago your loved one died.

Our support groups, which are either drop-in or registration-required events, meet at specific locations and times, and are structured to encourage attendees to share their stories, if they so choose. No one is required to talk - sometimes just sitting quietly and listening to others share their stories of loss and grief is reassuring. 

The Washington Home also offers free grief workshops and provides speakers for community groups on topics that include: loss of a spouse, loss of a parent, loss of a child, and bereavement training for community leaders.  

Symptoms of Grief Checklist

Since the loss of my loved one:

  • I have trouble concentrating

  • I can’t stop crying

  • I have panic attacks

  • I’ve lost/gained a lot of weight

  • I’m smoking/drinking a lot

  • I’m angry a lot of the time

  • I think I could’ve prevented the death

  • I don’t feel anything – I’m just numb

  • I don’t think that I can go on alone

  • I seem to be in slow motion all the time

  • I can’t face being at home/work/school

  • I don’t care what I look like anymore

  • I don’t think life is worth living anymore

  • I don’t have any family or friends  supporting me

  • I wish that I could just go to sleep and never wake up


The Symptoms of Grief checklist may help you decide if professional bereavement services can support you on this part of your journey.



1875 Connecticut Avenue NW

Suite 540

Washington, DC 20009


Tel: 202-966-3720

Fax: 240-839-3391

© 2020 The Washington Home, Inc.