A New Understanding of Mourning
Each individual has a unique experience of grief that needs to be respected and supported rather than a series of steps or stages that must been endured.
While mourning is a very private experience, it does not occur in a social vacuum. The bereaved needs the witness and engagement of others.
Mourning is an active process, not a passive one. The bereaved need to find meaning in their loss and understand the impact of this significant death on their lives.
The mourner balances the complicated tasks of “letting go” and “holding on” to the lost significant other. There is a gradual acceptance that the loss is real, yet there is often the need to maintain a sense of connection.
Mourning often involves a lifelong process, rather than a time-limited period with a definite “closure” end point. While there is an acute period of mourning that is more circumscribed, the loss often continues to be revisited at crucial periods and integrated over a lifetime.
“Although many of us experience bereavement as a choiceless event, we have many choices in how we grieve.
. . . As we choose, new options open before us.” (Italics ours)
“A New Understanding of Mourning” is based on concepts from: Attig, T. (1996), Christ, G. (2000); Doka, K. (1998); Gaines, R. (1997); Hagman, G. (2001); Lobban, G. (2007); Neimeyer, R. (2001, 2002); Shapiro, E. (1994); Klass, D., Silverman, P. & Nickman, P. (1996); Stroebe, M. & Schut, H. (1999); Sussillo, M. (2005); Worden, J. (1996).Click Links page for full references.