What You Didn’t Know About Grief and Mourning
“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
A famous quote by Benjamin Franklin sums up life in one sentence. It says, “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” You know from the time you understand the concept of death that it is inevitable for you and the people you love.
Yet, no one is ever prepared for the loss.
Grief – Deeper Than Sadness
What is grief? It is how you feel about your loss, your pain. It is your journey of learning to live without the loving connection you had with another human being. Your grief over losing someone close to you isn’t avoidable, and it doesn’t end on a specific day. You will grieve as long as you need to.
Grief doesn’t follow a straight line either. One day you will remember your loved one and smile about something you did together. The next day you may feel like your heart is being ripped from your chest. Grief ebbs and flows throughout your life after the connection is gone.
For some people, grief never entirely ends, but it becomes manageable, and many happy moments come to pass.
You and Loss
When something you love is taken away, the natural response is to feel grief. You may feel shocked or disbelief, guilt, profound sadness, along with other emotions that you didn’t expect to feel, like anger.
One of life’s biggest challenges is dealing with the loss of something or someone you love. It doesn’t matter if you are 3 or 30 years old. Grief will hit you where your heart is.
Some losses may not be as intensely painful as others, but any loss can cause grief, such as:
- Divorce or breaking up
- Losing a job
- Losing your health
- A miscarriage or loss of a child
- Loss of financial stability
- Death of a pet
- Loss of a dream
- Selling your home/moving
- Loss of friendship
There are sure to be many others you could add to this list.
Subtle losses that may seem like they wouldn’t be a big deal can trigger a sense of grief. For example, many people are surprised they feel such a sense of loss after graduating high school, getting married, or having a baby. They are losing a way of life they are accustomed to and will never get back.
It is important to know that grief is different than depression. Some symptoms may be the same, like sadness, loss of caring for yourself, insomnia, and loss of interest in things you used to find pleasure doing.
The difference is that grief will begin to lessen over time. It may pop up again around a special time of year, but it won’t interrupt your daily life. Depression doesn’t get better over time. The joy in living doesn’t return and may even get worse.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.”
Grief and Mourning – What’s the Difference?
Grief is a highly personal, internalized psychological process. You may grieve the loss of a loved one or a pet completely different than Mr. John Doe down the street.
When you are grieving, your brain begins a process of reorganizing this new reality. It is an exhausting time, and you may feel tired, mentally foggy, and disconnected. This is your internal grieving process. Grief is often private, while mourning is what others see externally.
Mourning is an external process. It includes religious, cultural, spiritual, and community-based traditions like attending a funeral or having a family “Celebration of Life” in honor of the person who died.
Mourning is an opportunity for others to offer you support which will help process grief-related emotions. It is a period for healing and often gives closure to those left behind.
Mourning can last a couple of weeks, a few months, or several years. This will depend on your spiritual and cultural traditions. Remember, mourning is when people come together to express their grief over their loss outwardly.
You can no longer be in mourning but still, be deeply grieving.
For those experiencing the loss, grieving is a bumpy ride down a steep hill, and once you get to the bottom, it’s a long trek up. But you don’t have to climb that hill by yourself. Reaching out and talking to someone specializing in grief counseling can help you sort out your feelings and work through the pain.
Support groups are also extremely beneficial. To learn more about how we process grief ourselves and how we can help others through theirs, stop by next week.
Counseling can help you work through the stages of grief and bring life to your heart again. Click Here to get started.
Coping with Grief and Loss. (2020, September). Retrieved from HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm#
Grief. (n.d.). Retrieved from Psychology Today: o
Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one. (2020, January 1). Retrieved from American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/topics/families/grief