Grief is an internal response to loss. It is what we feel and think about the loss or death on the inside. It is the internal meaning we assign to the loss. Grief is not an event, it is a process that unfolds over time, and we will experience healing our grief over time as well. So often we don't feel "normal" and need the reminder that what we are experiencing is appropriate and expected. It is a time of confusion and emotional disorientation.
Frequently people use the word grief and mourning interchangeably. While grief is an internal response to loss, mourning is the public or external response to, or expression of loss. We mourn publicly at visitations, funerals, memorial services and graveside visits. We mourn as we cry, as we celebrate anniversary dates, special remembrance times. Mourning is taking the internal grief we have and expressing it externally.The death of someone we love and care about is never an easy thing to cope with or to integrate into our lives. Even if we have expected the death for some time, when the moment actual arrives, all our senses are assaulted and our hearts turn upside down with confusing feelings. No two people will experience a death the same way, no matter how similar the relationships may have been.
The period of time people go through after the death of a loved one is “bereavement.” There is no way to determine how long our state of bereavement will last. It may last for just a few short months, or it may last for a number of years. Everyone will experience the bereavement period and the grief journey differently just as we will find unique ways to mourn all our losses.
See Also:Programs and resources to help you cope with griefBereavement Newsletter