Grief and Your View of Death

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Grief and Your View of Death

Topic Overview

Your grieving process is influenced by how you view death.

  • If you believe in punishment after death, you may have a heightened sense of fear for your loved one.
  • If you believe that death is the end of all existence, you may feel a great sense of loss.
  • If you believe in eternal life, you may feel a great sense of hope.

Children younger than age 7 usually perceive death as separation. They may feel abandoned and scared, and they may be afraid to be alone or to leave people they love. They may not want to sleep alone at night, or they may refuse to go to daycare or school.

Children between the ages of 7 and 12 often perceive death as a threat to their personal safety. They may fear that they will die as well, and they may try to protect themselves from death. Some children may try to behave extremely well; others may try to be very brave. Some children may want to stay close to someone they think can protect them.

Teens perceive death much like adults do. However, they may express their feelings in dramatic or unexpected ways. For example, they may join a religious group that defines death in a way that calms their feelings. They may also defy death by participating in dangerous activities, such as driving a car very fast.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Sidney Zisook, MD - Psychiatry
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robin L. Fainsinger, MBChB, LMCC, CCFP - Palliative Medicine
Last Revised February 11, 2010

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