It's a universal feeling that will be experienced by all humans at some point in their lives.
But walking through grief is the loneliest journey.
Peter Frazer has navigated the tragic path for nine years now after he lost his 23-year-old daughter Sarah to a horrific and largely avoidable accident on the Hume Highway.
Sarah was on her way to Charles Sturt University in Wagga on February 15, 2012 when she broke down on the Hume Highway and pulled over to an emergency lane.
She and tow-truck driver Geoff Clark were killed when a truck hit them near Mittagong. It was later found the emergency lane she was parked in was far too narrow to meet the safety specifications.
When her car broke down, she left a panicked voicemail message for her father, fearing the passing traffic was "inches away from her".
Leaving his office at the Roads and Maritime Service that afternoon, Mr Frazer returned home where he was informed of his daughter's tragic death.
"I can remember falling to the ground and saying 'she's only broken down, she's not dead,'," Mr Frazer said.
When it came time to identify his daughter's body, Mr Frazer said the shock of it made him feel as though he would have to be carried from the morgue.
"Her body was only pieces, that was all that was left," he said.
Days later, he returned to the scene, where her car had been collected on the Hume Highway.
"My grief turned to anger. Her blood stained the Hume where she'd been left in dangers in the 110km/h zone by the very company I worked for," he said.
"We [the family] decided this could never happen to another family again. We had to change this."
The 62-year-old father has turned his grief into advocacy.
With the foundation of the Safer Australian Roads And Highways (SARAH) Group, the 62-year-old father has made his daughter's name and favourite colour - yellow - synonymous with road safety.
To process the tragedy, he turned his grief into advocacy.
"It's tough day-to-day dealing with the grief. I know it will be with me for the rest of my life. But we're a catalyst for good work that continues to be done," Mr Frazer said.
"I'll be a passing thing when I go, but this will be my daughter's legacy, she will continue to make a difference," he said.
Knowing that Sarah will live on through the impact her life has had helps Mr Frazer rebuild his strength.
Being able to grieve alongside others who have experienced similar traumas has meant that the Blue Mountains-based father has seen his "family grow beyond what was imaginable".
Though the pain will not ever be numbed psychologist Gene Hodgins explained that the ability to see the enormity of a life's impact on the world assists the healing process.
Since the early 2000s, the Charles Sturt University associate professor said, the way bereavement is spoken of has profoundly changed.
"We talk about 'the stages of grief', but what we know now is that that's not a valid process," Mr Hodgins said.
"People have different trajectories with grief. We have a different model now. Some people don't experience the negative functions, some resolve quickly. For some, it goes on for much longer. Each is OK."
The 'stages of grief' model - that assumed everyone will progress from denial through to acceptance in a timely manner - has been done away with since the early 2000s, and more recently, a new "dual processing" model has been proposed.
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In this model, it's expected that people can experience different levels of grief from moment to moment.
"It's like riding up a hill, you're going side to side until you reach the top of the hill. It's oscillation, where you flick between sadness and problem-solving mode, and sometimes you may even feel guilty because you've forgotten your grief for a moment," Professor Hodgins said.
In the age of social media, a person's memory can stay present online, which Professor Hodgins said is not always a hindrance to the grief process.
"The way we look at it now is realising the need for an enduring bond with the deceased," he said.
"Photos on social media and crowdfunders can help people understand the impact that life had on others."
In his capacity as the chairman of Riverina Bluebell, Allen Hunt has seen a generational shift in the way grief is faced.
"The older generation don't talk about things as much. These days [funerals are] more about celebrating that person," Mr Hunt said.
"For me, the fact that I'm, sad when a person dies means that I had a great time with that person. Younger generations are not as afraid of those emotions."
Mr Hunt recalled a story of a man who removed photos of his late-wife from view because the memory of her passing was too painful to face.
"'We don't have photos of dead people in here', he would say," Mr Hunt explained.
"Stoic is the word I've heard used to describe that. They say it as if it's a good thing but I don't always think it is," Mr Hunt said.
"Emotions are normal, it's not something to be afraid of."
In some cases, and certainly in the experience of Mr Frazer in the wake of his daughter's death, emotional bereavement can be leveraged to effect enormous change, making the world a better place.
"This issue is a millimetre from my heart every day. We're making real change, but my heart breaks every day," Mr Frazer said.
"The thing that makes the difference is the story. Becoming an advocate gives me strength [but] I still grief, I still have dreams of that truck, horrific nightmares of it hitting her. I'm still in counselling, it's a lonely journey.
"As long as I have breath, I will be consumed with making sure everyone has the right to get home safely."
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