I'm a social worker, so forgive me while I go all "therapy" for a moment. Grief is an internal process. Lots of emotions come into play and the process is different for everyone. Mourning, however, is grief that is expressed to the world. Mourning is how a person works through her grief by outwardly expressing the things she is feeling inside.
Mourning is what I do on this blog.
In grad school and during my time doing a graduate internship with hospice, I was taught that grief without mourning is frightening and destructive. Grief without mourning is how people become shells of their former selves. How people succumb to demons and emotional pain. How people get stuck and cannot move forward.
Mourning is a healthy process.
It looks different for everyone. But it's healthy. The timeframe is different for everyone. But it's healthy.
Reconciliation comes later... or rather, is often part of the mourning process. Nothing will ever be the same. Rick is dead. I know that. You know that. And the reality of that is difficult to process and difficult to accept. Reconciliation is the (sometimes long) process of becoming more and more accustomed to a new life. It is adaptation.
Part of reconciliation in grief and mourning is processing the reality of death in outside, outward ways. This blog is a perfect example. It's a nightly ritual for me, and no matter how sad or heartbreaking it might appear, it's a healthy one.
Another part of reconciliation is allowing all the horrible, sad, painful feelings of grief and loss, but at the same time allowing the understanding that life goes on. For me, it means reminding myself that I am loved and heard.
Yet another part of reconciliation is altering the thinking about the person who is gone. For me, it means adapting to the fact that Rick is no longer physically here with me every day, and is instead a spiritual presence or a collection of loving memories. I can't interact with him anymore. I can't hold on to him. But he's not gone from my thoughts and emotions.
Another part of reconciliation is developing a new life - maybe even a new role or identity - without the presence of the person who is gone. In my case, that person is Rick. I'm working out the new life bit by bit.
Another part of reconciliation is - and I think this is a big one, at least for me - finding some kind of meaning in the death. My life is forever changed. And like I said in my post A Different World, I know that so many good things will come of this unfortunate loss. The world may be different because Rick is no longer in it, but the world will also be different because I am being shaped by this experience to do/be things I might not otherwise have done/been.
The last part of reconciliation is developing a support system. A network. People to help through this whole messed up process of grief and loss. I have that. I've been cultivating it. And I am lucky.
Grief and loss create a whole crazy world of their own. They beat down the door of the regular world and then wreak havoc on everything. I'm cleaning up the debris. I'm tidying the chaos. I'm sorting through the pieces that are left behind.
It's different every day. And it's all mine. No one can enter this world. My grief is mine alone. But I share the parts of it I can, because it's part of my reconciliation. The phoenix rises. The phoenix shares. The phoenix grieves. The phoenix reconciles. And so, the phoenix lives.