Personal loss “occurs when someone loses something precious in his or her life” (Leming & Dickinson, 2011, p. 26). This kind of loss occurs after the death of a beloved person.
Personal loss is usually associated with deep emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Bereavement and grief describe the emotional responses associated with personal loss (Martzo, Sherman, Egan, Grant, & Rhome, 2003). Bereavement and grief are powerful behaviors exhibited by mourners. This paper examines different forms of grief, loss, mourning, and bereavement.
The word bereavement refers “to the heartbreaking period of anger, pain, and sadness after the loss of a beloved possession or person” (Leming & Dickinson, 2011, p. 29). This feeling lasts for a long period depending on factors such as age, gender, culture, and religion. Bereavement can be uncomplicated or complicated.
According to Leming and Dickinson (2011), uncomplicated bereavement is usually short-lived. According to Leming and Dickinson (2011, p. 56), “human beings can experience uncomplicated bereavement for several days after losing a special possession”. This period is usually characterized by pain and mourning. This kind of pain occurs due to the shock associated with death. The affected individual eventually accepts the situations and leads a normal life.
Many people portray a unique emotional response after the loss of a beloved person. This emotional response “is described as grief” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2007, p. 57). Grief occurs immediately after an unbearable situation. Victims of grief portray unique signs such as endless suffering, anger, and soreness. Grief can also take different forms depending on the nature of the loss (Leming & Dickinson, 2011).
According to many sociologists, grief can persist for a long period. This kind of experience is called complicated grief (Leming & Dickinson, 2011). Complicated grief is characterized by pain and anger. This feeling occurs after the death of an important person. The signs of grief can persist for a long period. Every affected person should “embrace the best practices in order to deal with this kind of grief” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2007, p. 52).
Complicated grief might continue for a very long period. The affected person “encounters unimaginable feelings such as depression, anger, and withdrawal” (Leming & Dickinson, 2011, p. 108). This feeling results in prolonged grief. The affected individual becomes depressed and bitter. This situation explains why communities should support the needs of every affected individual.
Some individuals might be unable to deal with the emotions and pains associated with personal loss. Traumatic grief occurs when an individual fails to accept the situation. Such an individual will eventually encounter prolonged anger and depression. This kind of depression can “eventually result in suicidal thoughts and ideas” (Martzo et al., 2003, p. 74). Traumatic grief is therefore dangerous because it affects the lives of many people. This grief makes it impossible for many people to achieve their goals.
Many people “are unable to accept themselves after the loss of a relative” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2007, p. 77). This situation explains why disenfranchised grief affects many people. This kind of grief occurs when the affected individuals fail to accept their situations. Disenfranchised grief can “take a long period to heal” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2007, p. 87).
Personal loss is associated with the death of a beloved animal or individual. This kind of loss affects the lives of many individuals. Primary loss can occur when “a person losses a beloved relative” (Martzo et al., 2003, p. 76). Primary loss causes prolonged pain, bereavement, and grief. Many victims of primary loss will portray unique responses. That being the case, every person should be ready to support one another.
This kind of loss occurs when someone losses a friend or a partner. Secondary loss is capable of affecting a person’s life. This loss makes it impossible for many people to realize their goals. Secondary loss can also “arise from painful life experiences or relationships” (Neimeyer, 2006, p. 184).
This kind of loss is usually complicated in nature. Ambiguous loss results from different situations or experiences. The first type of ambiguous loss occurs when a person losses a close relative. The affected individual is usually unable to have a comfortable life (Martzo et al., 2003). The second form of loss “occurs when a friend or relative disappears” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2007, p. 65). The affected individual might take long before accepting the situation.
Several terms and behaviors are used to define “mourning”. According to Leming and Dickinson (2011, p. 87), “mourning is a painful period that occurs after the loss of a beloved friend or relative”. Many theorists and scholars use the word mourning to describe every behavior or response associated with personal loss.
Mourning is also “a complex way of portraying grief and bereavement after the death of a beloved person” (Neimeyer, 2006, p. 185). Some cultural groups and societies embrace various practices after the death of a person. The knowledge of mourning can make it easier for many individuals to deal with the feelings associated with personal loss.
Kubler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2007). On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Press.
Leming, M., & Dickinson, G. (2011). Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Martzo, M., Sherman, D., Egan, K., Grant, M., & Rhome, A. (2003). Strategies for Teaching Loss, Grief, and Bereavement. Nurse Educator, 28(2), 71-76.
Neimeyer, R. (2006). Bereavement and the Quest for Meaning: Rewriting Stories of Loss and Grief. Hellenic Journal of Psychology, 3(1), 181-188.