What is the Difference Between Grieving, Loss and Mourning? Trying to Make Sense of Your Separation

Updated: Jun 26

Mourning is not often associated with divorce or separation. We generally connect mourning with death, unarguably one of the most painful types of loss. Divorce and separation are also losses and it is considered, by many, to also be one of the most difficult types of loss one will ever have to endure.

Divorce has many casualties, leaving a trail of affected people behind. Those most affected are the children and of course the ex husband and ex wife. With separation this is usually tremendous grief, and an accompanying period of mourning.

What is the difference between grief, mourning and loss?

To grieve is to have an emotional response or reaction to your loss. With grief there is both acute grief and chronic grief. Acute grief is the very physical feeling, often described as painful, as if your heart has been torn out of your body leaving a huge void within. Chronic grief is the more subtle grief, it is the grief that I describe as sneakier. It leaves you feeling flat or detached. You no longer have a love, spark or excitement for life. It dampens hope for the future and for ultimate happiness.

Grief is all of these emotions. The grieving process is the brain's way of dealing with all that has happened. It is the brain trying to make sense of this loss. This is often where people get stuck, they struggle trying to make sense of the pain and loss. It is essential to feel the emotions from your loss, it is the grieving that helps you heal. Embracing the grief is your access to healing. Grief is natural and it is normal and it is 100% required to fully heal. Grief is also incredibly painful, so it is the part we want to skip or get over fast. The good news is you can get it over it relatively fast, but many struggle with this because they resist or push back against this part of the healing journey; yet if you can accept it and allow it to to exist, you can then move through it in a surprising way.

Loss is the experience of losing someone that we loved or felt connect to.

There are many types of loss; at one point I compiled a list of 40, but this list just continued to grow. We may experience intense loss or we may have losses which affect us with lesser intensity. There is also loss that affects us more in the short-term or the moment, whereas other loss affects us more over time. There are so many types of loss and each one has a different experience.

There are losses such as death, divorce, financial loss, moving, health, loss of a job etc. It is impossible to go through life unscathed by loss, this is what makes grief so normal and natural. Grief is a healthy normal reaction to loss. Although you may always feel the loss (the void or emptiness) of what once was, or of the person you deeply loved, the hope is that your feelings will heal so that you are filled with love and peace and the memories can bring you hope and happiness once again.

Grieving is a journey and it is this journey or process that we call mourning. Mourning is a very special time for you. It is your time of self reflection. Mourning is the journey or process you take for yourself while grieving. Mourning is your privilege, this is a sacred honoured time for you to reflect, grow and examine yourself deeply. Mourning is not to be taken lightly, it is your gift to yourself, it is your time, your process, your healing. Embrace this and own it. Discover what is possible on the other side. A greater sense of knowing yourself.

Grief and Mourning are your direct access to healing. when you grieve you connect to your feelings which allows for healing and when you give yourself permission to explore and step into the mourning process of your loss you will create an incredible opening for self discovery and self awareness. We seldom go on a deeper path of healing and personal reflection, whereas loss provides us with this seemingly unlikely opportunity to begin this beautiful inward journey, often resulting in power, peace and an excitement for your future.



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