Often we skip a period of mourning and focus on grief. Mourning time is a valued space after personal loss – sometimes lasting longer than expected. Have a look at what Merriam Webster dictionary says about mourning:

  • mourning1
: the act of sorrowing mourning for her dead husband.>

2a :  an outward sign (as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s death mourning — Arnold Bennett>

2b :  a period of time during which signs of grief are shown mourning, resume their ordinary dress>

My aunt wouldn’t take part in a family birthday party because she said she was ‘still in mourning’. This is honoured behaviour although we don’t often hear the word mourning.

I remember when my grandfather died, my dad put on a dark shirt. His suit was navy. As a teenager, I knew about colour coordination and mentioned he should wear another colour of shirt. All he said was, “This is proper”.

In my genealogy studies I often see pictures of black wreaths on front doors and black crepe paper used in decorating the house according to a family’s mourning traditions. It was not unusual in past eras to wear a black armband for a short period. This is not practiced now in local cultures, but other actions signify grieving and the need to have time alone.

After my father’s death, I remember thinking it wasn’t respectful to do certain activities in the same week. There used to be a definite three-day waiting period to observe a death in the family. This too has changed over the years. Families take responsibility for these decisions.

Mourning is a good word as is grief. Consider Elizabeth Gilbert’s use of these words:

“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…”― Elizabeth Gilbert (Goodreads)

Write a few thoughts about your pattern of mourning and grief.