Home » Articole » EN » Society » Culture » Death » Mourning (Grief)

Mourning (Grief)

posted in: Death 0


Mourning is a reaction and a feeling of sadness experienced after the death of a relative. Often associated with pain, mourning is also seen as a necessary process of issuing, named resilience. When an event causes a crisis in the life of an individual, a radical change has taken place in the situation previously established. Mourning also has the meaning of “permanent loss” of an object to which an individual can hold.

Mourning is an active process, said “mourn”. The individual in mourning can seem ataraxia, and suffer from more or less intense depression, but an inner change is done. So, in a first step it is not easy to distinguish what is good for the person.

Generally, mourning overcomes a critical life event. It is often associated with death: “death of a perfect image of the parents when they get divorced,” “death of confidence in a person,” “death of a relationship at a separation”, “the death of someone.” This process can also go into action in case a relative is losing his memory or reason. Mourning often requires support from others with empathy (understanding the suffering of others without appropriating or without “suffering with”).

Mourning can be achieved through any means of creative expressions, directly or delegated (building monuments, funeral or not, order of specific works in tribute to the missing person with artists, etc.). Thus, the event is not forgotten but remembered and the aroused pain diminishes or disappears.


Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has developed a very known model, but it was not yet scientifically proven. It is the subject of many highly contested transpositions and adaptations  This is a theoretical cycle consists of five steps:

  1. Shock, denial: this short phase of mourning occurs when find out the loss. The person refuses to believe it. This is a more or less intense period where emotions seem virtually absent. The affected person can faint and may even vomit without being conscious. When he left this short stage of mourning the reality of loss sets in.\
  2. Anger: phase characterized by a sense of anger due to the loss. Guilt can be installed in some cases. Questioning period.
  3. Bargaining: Phase made by negotiations, blackmail …
  4. Depression: more or less long phase of the mourning process which is characterized by great sadness, questioning, distress. Mourners in this phase sometimes feel that they will never complete their mourning because they have experienced a wide range of emotions and the sorrow is great.
  5. Acceptance: Last stage of mourning where the bereaved gets better. The reality of the loss is much more understood and accepted. The bereaved can still feel sadness, but it regained its full functioning. He also reorganized his life according to the loss.

The above five phases can be linear but often a mourner can do flashbacks before starting to move forward. A good way to pass through grief is to understand what was happening and share the feelings and emotions with relatives or people who also are grieving. These steps do not necessarily follow each other. It is not an inevitable process. Some people may leave a bereavement and move to the final stage of freedom of action, without feelings they could carry can be considered negligible.

Mourning is a personal and collective response which can vary depending on feelings and contexts. This reaction starts with denial and ends with a more or less acceptance of the attachment feeling of the bereaved.

  1. At the announcement of his own close to death, it is the grief of his own life he must face.
  2. Faced with the death of a relative or a loved or appreciated, this is a relational mourning in which we enter.
  3. During finding of a breach, relationship grief can cause similar conditions to those of the death of someone close.

In all cases, for the mourning process becomes active, the condition is that the change is not desired. If it is a suicide, the death is expected, if the break is expected, grief is either already happened or it is not appropriate to speak of mourning, it will be delayed …

Death of a close

Grief can be defined as the period following the death of a close (parent, friend, pet). This is a notion both psychological and social:

  • psychological: when a person is close to a dead, he enters a period of sorrow and questioning, or even nervous breakdown; there are three stages in the grieving process:
    1. the denial or stunning phase, during which the death of the loved one is not yet integrated; it lasts a relatively short time;
    2. the second phase is that of depression with physical pain (loss of sleep and appetite, lump in throat, body aches etc.), and mental pain (lack of concentration, loss of self-confidence). The duration of this phase varies each.
    3. restructuring phase during which we try to regain a taste for life.
  • social:
    1. individual feelings and mental state of the mourner affect its ability to maintain or enter into relations with others (including in the field of sex), on the other hand in mourning he can develop new expectations vis -a-vis his entourage: needs attention, caring, calm, isolation, distraction.
    2. after the burial customs, which are often abandoned in highly urbanized areas, “should” follow a number of traditions (wearing specific clothes, forbidden to remarry for a while in case of widowhood …) who are generally the degree of kinship and social importance of the deceased.

Death can be a release in the case of a tyrannical person or when death is the end of a long painful illness. However, this release may add remorse and guilt.

Loss events without mourning value (white factors)

According to German Arce Ross, there are cases, especially if one takes into account the manic depression, where loss events are experienced by the subject, which recognizes it intellectually yet, with a true emotional value of mourning. In this form of loss without bereavement issues, it is not a pathological mourning assumed as melancholy, but a lack of recognition of the loss, both in his psychic reality and in his emotional suffering effects. Unlike the pathological mourning, the manic depressive subject does not need to deny the loss because, for him, he would not have lost. These non-bereavements or losses without any emotional value, are called with the term white factors.

White factors are negative, tragic or catastrophic events such as erotic loss, death, disruption of normal living conditions, which do not have a loss value of an object for the subject and which, moreover, renew the empty value due to foreclosure of the paternal function. White factors are called so because they are all white space, or holes in the unfolding of the signifying chain, which dangerously mobilize the rejection of the unconscious. They create, in effect, empty spaces that engage the enigmatic experience vis-à-vis of which the subject adapts more or less since the disaster that is his birth. However, if it is not mandatory that these factors are tragic, even if often they are.

The main idea is that the rejection of the unconscious is back with strength in each white factor and connects, through his intermediate, with the drive becoming deadly. Thus, in the white factors, there is not actually an emotional loss experienced and this lack is found both in the circumstances that trigger and the construction of a delirium of death.

Translated from Wikipedia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *