Grief is a normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Whenever we experience a loss, whether it’s a breakup, losing a job, entering menopause, or losing a loved one, our lives change so we must learn new ways of being. Mourning is the process by which grief is reshaped. It is a learning process, teaching us those new ways of being.
- To accept the reality of the loss. Ceremonies such as funerals help us come to terms with the reality of the loss. With other types of loss like a breakup or a life change, it is helpful to have a ceremony or ritual to mark the change as well.
- To work through the pain of grief. Though it can be tempting to avoid painful feelings entirely, part of our healing requires that we give ourselves permission and the time and space to feel however we’re feeling. Our bodies have a natural process for resolving grief, and honoring that process will provide relief. Ask for help and find solid sources of support.
- To adjust to a world without that person or situation. Gradually we will come to a new normal. This can be a time of independence, self-discovery, and development. This process can also offer an opportunity for us to find new capabilities and create purposeful changes.
- To find an enduring connection with the person or situation in the midst of embarking upon a new life. Acceptance of the loss does not mean a relationship with them has ended. Finding one’s unique way of continuing a connection with a lost loved one is normal and healthy. Remembering can be painful, but can also be heartwarming.
“Successful mourning often brings recognition that grief is the form love takes when someone we love dies.” — Katherine Shear