Caitlin, NY funeral home

The Four Tasks of Mourning

Even before the funeral process at Caitlin, NY funeral homes begins, grieving loss of a loved one is set in motion. Mourning serves a purpose for the living, and it should, at some point, accomplish four tasks. There is no time limit on mourning nor is there a right or wrong way to mourn. But the five stages of grief made famous by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross don’t always happen in order and they don’t always happen the same way to every mourner. Kubler-Ross herself, later in life, expressed regret that she didn’t present the five stages of grief in a different manner.  

It doesn’t mean that understanding the five stages of grief is not valuable, but there’s more to mourning that needs to be explained and that needs to happen.   

The first task of mourning is accepting the reality of the loss. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all the realities that accompany death are understood or accepted, but it does mean that those grieving have to recognize that they’ve experienced a permanent loss in this life.  

The next task of mourning is to work through the pain of grief. This is different for everyone in terms of how they do it and how long it takes. None of us likes dealing with emotional pain, but for some people it is so difficult that they either ignore the pain, they suppress the pain, or they numb the pain. All of this is emotionally unhealthy. Ignoring the pain doesn’t make it go away. Suppressing the pain doesn’t diminish its effect. And numbing the pain is not only emotionally unhealthy, but can also be physically unhealthy.  

Sooner or later, the pain of grief comes to the surface and it has to be addressed and dealt with, because it can’t be ignored, suppressed, or numbed forever.   

One thing that’s important to recognized in this task is that working through the pain of grief head-on takes some people much more time than it does others. This is known as complicated grief. The amount of time a person works through the pain of grief does not correlate to them not working through it. Never tell somebody that they need to move on and get over it, because you don’t know how they’re working through this task.  

The third task of mourning is adjusting to a new environment where a loved one is missing. This can be very, very difficult, especially for spouses of and for children who were primary caregivers for the deceased person. This new environment has a void that no one and nothing can fill. It’s an environment that has practical barriers including finances, property, and companionship, among other things. It’s a new world that starts all over with a page missing, and that can be difficult.   

A very wise piece of advice, especially with big financial or property decisions after the death of a loved one, is to put these kinds of things on hold for at least a year after the person has died. It doesn’t mean everything will be fine in a year, but there will be more objective clarity.  

The last task of mourning is to find an enduring connection with the deceased person while embarking on a new life without them. Often this can include rituals into life that honor their loved one, such as laying flowers at their grave each year on their birthday and being comfortable thinking about and sharing memories of the deceased.    

At Caitlin, NY funeral homes, our sympathetic and knowledgeable staff at Roberts Funeral Home can help you with grief resources. You can see us at our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can call us today at (607) 734-7811.