Essays About Grief: Top 5 Examples Plus 7 Prompts

Discover our guide with helpful examples of essays about grief and inspiring writing prompts to help you begin writing about this sensitive and emotional topic.

Grief is a human being’s normal but intense and overwhelming emotional response to painful events like the death of a family or friend, disasters, and other traumatic incidents. To cope, we go through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Writing about grief can trigger strong emotions. However, many also find acknowledging the subject helpful in processing their feelings. Grief is a sensitive topic that covers morals and beliefs. It requires empathy and awareness. 

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5 Essay Examples

1. Death And Stages Of Grief  by Anonymous on IvyPanda.Com

“… Ignoring various philosophical and religious views, death can practically be interpreted as a complete cessation of the body’s vital functions. When faced with the death of loved ones, as well as with other traumatic events, a person usually experiences grief.”

This essay expounds on the five stages of grief defined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and what people go through in each phase. The author uses the story of the philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff who lost his son Eric in an accident. The piece further discusses how Nicholas went through each stage, including believing in God’s promise that his son would have eternal life in heaven. The writer believes that grief doesn’t usually follow an order and sometimes appears random. Such as in Wolterstorff’s situation, where he experienced depression before the bargaining phase.

2. Loss And Grief by Anonymous on GradesFixer.Com

“The loss of a loved one will always be a painful personal journey, and a coping experience that no one is ready for or can prepare for till it happens. The after effect or grief is always personal for everyone that loses a loved one.”

The author presents different poems that reflect her loss and sadness for her mother’s passing. She connects to the poem “The Courage That My Mother Had” and values the things her mother left behind. There are times when grieving individuals think they are healed, but one event can bring back the pain in an instant. The writer believes that grief doesn’t end after the acceptance phase. It’s because whenever we think of our loved ones who have already passed away and relive the memories we had of them, we always wish they were still with us.

3. Coping With Grief by Writer Faith

“Grief is an emotion that unfortunately, we all come to experience at some time or another. However, that terrible feeling can open the door to acceptance and appreciation. Mourning and reflecting upon a tragic event can cause one to look at an issue through a different perspective, and maybe even help them to accept it.”

Faith’s essay demonstrates how tragedies can cause people to unite and support each other. Processing grief teaches the bereaved to be stronger and appreciate the people who offer comfort and encouragement. It also teaches us not to take anything for granted by cherishing even the simple things in life. Faith sees grief and terrible events as negative experiences, but they can lead to positive results that steer people to be grateful.

4. The Main Stages of Overcoming Grief by Anonymous on IvyPanda.com

“Grief is one of the most complicated processes which is to be combated. Some people are able to cope with grief individually, others need assistance. There are even cases when people need professional help to cope with grief.”

The essay contains various passages that discuss the five stages of grief. The author believes denial is the root of grief in all phases. The author supposes that people can overcome grief through several methods, such as reading the bible, getting support from family and relatives, accepting the loss, and learning to live with it.

5. Stages Of Grief And People’s Perception Of Grief Based On Age by Anonymous on GradesFixer.com

“The intensity and duration of grief may depend on many factors, such as the personality of the individual, the relationship to the deceased, and the circumstances of the death. Unexpected, sudden, or accidental death can be extremely shocking. Death of one’s child at any age is difficult to accept.”

The essay discusses how various factors, such as relationship, age, and cause of death, affect grief’s intensity and duration. It mentions that grief can last years and that losing a child at any age is the most challenging case to accept. 

The author presents various scenarios showing how these elements influence the state of grieving. For example, a person grieving the loss of their spouse may hear their voice and feel their presence in the room. 

7 Prompts for Essays About Grief

1. What Is Grief?

Simply defining grief in your essay won’t make it stand out among the rest. To make your piece enjoyable, describe grief in a way that probes your readers’ feelings and imagination. You can personify grief or compare it to another familiar feeling to give you an idea. For example, you can say grief is a stranger persistently reaching out to you to make you remember hurtful memories.  

2. The Best Way To Handle Grief

Essays About Grief: The best way to handle grief
Use this prompt to enumerate excellent ways to deal with grief

We deal with grief in our own way; some take it in their stride, while some become a wreck. Use this prompt to enumerate excellent ways to deal with this heavy emotion. Ask yourself what you’ll do if you can’t get over grief and research thoroughly. Pick the most effective methods of overcoming grief and support your findings with relevant data.

3. Grief and Depression

There are many effects of grief, and depression is one of the most significant. Loneliness can negatively affect how a person thinks and acts, but grief makes depression worse. Write an essay with a series of situations that show how grief can lead to depression and ways to prevent it.

Here are some essays about depression to give you an idea of how to write this topic.

4. When Grief Becomes Dangerous

Grieving is a normal reaction to losing a loved one but it can turn dangerous when the individual grieving stops normally functioning for at least a year after the death. For this prompt, include reasons people break and let grief consume them, such as extreme depression and fatigue. Add signs and symptoms that can help others detect when someone’s grief becomes unsafe for the individual and the people around them.

5. Books About Grief

In your essay, recommend books, documentaries, or movies detailing grief. These books can be accounts of those who already went through the grieving process and are sharing their experiences. For example, Every Word You Cannot Say by Iain S. Thomas is a delicate book that guides readers into acknowledging their feelings. Detail why these books are helpful for people grieving and recommend at least three books or other forms of media that the reader can use to cope.

6. A Personal Experience With Grief

Share an encounter you had with grief. Describe what you felt and narrate how you grappled with the situation. For instance, if you have ever helped someone suffering from grief, explain the step-by-step method you used and why you decided to help that person. Even if you don’t have any personal experience with grief, you can interview someone who has gone through it. Remember that it’s a delicate subject, so your questions should be diplomatic.

7. Art Inspired by Grief

Essays About Grief: Art inspired by grief
In your essay, share your favorite art you think best depicts grief

There are many mediums people use to process their strong feelings. One is through creating art. When writing your essay, list arts made by grief or inspired by grief. Add comments on how the artist managed to relay the loss and grief through the art. You can also share your favorite art you think best depicts grief. Like Vincent Van Gogh’s 1890 painting called “Sorrowing Old Man.”Learn about transition words for essays to improve your work.

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  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.