- Denial and Isolation
The stages are meant to be gone through one after the other with little flexibility in revisiting stages. J William Worden disagreed with the fives stages and created his own idea of how grief is experienced. He proposed the Four Tasks of Grief model. The model is meant to flexible and allows mourners to tailor each stage to their own experience versus having to fit their grief into pre-determined stages. The tasks are as followed:
Task 1: To Accept the Reality of a Loss
During task one the mourner is faced with the death to the point where it almost might not feel real. It may not hit the mourner how deep the death can affect their lives. What will holidays look like? Who will I call when I need support? During this task some ways to help accept the death are by completing rituals including funeral planning or creating a way to honor the life of the loved one.
Task 2: Process Grief and Pain
The second task is all about feeling whatever comes up for the mourner. That can include anger, sadness, relief, and exhaustion to name a few. The spectrum of feelings will be large and vast. The most important part of task two is to remember that the mourner must express these feelings and not avoid them. To acknowledge how grief is felt and be open about the feelings will help to work through the complex feelings.
Task 3: Adjust to the World Without Your Loved One
With the death of a loved one many holes will be left. Some of the holes are internal and others are external. If a parent has died, it will require adjustments to parental support and roles in families. The adjustment to the new reality is emotional and can require a lot of time. To help work through this task, it will require awareness of the impact of that the death had and how to create a new life without that person in it.
Task 4: To Find a Connection with the Deceased While embarking on a New Journey
Task 4 is about creating a way to remain emotionally connected to the person who has died. There are many ways to achieve the connection by remembering the person who died, finding a physical memorial connection or rituals such as visiting their gravesite.
Death is permanent and painful. It is important to practice self-care in the time of grief and maintain relationships that bring you joy.