After a loved one dies, you are likely to feel a complex surge of emotion. And in that time of grief, you may hear two words that sound similar but have different meanings. The words “grief” and “mourning” are often used interchangeably even though they have different definitions. Knowing the difference between grief and mourning can be very important to the healing process following the loss of a loved one.
The term “grief” refers to the internal thoughts and emotions tied to the loss of a loved one. Grieving can include many feelings such as disappointment, anger, guilt, sadness, or loneliness. Since everyone experiences grief differently, there is no right or wrong way to feel.
“Mourning” on the other hand is the outward expression of grief. Mourning includes things like funeral services, visitations, and wakes, graveside visits and services, and other memorialization efforts. Mourning can also include things like crying, journaling, singing songs, or telling stories about your loved one.
Grief is feeling sad or upset at the mention of a lost loved one’s name while mourning is holding a graveside visitation on the anniversary of a lost loved one.
Separating the two concepts can help make the grieving process a little easier. Mourning helps us contextualize grief. Mourning also gives you a way to work through the feelings associated with grief. A funeral or memorial service gives you an outlet to help you cope with grief. Grief may help you understand why you are emotional during a memorial service. Grief helps us move through loss.
Understanding the differences between grief and mourning can provide the tools needed to help work through your grief. When we have lost a loved one, most of us would prefer to ignore the feelings of grief. But research shows that doing so will only delay the healing process.
For many, mourning is enough to help them start to process those feelings and emotions and begin the healing process. However, for some, after something as painful and traumatic as losing a loved one occurs, more care is required. Our website and funeral home have resources available to help those who are coping with the loss of a loved one.
We are here for you … lean on us in your time of grief.