Grief is something we all experience at some point in our lives. It can be triggered by life events, such as the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship or significant changes. Four Tasks of Mourning provides us with a “tasks” we can engage in while we are mourning the loss of our loved one.

1. Accept the reality of the loss.
The first task in mourning involves accepting the reality of the loss. It’s not just about acknowledging that someone or something has physically gone, but also about recognising and accepting the impact and emptiness that the loss leaves behind. This step is all about coming to terms with the finality of the loss and dealing with the range of emotions that come up. It’s a process of moving denial and embracing the present reality, influenced by the loss.
2. Processing the pain of the loss.
The second task involves processing the physical and emotional pain associated with the grief. Grief is not a step by step ordered process but can be likened to riding and emotional roller coaster with its ups and downs, twists and turns. This second task of mourning entails allowing ourselves to fully experience the emotions associated with grief, e.g., sadness, anger, guilt, or any others related to the loss. Remember, we do not want to disregard, hold back or not pay attention to our emotions. This is a maladaptive coping strategy to temporarily avoid pain. Remember! The suppression of our emotions can lead to various negative health effects on our physical and mental well-being. Potential examples include, risk to types of mental health issues, strained relationships and psychosomatic symptoms.
3. Adapting to the changes that have occurred after the loss.
The third task in mourning relates to adapting to the changes that have occurred in your life. It does not mean forgetting or replacing what or who has been lost. It means adapting your life that has been forever changed by this event. It involves finding ways to incorporate their memory or essence into the moment. This may include creating rituals connecting with others or seeking solace in cherished memories. It is also about determining how the event has changed you as a person, and how you aim to adapt to the loss.
4. Reconciling the past with the present.
The final task of mourning revolves around reconciling the past with present. It’s about finding a way to keep the memory and emotions associated with those who have passed, but in a manner that allows us to keep having fulfilling relationships with others and being able to complete our day to day tasks. Therefore, lasting tributes such as creating memorials or engaging in activities that were once shared with them serves to not sever our ties but transform that relationship into a lasting source of encouragement or inspiration.