The First Tasks: Acceptance

There are many approaches that people have created to illustrate how people process grief.  Some talk about stages, some talk about steps, and one talks about tasks.  William Worden provides for us four tasks of grief in order to achieve equilibrium in our life again. These four tasks can be completed in the order the bereaved needs to do to start to heal and the tasks can be completed as many times as necessary.  Often times, we repeat these tasks over and over again throughout our lives.

The four tasks are:

To accept the reality of the loss

To work through the pain of grief

To adjust to an environment where the deceased is missing

To find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on what each of these mean and how we can possibly work through them. The first we’ll be focusing on is how to accept the reality of the loss.

Task 1- To accept the reality of the loss.

Ok, easy right? No, not really. It can sometimes take a considerable amount of time for us to accept the reality of the death of our loved one, especially the first time.  Sometimes people who are grieving can get stuck in normal feelings of grief, one of them being denial. It’s hard to imagine us waking up the next day after we find out a loved one has died and know they won’t be there. But the acceptance of the reality of the loss is something we have to do in order to start processing our grief fully. That moment that our minds and hearts finally accept that our loved one is dead is heartbreaking.

Acceptance is something we are going to do more than once. I sometimes have periods where I have to remind myself of my reality of my loved ones being gone almost daily. There may be times that you find re-acceptance easier than others. If you’re finding that you’re struggling with accepting the reality of the loss of your loved one, seeking help from a mental health professional could be a positive thing for you.

I hope throughout the next few weeks when we explore these tasks that you find some comfort in knowing all of these feelings you are feeling right now are normal. I hope you also find some comfort in knowing there is no right way to grieve and that you’ll be able to accept the reality that we will all live with our grief the rest of our lives.

Be sure to check back next week for task 2- to work through the pain of grief.


Published by Bryna Talamantez

LMFT specializing in grief counseling for children, teens, adults and families.

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