Theresa Rando's model of mourning breaks the process into six parts, within three phases, and these are part of the process of moving through grief. Each begins with the letter R. To a certain degree, these overlap with Worden's four tasks.
In early grief we struggle to understand what has happened, and accept it as real. We avoid the reality. In this model we need to recognise what has happened to us.
1. Recognise the loss
This is the step of acknowledging and understanding the death, and accepting its reality. This also includes understanding the cause of the loss, which can be difficult for people whose partners were killed in accidents, were murdered, or died by suicide.
In the confrontation phase we process what we are going through.
2. React to the separation
This step is about feeling all the emotions that are part of grief and loss – anger, pain, sadness, sorrow, and all the other things we go through – and accepting them. Reacting to them. Working through them. Sometimes we might have to give yourself permission to feel all of these things. It's also about accepting the secondary losses – things like the future we planned, the places we were going to go, the growing old together we had expected.
3. Recollect and re-experience the person and the relationship
When things begin to feel less raw, we can begin to remember the people we lost. It took a while after Tim died for me to even think about the things we'd done together, the things we'd loved doing together.
4. Relinquish attachments to the old life
This sounds harsh but I don't think it's meant to be. It's not about moving on or forgetting or leaving behind. It's about working through what has happened, and about accepting how it has changed our past, our present and our future.
The accomodation phase is about creating a new meaning and a new life, without forgetting the old.
5. Readjust and move into the new world
The readjustment stage talks about accepting who we are now and making a new identity for ourselves, while we still remember the person we lost.
The first big decision I made after Tim died was to do a part-time MA. For me this was reinvesting in myself, and in a future that I hadn't expected or planned for but that I wanted to try.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.