1. the state or fact of being bereaved or deprived of something or someone
  2. a period of grief after bereavement
  3. people who have recently suffered bereavements

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Synonyms. sorrow, affliction, deprivation, misfortune, tribulation.

Other Related Words. death, grief, loss, mourning, misplacement

Guiding Words

Although the word can encompass any aspect of being deprived of something, the term bereavement finds its most stinging reality in the loss felt following a death. We tend to want to limit the time parameters to the days immediately surrounding the funeral and burial, the pains of bereavement usually continue for a much longer period of time.

The depth and intensity of emotion felt during this time of mourning may best have been captured in a letter sent by then President Abraham Lincoln.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully.

Abraham Lincoln

Source. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.
Source., LLC, 2013. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.