We have talked about Psychologist J. William Worden’s 1st and 2nd tasks of mourning in our previous blog posts and videos.  We continue our mini video series with the 3rd task, adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing.

As with tasks 1 and 2, grief counselor Jan McCarthy is providing us with a series of short videos on Worden’s Four Tasks of Grieving, breaking down the task one video at a time.

What does “adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing” exactly mean? It means different things to different people, depending on the relationship of the griever and their loved one. This can include adapting to living alone and taking over responsibilities that were handled by your loved one. The readjustment happens over a period of time. All of the roles and responsibilities that the deceased performed may not be fully understood for months or years to come.

This can be especially difficult for widows, who may need to learn a wide array of new skills, ranging from bill paying, parenting, and taking care of the home and cars, to environmental changes, such as living alone and going back to work.

To fully embrace this task, it requires us to adapt to a new and much changed world. Jan would, of course, remind us, that this takes time. These changes have to be made by circumstances, not by choice. Be gentle with yourself.

Most importantly, remember, healing happens gradually.