Friday, 21 September 2012

What is Grief and how does it differ from Mourning?

Grief Is To Experience Loss! Grief is a natural response to loss and more common than most people realize. It can be experienced for any loss like the breakup of a friendship, the loss of a beloved pet, the loss of a job, a miscarriage, a divorce, or even a serious illness. The death of a loved one can cause intense grief. The more significant the loss the more intense the grief, but the loss is a perceived loss. This means the loss of a pet can be more significant than the loss of a family member, depending on the perceived value of the pet. This makes grief a personal experience. Two members of the same family can experience the same loss, but still experience grief differently. Your coping abilities, life experiences, and faith also affect the intensity of your grief and mourning experiences. The differences in perceived loss can also cause misunderstandings and conflict between people. The death of a beloved dog can cause intense grief for the owner, giving cause to ridicule by others because of unnecessary “crying over that dog.” The closer the relationship, the longer and deeper the grieving period tend to be.

  To mourn is to express your grief As opposed to grief, which refers to how someone may experience the loss of a loved one, mourning is the outward expression of that loss. Understanding this distinction is important for healing. Grief is the internal pain you experience and this is universal. Every person who lost a beloved experiences essentially the same internal pain. The way we express these feelings however, depend on personal, cultural, familial, religious, societal customs and beliefs. Grief is internal, but mourning is external. Mourning is the attempt to give some form of structure to the confusing and painful reality of grief. It determines, for example, the way we prepare ourselves and our loves ones for dying, the way we bury our beloved and the way we preserve their memories. This can include visits to the graveside with flowers, keeping and cherishing photos and other memorabilia, or writing letters to the deceased. Just remember, acceptable rituals in one culture could be unacceptable in other cultures. It is important to remember that mourning is a personal expression of grief. There is no right or wrong way to do it.

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