As a society, are we given the tools and time to adequately mourn? Not all researchers agree that we do. The “death-denying, grief-dismissing world” is the modern world (Kübler-Ross & Kessler, 2005, p. 205). We often grieve privately, quickly, and medicate our suffering with substances or activities. Employers grant 3 to 5 days for bereavement, if the loss is that of an immediate family member, and such leaves are sometimes limited to no more than one per year. Yet grief takes much longer and the bereaved are seldom ready to perform well on the job after just a few days. Obviously life does have to continue, but we need to acknowledge and make more caring accommodations for those who are in grief.
Four Tasks of Mourning: Worden (2008) identified four tasks that facilitate the mourning process. Worden believes that all four tasks must be completed, but they may be completed in any order and for varying amounts of time. These tasks include:
- Acceptance that the loss has occurred
- Working through the pain of grief
- Adjusting to life without the deceased
- Starting a new life while still maintaining a connection with the deceased
Support Groups: Support groups are helpful for grieving individuals of all ages, including those who are sick, terminal, caregiving, or mourning the loss of a loved one. Support groups reduce isolation, connect individuals with others who have similar experiences, and offer those grieving a place to share their pain and learn new ways of coping (Lynn & Harrold, 2011). Support groups are available through religious organizations, hospitals, hospice, nursing homes, mental health facilities, and schools for children.
Viewing death as an integral part of the lifespan will benefit those who are ill, those who are bereaved, and all of us as friends, caregivers, partners, family members and humans in a global society.