This is one of the BEST articles I have read in a long, long time.
“Grief” and “mourning” are words that have been used interchangeably to mean the same thing. But, the fact is, there really is a very important difference between them.
Grief is an emotional reaction/response to loss. Grief tends to follow a common pattern of emotional states, such as shock, confusion, denial, anger, sadness, rage, depression, isolation, to name a few, and…not always in that order. If grief is experienced fully and allowed to unfold naturally, the process gradually leads one to some sort of acceptance and peace with the matter. The grief process is the brain’s way of dealing with a matter it can’t completely comprehend in the moment; so it takes time to sort through it all, be patient with yourself. If a death has been sudden or completely unexpected, comprehension is even more of a struggle, for we operate as if death is somewhere, clear out there, far off on the horizon. The truth is… we really don’t know how far or close death is to us.
Loss is not just about losing someone we love, to death. We may experience intense loss from losing a relationship, our sense of self, our job, our home, our freedom, our health, our dreams or a limb, among many other things that we hold precious and important. Whether great or small losses to us, these examples can seem like a death, that will require a certain amount of grief and mourning, to be determined by the individual who is experiencing the loss. But whatever the loss, remember to give yourself some space to heal properly. Many emotions will surface, to be explored. From my experience, feeling these emotions is much easier than trying to survive them by pushing them under. Buried emotions never rest in peace; like zombies, waiting quietly and thought dead, they will raise themselves up again at the first chance of provocation.
Although we may never completely stop feeling our loss, with time, the frequency and intensity of our pain, and our grief response to it, will diminish considerably. In fact, going through a healthy grieving process, however painful, allows us the excellent chance to heal, as grief is itself a medicine. Grief is a medicine that heals the pain from loss.
While grief is the emotional reaction/response to loss, mourning is the process one undertakes to deal with the void that is now left. Mourning is the process of acclimating to living a life without this special someone or something. It is period of adapting to the changes created by this loss.
Although this may not make sense right now, the mourning period is a very sacred, holy and beautiful time to experience, if you allow yourself this. Mourning is a period of deep reflection and introspection. It is a time to experience the sweet love of what is missed. It is a time to love deeper than you ever thought possible. It is a time to remember. It is a time for clarity. It is a time to gain wisdom and compassion. It is a time to learn and stretch. It is an extraordinary time of growth and development, which, although seeming brutally painful, bears amazing gifts to the evolution of one’s soul. Mourning is a time to feel, deal and heal from the inside out. It is a time to experience the pain from the emotional energy of your loss, until it has completely moved through you, and dissipated.
Grief and mourning are two very important and valuable self-healing tools that overlap at many times, even long after the loss. Although each have different roles, both play equally important parts in dealing with loss; designed to heal one’s mind, heart and soul. In this especially difficult, but sacred time, remember to be patient, kind and loving toward yourself.
Blessings of love, healing and profound growth your way.