The Six Needs of Mourning

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Leaf Branch 6After someone you love dies, you grieve inside. You have many different thoughts and feelings, most of them painful. We call this interior experience of loss “grief.”

Mourning means to express your grief outside of yourself. Mourning is crying, talking to other people about the death, sharing stories, putting together photo albums, journaling, and other actions. Mourning is essential because it’s through mourning that you begin to heal.

Everyone grieves and mourns differently, but there are some steps along the way that we all must encounter. I call these the “six needs of mourning.” You might think of them as your “to-do list” as, slowly and over time, you work on actively expressing—or mourning—your grief. Meeting the six needs of mourning one day at a time will help you move toward a life of meaning and purpose again.

Accompanying Article: “The Journey Through Grief: The Six Needs of Mourning”