Task Two: Work Through the Pain

Last week, I started a series in which we are discussing Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning. If you haven’t read last week’s post, I would encourage you to do so to be able to have a better understanding of the tasks. This week we are continuing this series by talking about Worden’s second task of mourning. Remember, these four tasks do not have to be completed in order or just once. In fact, I believe that we work on these tasks on and off again throughout the rest of our lives.

Task two is to work through the pain of grief. Easier said than done right? But you can do it! Daily, as we are accepting the reality of the loss of our loved one, we will be hit with a pain of our grief. Some days we will feel it more than others. Like having to accept the reality of the loss, working through the pain of grief will come in phases.  You will have times that you will wake up every day feeling pain brought on by your grief. I believe this is one of those it takes time things. I know we hate that and we wish we had more control over it, but we don’t. Over time, you’re going to be able to wake up with less and less pain, but don’t be shocked if there’s a day you wake up after feeling ok that all of a sudden you feel like you are back at step one. Remember, grief is a journey that we will walk the rest of our lives. 

So how exactly are we supposed to work through the pain of our grief? This can be done in many ways, and I encourage you to figure out what works best for you.  For some people, being able to talk to people about your loved one and your feelings. This can happen with a group of friends or with a support group. This can also happen with a therapist if you feel like you want a one on one experience. The more that we talk about or write about our grief, the more that we are able to understand it and processes it with our full brain (the left and right brain). When we can engage both sides of our brain, this allows for a more in depth processing experience. With younger kids, I would also encourage coloring or drawing if writing is not their strength. 

Another way you can work through the pain of grief is allowing yourself to have the moments that you need to process and actually feel the pain of your grief. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to put on a good face and being in survival mode, that we forget we are eventually going have to face our pain. So allowing yourself to set aside time to put on some sad music or a sad movie to be able to allow you to feel. Having that time by yourself to go through old pictures or just be sad is not just okay, but it’s necessary. If you do not allow yourself time to process your pain, it can come out in more destructive ways eventually. 

Any form of expression, whether it be music, dance, or art, is a great place to start when it comes to working through our grief. You can choose to make these activities solo activities, or you can choose to do them with friends or family. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure it’s something that can bring you comfort on these days that feel so long and full of pain. What are some other ways you’ve been able to work through the pain of your grief? I’d love to hear them! 

Be sure to check in next week for task three!


Published by Bryna Talamantez

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

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