Tasks of Grieving
Grieving tasks, or mourning, that the bereaved person faces involve active rather passive participation. It is some-times called “grief work” because it is difficult and requires tremendous effort and energy to accomplish.
Rando (1984) describes tasks inherent to grieving that she calls the “six R’s”:
· Recognize: Experiencing the loss, and understanding that it is real, it has happened.
· React: Emotional response to loss, feeling the feelings.
· Recollect and re-experience: Memories are reviewed and relived.
· Relinquish: Accepting that the world has changed (as a result of the loss), and there is no turning back.
· Readjust: Beginning to return to daily life; loss feels less acute and overwhelming.
· Reinvest: Accepting changes that have occurred; re-entering the world, forming new relationships and commitments.
Worden (2008) views the tasks of grieving as follows:
1. Accepting the reality of the loss: It is common for peo-ple initially to deny that the loss has occurred, it is toopainful to be acknowledged fully. Over time, the person wavers between belief and denial in grappling with this task. Traditional rituals, such as funerals and wakes, are helpful to some individuals.
2. Working through the pain of grief: A loss causes pain, both physical and emotional, that must be acknowl-edged and dealt with. Attempting to avoid or suppress the pain may delay or prolong the grieving process. The intensity of pain and the way it is experienced varies among individuals, but it needs to be experienced for the person to move forward.
3. Adjusting to an environment that has changed because of the loss. It may take months for the person to realize what life will be like after the loss. When a loved one dies, roles change, relationships are absent or different, lifestyle may change, and the person’s sense or identity and self-esteem may be greatly affected. Feelings of fail-ure, inadequacy, or helplessness at times are common. The individual must develop new coping skills, adapt to the new or changed environment, find meaning in the new life, and regain some control over life to con-tinue to grow. Otherwise, the person can be in a state of arrested development and get stuck in mourning.
4. Emotionally relocating that which has been lost and moving on with life. The bereaved person identifies a special place for what was lost and the memories. The lost person or relationship is not forgotten or diminished in importance, but rather is relocated in the mourner’s life as the person goes on to form new relationships, friends, life rituals, and moves ahead with daily life.