Grief, Bereavement, and Mourning

Grief is a common emotion, and it is both probable and actual. Human life is a succession of wins and losses, attachments and detachments. Any separation or loss, whether it occurred in the past, is currently occurring, or is projected to occur in the future, is bound to cause grief emotions. Irrespective of their background, region, or beliefs, all people and groups experience grief and express bereavement regularly.

What is Grief?

Grief can be defined in various ways, from the brief (yet profound) and straightforward to the intricate and subtle. The agony of the soul, heavy heart, and profound sadness are three characteristics of grief. It can also be described as emotional and mental agony. Although sadness has a common and recognizable quality, grieving continues to be startlingly foreign and eerily unusual on a deeper level. An intense and overwhelmingly strong sensation of loss is what grief means.

Fundamentally, it is a phenomenological experience. Adults and children experience a condition of deprivation following a significant loss, which may cause them to become helplessly overcome by powerful emotional surges. The bereaved person's entire mind and soul are repeatedly captured by the phenomenological experience of grief. In addition, it is possible to think of the grieving process as the development, progression, and working through of a variety of strong affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological experiences up until a certain point of resolution and closure has been reached and a certain level of inner balance has been restored.

What is Bereavement?

Bereavement is a term that is frequently used. Being bereaved is having experienced or been brought on by a loss. The term "bereavement" refers to the wide range of emotions, circumstances, and experiences that follow a loss. A variety of losses can cause bereavement. It captures the emotional state and existential situation that a person experiences after recognizing a great loss have occurred in their environment. The term "bereavement" has roots in the old English language and means "to rob," "to pillage," or "to dispossess," according to Burnell & Burnell. Additionally, it has the concept of violently removing a loved one, leaving the survivor with the repercussions of sudden loss or separation.

What is Mourning?

Mourning has been described as the outward manifestation of an inner experience; it is grief's outward manifestation and open display. Bereavement shared in public is mourned, and it is publicly grieving a lost item or a departed person. The word "mourning" might signify one of two things. The first comes from psychoanalytic literature and suggests a variety of conscious and unconscious behaviors and intrapsychic processes, all of which are brought on by the loss experience. The second concerns how a great loss should be grieved following cultural norms.

The Stages of Grief

Grief therapists frequently use Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' research on the stages of grieving. These steps only sometimes happen in succession. Some stages allow for back-and-forth movement, and you may even "skip" some. These phases are intended to serve as a guide to help you comprehend your feelings and those of other grieving people.


Denial can help keep the shock of loss in check by refusing to acknowledge the loss. As a "safety mechanism," denial might help us avoid experiencing sadness until we are prepared to deal with it.


Rage and anger might be directed against the deceased, friends and family members, or God. It is critical to have a way to express anger, whether that is through exercise, a hobby, or counseling. Feelings of guilt, shame, and blame must be addressed, especially if directed at you.


When we begin to second-guess the circumstance and consider what may have happened had we reacted otherwise. Things would have turned out if I had done this or that. Differently, we might think to ourselves.

Sadness and Depression

This stage is characterized by profound, intense mourning and grief. It can feel too much when we finally comprehend our loss. In this phase, you could cry frequently and without warning. It is possible that you do not want to do things or be around people that you usually enjoy.


'Coming to grips with the loss is a part of this stage. It does not imply that you have discovered the answers to your concerns or that you have stopped reflecting on the deceased. It does represent a reinvestment in life and a readiness to adapt to your new situation while carrying your loved one's memory with you.

Necessary Steps

Several efforts have gone into understanding the steps one can take to deal with grief healthily. Following is a list of some of these −

  • Allow yourself time to mourn. It is appropriate and crucial that you express your sorrow and address any worries. "Stuffing" your emotions can be counterproductive and make your grief last longer.

  • Locate helpful persons to contact throughout your mourning. The assistance of others may be most beneficial at this time. Tell them how they can help you the most without holding back, even if that means just listening. Talking about your loss with individuals who will let you vent your feelings is frequently quite beneficial.

  • Take good care of yourself. After a loss, we frequently cease taking the necessary steps to maintain our health, such as exercising, eating right, attending doctor appointments, or taking prescribed medications. Sticking to your treatment plan if you are on a medical regimen is crucial.

  • Put off significant life changes. Give yourself time to adjust to your loss before making preparations to change jobs, move or sell your home, remarry, etc. Grief can occasionally impair your judgment and decision-making skills.

  • Take into account journaling. Writing or telling the tale of your loss and what it means to you can be quite helpful in working through your feelings.

  • While no two individuals might experience grief the same way, taking steps to take care of oneself while experiencing the said grief is important.


Grief, bereavement, and mourning are common, as everyone experiences loss. Taking care of someone grieving/ in mourning is important because people tend to feel lonely during such experiences. Rather than asking if they need help, people going through grief can be supported actively. Studies suggest that one should offer help at these moments as people grieving might not think of practical things.

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023


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