Task Four: Embarking on A New Life

We are at the end of our four task series. If you have not had a chance to read about the other three, I would do that now.

The fourth task of Worden’s Tasks of Mourning is to find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life. At the beginning of our grief, this seems unmanageable. How are we supposed to go on without our loved one? How dare we move on and forget our loved one? Well, the answer we eventually come to is that we don’t have to. We do not have to go on with life completely without our loved one. We get to take them with us.

Ok, what? They are not physically here. How do we do this? Let’s back track a little bit to answer that question. We have talked about accepting the reality of our loss, then working through the pain or our grief and then adjusting to a new life where the deceased is missing. When we have taken the time to do these things, we can prepare our minds and hearts for embarking on our new life.

So what does that look like? For everyone, it looks different but I can tell you what mine looks like. As many of you know, I have several family members that I miss on a daily basis. I keep them in my life by having their picture physically around in my house. A picture of Mom and I at Disney World, a frame holding a memory of Dad and me on my first birthday, little tokens throughout my home to remind me of them every day. Besides tokens around my home, I hold their memory with me wherever I go. I often find myself asking “What Would Debbi Do?” My mom, Debbi, always had some crazy ideas and sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t, but she always had the gumption to try. So sometimes if I need to push myself to think out of my comfort zone, I think that to myself. I know my mannerisms that I have still come from my parents so that also serves as a constant reminder for me. For those of you that know me personally, my ability to fit as many “y’alls” in a conversation is incredible.

“Those that love us never really leave us.”-Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is something I find myself repeating almost daily, if not to myself but to people I’m talking to about grief as well. The next sentence in this quote is “And you can always find them…in here.” Sirius points to Harry’s heart. When we decide to embark on a new life after our loved one has died, no one says we have to forget our loved one. We do not have to have this life without their presence. They are with us in our hearts every day. I hope that you find some ways to keep your loved one with you and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Published by Bryna Talamantez

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

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