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Guide for Survivors

  • Five Tasks of Mourning

Five Tasks of Mourning

1. To accept the reality of the loss

a. Assist loved one with unfinished business and saying good bye before death
b. Dressing the body for burial
c. Attending the funeral
d. Visiting the gravesite

2. To experience the pain of the loss

a. Allowing sad feelings
b. Crying
c. Allowing angry feelings
d. Talking and writing — “telling the story” (i.e., journaling, poetry)
e. Exploring guilty feelings

3. To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing

a. In time, to dispose of the belongings of the deceased
b. Develop new skills and coping strategies (i.e., learning to drive, learning to cook, getting a job, learning to be alone)

4. To integrate the meaning of the loss into one's life

a. Spiritual and philosophical discussions
b. Spiritual and philosophical readings
c. Reflection — Prayer — Meditation
d. Life review
e. Writing

5.  To withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in another relationship

a. In time, to begin attending social functions
b. To be able to say: “There are other people to be loved, and that doesn’t mean I love ______ any less.”

Family Service of St. Paul, Copyright 1991.
Adapted from Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Practitioner’s Handbook, by William Worden.


St. Cloud Hospital Bereavement Line

Call the "Bereavement Line" at any time to leave a message, and you will be contacted by our Spiritual Care staff. This line is not for an emergency. If you feel your grief is overwhelming, call your provider, or seek help through the St. Cloud Hospital emergency room.


1406 Sixth Avenue North
St. Cloud, MN 56303