There cannot be a time limit on mourning. Mourning is a process. Miriamm-Webster dictionary says this about mourning:
“Full Definition of MOURNING
: the act of sorrowing
a : an outward sign (as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s deathb : a period of time during which signs of grief are shown”
You can mourn forever if you want to. I think there always needs to be an end goal though. Mourning forever means feeling sorrow and grief forever. There shouldn’t be a time limit on mourning but there needs to be an end goal. The end goal for me is not really described in a word. Nothing you can look up in a dictionary. The end of mourning to me is, ” Ok…I am OK now.”, or ” I have let go of the sadness associated with that now, ” or ” I am in a better place now since going through that process.” To say that getting past mourning means I have forgiven or accepted or let go just isn’t the right fit for me. It is more a state of being. It is a peace with what is NOW. Not necessarily a peace in what WAS. Just that right now I am OK.
When I was younger I thought mourning was something that someone did because of a death of a person. As I have grown I have learned that death is loss. And there are many different kinds of losses. Many different things that can be mourned. It is OK to mourn. It is your mind’s way to FEEL. When a couple gets divorced there is a mourning period for what was and what they thought would be, but ended. The loss of what they hoped their life could have been together. But if they stayed in that mourning period then they may never meet the person they were truly meant to spend the rest of their lives with. Or they may never be content with where they are and be OK with being alone.
We all have a right to mourn. It is respect you are showing yourself, you are giving yourself. You are allowing yourself to feel the loss so you can move past it. If you skip the mourning phase you will undoubtedly come back to it later.
I have often allowed myself to mourn after being diagnosed with a muscle disease. I let myself feel the loss of what my body was. I just don’t stay there. But I do let myself feel. As 8 years have gone by since my diagnosis, my mourning has changed. Instead of crying because I can’t go for a run, I just give myself a moment to recognize that I simply can’t and don’t let that frustration monopolize my thoughts any longer. I do have my bad days. But I try to make them fewer and far between.
I’ve been thinking of those who mourn the loss of their body. I have thought of men and women who have lost limbs. I have thought of men and women who have lost breasts to cancer. They have had a loss. They have felt a loss. And they should be able to mourn the loss of what once was.They lost part of their body. They lost part of what they were. I don’t know how that feels. I know how it feels to lose the ability to do the things I once could. But I don’t know the mourning process of losing part of one’s body. I do believe with the loss of anything we all need time to feel. Something was taken from them that they did not choose to happen. They did not choose to have cancer. They did not choose to have a tragic loss of their body. I did not choose to be abused. I did not choose to have something taken from part of who I was. I don’t ever want to compare one loss to another. I am just putting my thoughts of loss into words. I am saying whether it is the mind or the body or the spirit that has felt a loss, you can mourn.
I didn’t mourn the loss of my innocence due to child abuse until I was an adult. How could I mourn something I didn’t understand. As a child you don’t understand what has been taken from you. As an adult it may just hit you one day. or it may come in small bits of memories. I have had moments that sadness completely enveloped me.
I like my path to have a purpose though. I don’t like to remain closed in to sadness without realizing, ” OK this is mourning of what you have lost”. I acknowledge the feeling.
I don’t put a time limit on mourning process of anything. But as time moves forward I try to set my intentions on moving forward with it. If I have a fleeting thought of sadness, I don’t completely embrace it any longer. I gave myself time to be completely engrossed in the mourning process. Now I do not deny my feelings but I just don’t stay on them quite as long.
I think this can be applied to so many different emotions. Feel them. Embrace them. Then as you move forward try to let those thoughts drift away instead of holding on to you any longer. They may have held you before because you needed to feel them to move past them. But now you don’t have to hold onto them. For example, I just randomly thought today of how much I missed my mother. I felt sadness. I felt mourning. But instead of letting my entire day be filled with this feeling I simply shook my head. Thought, ” What a shame. But that was her choice,” Then I let that feeling drift away. I don’t doubt that the feeling will come back. But I will spend less and less time allowing myself to fully feel it.
Like I said in a previous post, ” I give you permission to feel”, but as we move forward, our feelings need to move forward too. And only you can decide when and how long you want/ need to go through each step of the healing process.
I’ve become VERY mindful of my thinking within the last year. I’ve been mindful of my self talk. I’ve been mindful of what I say to myself when I have a feeling. When you have an emotion are you ever aware of what you are saying to yourself when you have it? The things I say to myself, the thoughts I have, during an emotion can either move me forward, set me back, or stop me in my tracks. I have begun controlling where my thoughts go after feeling an emotion, only after learning to listen to what I say to myself. Learning to be mindful of my thoughts. I have become aware. Started recognizing that when I had a memory or emotion I would then attach a statement to it. And the statement was not always a positive one. “IF” was often a word I used. I don’t use that word any more. As I work through mourning it has become more of an intent and purposeful act to achieve healing. It has become less of something that I allow to just linger.
Instead of just floating through the process of mourning different things in my life, I have taken hold of the process with the words I say to myself and the time I let myself feel the emotions.
I believe all who experience loss need to mourn.
Equally important is the ability to celebrate.
Celebrate what you have worked through, what you have achieved, and how through all of this you have grown.
I am just learning to celebrate myself. “Wow, I am strong,” ” Yes! I made it through that!” ” I am a survivor!”
Celebrate your amazing ability to be exactly where you are.
Let yourself mourn.
Then let yourself celebrate! You are a survivor! I celebrate myself as I celebrate you.