Change, loss, and death are an innate part of human life. It is unavoidable. At some time or another, we will all experience loss and the brutal emotions and feelings that accompany such changes. Grief is a word that is mostly used in the context of death, however, we experience grief with all kinds of changes: moving to a new home, a break up, divorce, birthdays, and the adversities that life can hand to us.
Grief can be complicated and it can be multi-dimensional. It not only affects us cognitively and emotionally, but it there are also physiological changes that occur. We can grieve the loss of a loved one while also grieving the identity we lost with that death.
Grief is a painful process that can feel debilitating and disorienting. It can also provide an opportunity for tremendous insight and growth. Grief can be an incredibly beautiful catalyst for creative expression, the discovery of life purpose, and allow us to access parts of ourselves that we never knew existed. While grief is a universal experience that connects us all together, it is also a very personal experience that is unique for each of us.
Ultimately we can only grieve and mourn that which we love and has brought us joy. Our pain and sorrow can run as deep as our love and joy-- and that is what makes it so sacred.
Grief is the internal happenings of what we experience when a loss occurs. Mourning is the outward process of grief. Mourning is our expression of our grief and allows us to discharge some of those emotions in a healthy way. Mourning is our tears, it is what happens when our pen meets paper and we write, it is remembering our loved one, it is telling our stories, it is our way of connecting our loss with meaning and expression.
Mourning and grief are not a means to an end or something that we ever truly finish. It is an extension of who we are, who we once were, and who we are to become. It is part of life, of what it is to be a human, to have loved, and lost.