How The Heck Does One Grieve and Mourn?!

In my previous blog, Grief: The Birthplace of Healing, Repair and Transformation, I shared why it is important to for you to grieve and mourn, but what if you find you simply cannot grieve and mourn at all? I have had many clients tell me that they don’t know how to grieve and mourn and have asked for my help with this process.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

I find this extremely sad because what it tells me is that we have lost touch with our innate and normal ability to grieve and move on. Babies and young children know how to grieve and mourn – we hear them do it all the time. As adults it often makes us uncomfortable and we try to stop others when they express emotional distress. Ironically, if we let them grieve and mourn, and express the fullness of their emotional experience we notice that their upset passes extremely quickly. Think again of a child crying, in reality, as painful as it is to listen to and be present with, kids really don’t cry that long (it’s just usually ear piercingly loud and painful!). Unfortunately, we live in a culture where we learn that it is not okay to show our feelings; this is especially true for boys who are repeatedly given the message to grow up and be a man. We are constantly told “get over it”; yet telling someone to “get over it” is not a particularly effective strategy to help them actually recover! It’s about as effective as telling someone to just quit smoking – as if either of these is easily accomplished on one’s own!

Everyone grieves differently. We often have an image in our mind of what grieving looks like. Perhaps you imagine someone being a “basket case” or melting down like a puddle on the kitchen floor or unable to eat or get out of bed. But just because you are not lying on the floor in a puddle does not mean you cannot or are not grieving.

You’ll see what I mean if you just notice what you are thinking and feeling throughout the day. If your mind wanders, where does it go? Do you think about how much you miss your spouse/partner? Do you feel sadness because you won’t see your kids for a few days or longer? Do you get angry more easily? Are you in denial that your family break-up is really happening? Do you try to talk your spouse out of his/her decision? Each of these behaviors reflect different stages and phases of grieving.

If at anytime your grieving and mourning becomes overwhelming, please remember to get support from a trained professional. You do not have to go through this alone. Treat yourself kindly and gently – your heart is tender, hold it with loving kindness.

For those of you who are interested in working with me directly and learning specific tools to manage your grief and why it is important to understand the stages of grieving and how they impact whether your children are kept out of the emotional crossfire, please CLICK HERE to join me for a free Question and Answer call about my upcoming program – Keep Your Kids Out of the Emotional Crossfire.


In Support ~

Signature for Cat J. Zavis, Coach for divorced parents




CatProfileCat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator, Child Advocate and Coach for Parents co-parenting their children after divorce. As a divorced mother of 2, she deeply understands the challenges, trauma and opportunities divorce provides. She has been practicing Nonviolent Communication, Mediation and Collaborative Law for 7 years. She conducts workshops and trainings in Nonviolent Communication for parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. Her combination of personal experience and professional expertise give Cat a unique perspective and ability to help co parents learn to communicate effectively and powerfully to transform their relationships and interactions with their former after divorce so they and their children can thrive.

Cat can be reached at

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