Grief, Bereavement, Mourning Defined

Grief, bereavement and mourning are all terms associated with a death or a loss, but they have different meanings.

Bereavement refers to the state of being deprived of another’s company, usually due to death. The depth and duration of a person’s bereavement will depend on the relationship and the nature of the loss.

Grief describes the reaction to a loss, the emotional and physical process of fully understanding what has happened and coming to terms with it. The various aspects of grief — often referred to as phases — may at times overwhelm the bereaved person, and all are likely to be experienced on the way towards emotional reorganization and acceptance of the life changing loss.

Mourning involves a cultural response to the event, the way in which the experience of the loss is incorporated into daily life in a more practical sense. It includes social etiquette, cultural heritage, and religious and spiritual influences.

Grief, bereavement and mourning are intertwined, all forms of our reactions to a profound separation in our lives. Everyone will grieve differently; grief is as individual as those who experience it.


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