Mourning does not Mean Wearing Black Clothes for a Year

shutterstock_2638113 - large Mourning does not necessarily mean wearing all-black clothes for a year with a black scarf on your head.

Mourning asks you to be present to your sadness…


Mourning entails allowing your sadness the expression it needs when it does arise.

It may mean putting aside a time in the day, maybe to be called your sadness time, when you sit in a quiet place and invite sadness to be present.

It could entail the simple journaling of sadness, where in your writing you represent sadness and express it directly (“I miss him/her…I feel sad that he/she is no longer here”).

Including the word “sad” in your writing allows for the direct expression of sadness. Thus creating the conditions for the eventual release of sadness.

As much as you can, represent sadness in your daily experiences. If someone asks you how you are, tell that person, “I feel sad.” Represent sadness in the same way hopefully you would introduce your young child to a friend or colleague you happen to bump into on the street:

“How are you doing?”

“Oh, I have a little sadness going on right now, otherwise I’m doing fine.”

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This doesn’t mean that you need to share what is going on for you if you don’t want to:

“What’s going on for you to be sad?”

“Just something I’m working through. It’s not the time or place to talk about it right now, so excuse me if I don’t.”

You do not need to tell every single person who asks you your state of well-being – -that you are sad. You don’t need to tell the waiter in the restaurant, or the man there to pick up your garbage in the morning that you feel sad – then again there is nothing wrong in doing so if you wish to.

The suggestion is, if your relationships allow consider verbally representing your emotions and feelings to others. Give your emotions the freedom of expression.

Emotions without freedom of expression can congest: healthy fear when congested becomes anxiety. Similarly, anger that does not have representation and the healthy freedom of expression over time becomes rage. Sadness may turn into depression or despair.

(Read: When Anger Becomes Rage)

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Mourning is a period when excess water inhabits the emotional system.

It is a time when you feel less motivated, the desire for limited social interaction, a preferred time to sit in one place, rather than explore the world.

As you are present to your mourning process and sadness is allowed its expression, the excess water naturally begins to drain out of the internal reservoir. It is not necessarily a fast flow of water. It can take time. As long as you are consistent in your ability to be present to the sadness, the more consistent will be the passage of water from the system.

When sufficient water has passed through, there will be enough dryness inside to once again ignite your spark.

When the water has cleared sufficiently and the mourning process begins nearing an ending, the spark ignites reversing the conditions imposed for the mourning process: more motivation, the desire for social interaction, the impetus to initiate change (which is why many people when they move out of mourning will make changes in their lifestyle, such as re-decorating their house, changing their style of clothing or taking on new interests) and more vitality and energy.


Allowing for sadness, representing it, and when appropriate, providing the conditions of its expression -and not shying away from it – optimizes the mourning process.

Then mourning is allowed to become an important and necessary instrument to assist us in our adaptation to change.

Thank you to the 374,893 people who visited my Book Blog this last month! Pietro.

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I wish you well


3 thoughts on “Mourning does not Mean Wearing Black Clothes for a Year

  1. This came on the anniversary of my mother’s death. Each year, at this time, there is a heightened awareness of her . I suppose this remembrance can be called one’s own personal ‘stations of the cross” around the passing of a beloved.

    This year, I was called to go within and be still. I lit a candle before her picture, emailed my brothers to acknowledge our connection, then sent prayers of gratitude and love out to her. I do not know that they reached her. I have no idea how the cosmos works. Is her consciousness floating out there somewhere? Does the light of a candle, and a thought and prayer call her back? I have no idea. All I do know is that I am connecting to her through my entire being; my physicality, my emotions, my thoughts. That connection bridges space and time. It also means I am connected most intimately with my true self. By allowing the gratitude, the love, sadness, as well as some anger to arise, I am brought more alive.

    I am grateful today. I feel blessed to have known such a woman, who I consider a spectacular example of what it is to be fully human. I am also grateful for the fears, the grief, and the anger. Allowing them egress leaves more joy in the spaces. Thank you for your words, so true, Pietro, and for all your teachings. May you be well.

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