Meaning of the terms loss, grief, mourning and bereavement

Something we want to know but nobody wants to talk about

In children’s palliative care both children and families alike are affected by loss and death. It is the one topic we dread discussing and avoid at all costs if possible.

“One of the things I have learnt on my journey is the way we view grief and loss, especially baby loss, depends on our personal views of death and life. If one values every life, whether it be short or long, that changes how we grieve and importantly how we live. If we want to embrace life, we also need to accept death; the two go hand in hand and if we can lose the fear surruonding this often taboo subject, we can become open to the emotions that grief and loss bring”  Zoë Clark-Coates, grief expert and founder of  ‘The Mariposa Trust’

She asks the reader the following questions in her book ‘The Baby Loss Guide’:

  • “Is there a place for grief in our lives?
  • “Is it possible to see the value of grief in our lives?”
  • “If we give grief a chair around a table, would it stop its constant knocking on our door without invitation?”

Grief terminology

There is often confusion around the meaning of the terms loss, grief, mourning and bereavement and these terms will be used extensively throughout this course. Work through the following activity to reveal the meaning of each of these terms by clicking on each of tabs.