Grief is derived from the French word “greve,” which is translated to mean a heavy burden (Focus on Family, 2012). Anyone that has experienced grief understands that is can be crushing and it is easy to get stuck in your grief. The burden of going through the grieving or mourning process can be crushing, exhausting, and isolating.
J.W. Worden explains the Four Tasks of Mourning in a way that are easy to understand and relatable (Strong, 2012).
- One must first accept the reality of the loss.
- It is important to work through the pain of grief.
- Adjusting to life without the deceased.
- Maintaining a connection to the deceased while moving on with life.
Accepting the Reality:
Learning to accept that the loss of your love one is real and permanent can take time. This sounds like it would be easy to do, but this can be a challenge even months and years later. It is hard to believe that someone you thought would be there forever is gone. Learning to accept your new reality will help in moving forward and working through your grief journey.
Work Through the Pain:
Working through the pain of grief is an important part of the grieving process. It is important to remember to take care of yourself and allow yourself the time you need. No person is the same, and everyone grieves differently. Taking care of you physically and emotionally, this could include finding a new hobby or using exercise as an outlet. Another outlet could be helping others by volunteering or reaching out to others that have experienced loss and creating an initiative to help others in need. Share your story…this is a great way to release any pent-up emotions and could help others know they are not alone.
Adjusting to a New Life:
Adjusting to a new life after loss is a trying and difficult process that can be challenging for anyone. With the loss of someone close, we might lose some of our identity, such as the loss of a spouse or a child. The creation of new routines, new plans for the future, and maybe even new identity could cause stress until these things become the new normal. Give yourself time to adjust and to learn how to accept and create your new life. Also, give yourself permission to keep living life and enjoying those around you.
Maintaining a Connection:
Don’t feel like you need to move on, and forget about your love one that has died. It is better to integrate your grief into your life and learn how to move forward, instead of feeling like you need to move on. Speak their name, tell stories, laugh at silly things they use to do. Keep their memory and their spirit alive. This will help you to feel as though you are still connected to your loved one, and will help you to share their life with others.
Grief can be messy, confusing, and scary. Remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Just when you think you are through the tough part, something may hit you hard, and you are deep in grief again. The process of grief can be like a bowl of spaghetti. It has individual pieces that you need to work through, but all those pieces can be tangled together. Just remember to take it a piece at a time, and be patient and kind to yourself and those around you.
Focus on Family. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/
Strong, D. (2012, July). The Four Tasks of Grief. Alliance of Hope, (),.