NACOS 2.3: Worden’s third task, which is to “Adjust to Life Without.”

NACOS 2.3: Worden’s third task, which is to “Adjust to Life Without.”

Topic #2: Recognizing patterns of grief in congregations and cultures utilizing William Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning. Grief is defined as an adaptation to unwanted change.

2.3 Using the mental model of Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning, consider how your congregation is coping with the loss of “the way we have always done it before” due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Who – an individual or a group – is an example of what it is like to be struggling with the third task (which is to “Adjust to the Life Without”)?

QUOTE: Task Three – To Adjust to an Environment in Which the Deceased is Missing
The rearranging, restructuring and redefining that takes place as we begin to identify and fill the roles formerly occupied by the deceased defines this third task. When the deceased played a marginal role in our lives we may find this easy; when he or she seemed to finish every sentence we began and was so much a part of our everyday lives that we feel like we have lost a part of ourselves, accomplishing this task may be more difficult. We may also find it simpler to take care of the concrete tasks that were part of the deceased’s contribution to our lives than to fill the emotional roles which can often escape our notice until much later in the grieving process.
Learning how to balance the checkbook after the death of a spouse, for example, may be a lot easier than finding someone who makes us smile. This readjustment usually takes place over time as we recognize the implications of the loss and come to terms with all of the gaps, both real and symbolic, that the death has created in our lives. [1]

What does it look like when someone is struggling to adjust to the new reality of the Coronavirus pandemic? What behaviors do we see?

The “Come Aparts” – we are doing fine, when something triggers grief, and we “come apart” temporarily. After a pause, where we are unable to function fully, we can reassemble ourselves and continue on with life.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Describe someone stuck at this task, either in your life or in your congregation.
What would you do to help?

SOURCE – Footnotes:
[1]   Tasks of Grief, Suicide Prevention Program.

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