Learn English – the expression for the process of getting over the loss of a loved person


The term mourning usually refers to the sorrow felt because of the death of a person:

  • Great ​sadness ​felt because someone has ​died:
    • Shops were ​closed as a ​sign of mourning for the ​king.
      He was in mourning for his ​wife.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

  • What is the expression that indicates the process, which may vary from person to person, during which the deep sorrow for the death of a friend or family member is 'elaborated' and the death is finally accepted?

I am referring to the process we all undergo after the loss of a loved person (a parent, a friend, a family member). It is neither positive or negative, it is just a natural way to face a personal loss. We all may react differently and may require more or less time. It generally ends when you "accept" the loss.

I use "get over" in the title, it is a good expression but a generic one.

Best Answer

You could consider using come to terms with which means:

to start to accept and deal with a difficult situation: 'She's never really come to terms with her son's death'.

[Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed]

To accept could be another choice:

Tolerate or submit to (something unpleasant or undesired).

If you read the linked 5 Stages of Loss and Grief, acceptance is the last stage of Loss and Grief:

Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.