Grief is everything we think and feel after losing someone or something we love and cherish. Mourning is when we take all the feelings we have inside about our losses (including fear, anger, despair, confusion, overwhelm, regret, shame) and we express them in some way that bears witness to our suffering.
Grief must be mourned. It must be expressed or it will sit in the body and can manifest symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, overwhelm, irritability and reactivity. In fact Alan Wolfelt of The Centre for Grief and Loss has found that the symptoms of post traumatic stress are very similar to the symptoms of unmourned grief.
There is no one right way to express our grief. It is a lonely process but you don’t need to do it alone. Bereavement Counselling can help you find a way through the bewildering transition of living without your loved one, or the anticipatory grief associated with a terminal diagnosis, for yourself or a loved one. The goal is not to get over the loss – because that may never happen – but to learn to feel and integrate the loss into who you are – someone who will never be the same as you were before the loss.
Be gentle with yourself.
Victoria Pawlowski, RD., M.Ed., RCC