Understanding grief and the grieving process may not alleviate the pain that you are experiencing right now. However, recognizing the grief process may help stop the sheer panic of not knowing what is going to happen next.
Many people use the words grief and mourning interchangeably. These two terms, though similar have different meanings. Grief is what we feel, the ache in our heart that is so hard to describe. Mourning is the action we take such as weeping, expressing our pain from the loss, or wearing black.
Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary completely defines grief in a very definitive way.
“1. The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others.
2. The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief.”
The word “mourn” is poignantly defined by Mr. Webster in this way:
1. To express grief or sorrow; to grieve; to be sorrowful. Mourning may be expressed by weeping or audible sounds, or by sobs, sighs or inward silent grief.
Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep. Gen 23.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Mat 5.
2. To wear the customary habit of sorrow.
We mourn in black.
Grieve for an hour perhaps, then mourn a year.”
Not all grief is the same and in this book we will be addressing many of the different faces of grief. There was a time from my childhood when I had a broken heart from losing a favorite toy. I can remember as a pre-schooler, playing with a little stuffed monkey in our car. My parents, brothers and sister were on a road trip to see my grandmother. She lived some twelve hours away. Somehow, my little toy flew up in the air and went out the window of our station wagon. I began to cry inconsolably. I was too little to understand the dangers of stopping on the highway. Even if we could find an off ramp and get turned around, we would probably never find my little toy. That is my first childhood memory of grief from loss.
Grief is not always caused by the loss from death. For a child, the loss of a favorite toy can be heartbreaking. For some people, the loss of a long time job or a career can trigger grief. For others, it may be a betrayal by a friend, or even the death of a pet that causes them to feel as if their soul has been ripped away and torn in two. Not all grief is the same, but all grief is deeply painful.
One thing we know about grief is that everyone grieves differently. We are as unique in this as our fingerprints, or as a snowflake falling from the sky. Some people weep, others may not cry at all. Some people...