According to Worden, one of the most famous experts on grief therapy
in the world, there are four tasks in mourning:
accept reality of loss
experience and bear the pain or grief
adjust to a world in which the dead person is missing
withdraw and reinvest emotional energy.
The tasks of mourning begin with the acceptance of the reality of the
loss. Being present at the death, seeing the body after death, and the rituals of a funeral all help to bring this home to the bereaved.
All intrapsychic change is stressful and most people at some stage try to avoid the pain of grief.
They may search for a substitute for the relation that is lost (for
example, they may re-marry quickly, or adopt another child in place of
the one they lost).
It is much wiser, though initially more lonely and painful, to wait
until grieving is complete before attempting to form a new relationship.
Adjusting to a world in which the dead person is missing entails changing many of the rituals of daily life and may include taking on some of the functions previously assumed by the dead person (if, for example, in a
young family the father dies, mother finds that has to play some of the
father’s roles too, and, in doing so, she becomes a whole, more
In the early stages of mourning, the bereaved person is preoccupied with the memory of the dead. It is as if the psyche has to re-evaluate all the aspects of the relationship and get it into perspective, accepting and
forgiving the bad, and appreciating the good, before letting go.