Defining Grief Vs. Mourning

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. However, these words do not mean the same thing and knowing the difference can be very important to moving on from the loss of a loved one.

"Grief" are the feelings and emotions tied to the loss of a loved one. Grieving includes and is not limited to crying, feelings of disappointment and anger associated with the loss of a loved one, sadness, feeling alone or isolated. "Mourning" on the other hand are the actions associated with grief. Mourning includes funeral services, visitations and wakes, graveside visits and services and other memorialization efforts.

Here are a few examples. Grief is crying at a funeral while mourning is wearing all black to the funeral service. 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. Knowing that mourning is the physical manifestation of grief can help put a timeline to your feelings of grief. Mourning helps us contextualize grief. Mourning helps give you a way to work through the feelings associated with grief. A funeral service may help give 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 help you find the tools and help you need to work through grief. Leaving the feelings of grief to sit and not be worked through and out can be more damaging than going through some of the ritual of losing someone you love. Mourning for many is more than enough to help them move through the feelings and emotions associated with grief. 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 plenty of resources available to help those who are coping with the loss of a loved one. We are here for you.