The Teens Five Tasks of Mourning
1. To accept the reality of the loss
When someone dies, even if it is expected, there is an initial feeling that it hasn‟t really happened. One of the first things we need to get is that the person is really dead and we will never see them again, hear their voice again, talk to them again…at least not in this lifetime. Helping create, or at least attending the funeral, wake or memorial service can help. So does talking about how the death happened and sharing memories of the person who died.
2. To experience the pain of grief
When we lose someone we love, it hurts really badly. As we tell stories about the death and about the person who died, we have strong feelings like sadness, longing, anger, guilt, fear, confusion, and loneliness. These are normal. The more we love someone, the more it hurts to lose them. We can think of painful feelings as expressions of love for the person who died. Some people might be uncomfortable with our strong feelings, so it is important to find understanding people to hang around with. Journaling, doing art, and playing or listening to music can help to.
3. To adjust to a world in which the deceased is gone
The realization of what it is like to live without the deceased person usually begins to emerge after about three months. Sometimes we find ourselves thinking we hear their voice or see them driving down the street. We might even pick up the phone to call them. Each time this kind of thing happens is another opportunity to remember the truth: they are gone forever. When an immediate family member dies, there are big changes in family roles and duties. When a best friend, pet or close relative dies, that special someone who occupied our time is no longer there, so our time is spent very differently. Life has dramatically changed. It takes time to get used to this different life.
4. To reinvest in other activities and relationships
Sometimes we fear that we will forget our deceased loved one. But really, we never do. Being touched by someone is a forever thing. Some of us worry about replacing the person with someone new, but we can never really replace people since they are one-of-a-kind. If we try to replace someone, things are sure to fail. And if we resist loving again, for fear of replacing them, that, too, is tragic. In healthy grieving, we eventually stop investing so much of ourselves in grieving our loved one. We begin to form other relationships and invest in other activities. This is the way we go on living, even though someone we loved died.
5. To accurately remember the deceased
It is normal during the grief process to have all kinds of memories of the deceased and of our past times with them. Some memories are good, and some are not so good. If the relationship was mostly positive, we tend to remember good things at first. If the relationship was hard, we will tend to mostly remember the bad things at first. Eventually, it is important to have a well-rounded memory of the one who died, and of our relationship with them. Our memory is, after all, what we have left of them.
Adapted by WinterSpring, from William Worden‟s Four Tasks of Mourning.