I’ve heard it said repeatedly “I shouldn’t still be sad” or “I just need to get over this already.” I’ve had numerous people ask me if they are “crazy” or if something is “wrong” with them for still missing their loved one. I’ve had many conversations with people asking me how long it takes to stop grieving.
The thing is there is no set time for grief to be over and done with. Each person and each relationship is unique and so the grieving process is also unique.
The not so simple answer is that sometimes grief becomes complicated and extended. Sometimes people need professional help to get unstuck in their grief process. As humans we experience loss many times in our lives, starting as babies when we leave the cocoon of the womb. When we move houses for the first time, change jobs, change schools … all of these losses and changes build resiliency and the ability to cope well with change and loss. However, sometimes we get overwhelmed with the change or loss and our ability to cope is overwhelmed, we are “flooded” with emotions and get “stuck” for a while in that emotion. Sometimes the way we have learned to cope in the past, such as ignoring the emotion or distracting from the emotion, no longer works for us. Sometimes our grief isn’t socially sanctioned, such as when a ‘secret’ intimate partner loses the person they love, and so the social support is not there for that person, they sometimes feel isolated and alone without others to help them or witness their grief. Sometimes the loss happened a long time ago in the past and the grief finally surfaces and others around the grieving person do not know what to do with that. An example of this might be when a man loses a baby and he stays strong and supports his partner through the loss, then is busy working and supporting his family and doesn’t take time to grieve (not too long ago it was socially acceptable for the woman to grieve the loss of a baby, but not for the man). Now, 30 years later, the man has retired and the grief of that baby is triggered and he no longer has as many distractions to help him cope. Grief gets complicated sometimes and the length of time to work through that varies.
Sometimes professional help and reaching out to others for support is needed and good. We are available to help support you here at Heart ‘n Home. We offer Grief & Loss Support Groups that are open to the public.
You are not ‘crazy’ or ‘wrong’ for taking your time in the grief process. We learn as we go to move forward with our grief.