Mourning is a Choice

. at . 6 comments

907779_alone_amongst_the_deadDr. Alan Wolfelt says when you are in mourning, you are bereft. “To be bereaved literally means to be torn apart and to have special needs” (Wolfelt, Introduction). Dr. Wolfelt says mourning is an essential activity because this is the outward expression of grief (the internal thoughts and feelings).

Mourning is the process whereby . . .

  • the individual acknowledges the loss,
  • experiences the grief,
  • and then incorporates the loss into their life.

To grieve/mourn well, the individual needs to also acknowledge the special needs that have resulted because of being torn apart by their loss. Practicing good self-care is not selfish, but very necessary.

Many people interchange the words grieving and mourning. I will do the same.

It’s a disservice to cut short or ignore one’s grief work.

It’s a natural, God-given process of recovery. It’s His gift to us to help us get through the pain. Everyone has grief, but mourning is a choice.” (Wright, 4)

It takes longer to get through mourning than anyone ever wants. The process cannot be rushed. “It’s not just the [original] loss . . . that is so painful. It’s all the other losses that occur because of this one [loss]. The way you live your life, love, eat, sleep, work, and worship are all affected.” (Wright, 24) There is a loss of future dreams and present plans. Loss of identity and friends can also accompany the original loss. Many friends will feel uncomfortable with your grief and so will distance themselves. This distance can result in the dissolution of the relationship.

Questions to Ask Yourself and Action Steps

  1. What losses are you acknowledging? Not acknowledging?
  2. What are you doing with the loss? Feeling it? Ignoring it?
  3. What can you do to incorporate the loss into your life? Do one thing today.
  4. What needs do you have as a result of your loss? Meet one need today.
  5. How can you practice good self care today? Brainstorm a list.
  6. What can you do today to connect with someone who is grieving?

Works Cited

James, John W and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.          

Wolfelt, Alan D. Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas.  Fort Collins: Companion Press, 2001.

Wright, H. Norman.  Experiencing Grief. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2004.               


[1] All efforts to heal the heart with the head fail because the head is the wrong tool for the job. It’s like trying to paint with a hammer-it only makes a mess” (James, 5)


 [cb1]An important point!

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Entry filed under: Grief.

Every Loss Can Bring Grief It’s Important to Grieve the Little Losses Too

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lynette  |  . at .

    I am acknowledging lost & unmet expectations. When ones expectations past or present don’t come to pass for whatever reason, those must also be acknowledged. Mourning of lost or unmet expecations is also important. Today I am choosing to let go of self-help (trying to help myself by figuring out the whys & wherefors of everything) & choosing to let God restore my soul. It is only when I begin to do this do I find healing. It is a life long prcess.
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:?
    Thanks for writing these posts.

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  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    Lynette, I marvel at your tenacity and your vulnerability in your healing/growing journey. You continue to be in my prayers.

    Yes, I find letting go of the why questions to be important in my healing journey too. Trust . . . Trust! Thanks for this reminder and Scripture (Proverbs 3:5).

    Thanks, Lynette for reading and responding.

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  • 3. lynette  |  . at .

    I also wanted to say but forgot, what you write about grief is what I knew in my heart but either couldn’t put into words or was not ready to acknowledge something associated with grief.
    Grief is like the domino effect You lined them up in a row, knock the first one down & boom the others come tumbling down. With losses, there is the main loss, but then there are all the other losses to deal with that occur with the main loss (5th paragraph).
    Sometimes a domino does not fall down & the domino effect is broken. Same thing with grief, It stops abruptly & when that happens it sits below the surface & will eventually bubble up to be dealt with. I think God is good about taking that fallen domino & setting it back up so we can work through the rest of the losses. Does that make sense?
    when my Mom died I experience the pain of grief & mourning of her death But there were lots of changes that I needed to mourn for. I am understanding that more now. And with that understanding I am better equipped to understand my feelings of loss associated with quitting Children’s Ministry. The changes it brought also need to be acknowledged & mourned for. Up until yesterday I wasn’t given myself the time. Now I am. I am choosing to let God restore me. I told a good friend last night I am tired of trying to figure it all out, finding solutions & searching for what is next. This summer & for the rest of the year I want to let go & be restored.
    Long post, I think it is time for a get together:)

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  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    Love the domino analogy, Lynette. I agree, God is good about being persistant (and gentle) about bringing us back to a place of healing by putting the “domino” back into our line of sight.

    Here’s to letting go of finding answers, letting God restore us, and living in each moment open to healing, play, experiencing God, and finding that restoration at God’s pace.

    Listen to Saviour, Please by Josh Wilson. Gives some good input on this topic. IMHO.

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  • 6. Job  |  . at .

    I have found great comfort in the book ‘Experiencing Grief’ by Norman Wright and I have given it also to other family members. We all agreed that it explains grief so well. In the first months after the death of my wife I checked several websites but none really helped me understand my feelings. After reading Wright’s book it all made sense to me, meaning emotions, thoughts, behaviours of oneself and of others, etc. I have read the book over and over again, and sometimes it is if I read something for the first time. Funny how that now when I go over my earlier bookmarked webpages on grief I can now relate to them easy whereas in the beginning of my grief I could not make sense of it at all.

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