Can wearing black truly help a grieving person? | Grieving Together

There was a time when wearing black after a death was simply what was done.  It was the proper etiquette. A widow would wear a full length black dress, often for a full year. Black armbands were commonly worn for 6 months following the death of a parent or spouse. Yet these traditions seem to be a thing of the past. Was there something important about wearing black? Did it truly help the grieving person? On one hand, I think the gut response is to answer ‘of course not, it’s just a color’. True. Yet, not true. The important part of wearing black was that it was a society-wide norm. Everyone knew what it meant if you were seen wearing black. Nowadays, widows don’t wear black dresses, and armbands are rarely seen outside of a funeral service, if even that. Instead, we might see pink if the person died from breast cancer, or orange to signify their favorite color. Is there anything wrong with that? Again, the first instinct is to answer ‘of course not, it’s just a color’. Again, true. Yet, not true. Unfortunately, while it is fantastic that people wish to support the research of breast cancer, wearing pink does not let your surrounding community know whether you have lost someone to breast cancer, or just know someone who underwent treatment for breast cancer, and continues to live today. Wearing black is more than a tradition, it serves a function.   Whether we like the color choice or not, someone many years ago chose black as the color to represent mourning. The purpose of mourning is to let people know that you have lost someone close to you, and are experiencing grief from that loss. It is a reminder to others of what you’re experiencing.It is even more important …

Source: Can wearing black truly help a grieving person? | Grieving Together

About Sue Rosenbloom, M.A., C.T.

Thanatologist: Loss and Grief Coach - My blog is for educational purposes only. I am not a licensed professional counselor - Bachelor of Arts in Human Studies - Marylhurst University (2007)- Certificate in Thanatology - Hood College (2008) Master of Arts in Thanatology - Hood College (2009) Certificate in Thanatology - The-Association for Death Education and Counseling (The highest level of loss and grief education). * Hospice, Alzheimers and Senior's Advocate * Former first responder for Trauma Intervention Program, Inc. (TIP) * Hospice and Bereavement Volunteer for Providence Hospice Bereavement Program * Association for Death Education and Counseling Member * National Alliance for Bereavement of Children * Hood College Thanatology Association * American Group Psychotherapy Association * Marylhurst Gerontolgy Association * Oregon Gerontology Association * Hospice, Loss, Grief and Bereavement Researcher * Creative Writer
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