How Long Is the Grieving Process?

Some say that a normal grieving process takes around 2 years. But everyone is different. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be miserable for 2 years.

Grieving is a gradual process, where you learn how to live and cope with your loss. It doesn’t have to be a depressing time. It can be full of memories and love, laughter and tears. Strong emotions are not always negative, but are part of the healing process.

Because you are in mourning doesn’t mean you can’t get on with your life or experience times of joy.

Many bereaved people are married again within eighteen months. This doesn't mean they thought any less of their departed, just that they were confident in a happy relationship and wanted to repeat it. Others are not ready to contemplate this step for many years. 

It depends on personality traits too. Some people can live alone, whereas others find this very difficult. Coping with children alone can give little time for socialising and it is difficult to meet new friends.

Family circumstances can have an influence on how long the grieving process takes. If the bereaved person has a good support system and lots of help, then the level of acceptance can be reached earlier.

An individual's own capabilities of dealing with the slings and arrows of life's misfortunes also comes into the situation. Some people cope with disasters far better than others.

Quote - Joy  Comes, Grief Goes

Denial of Grief

Some people are in denial about the death of a loved one, and can’t grieve or cry. The normal grieving process gets blocked or frozen.  

To get through this, do talk about the loved one, and encourage friends and family to talk about them too. Some people tend to be scared to mention the person who has died in case of upsetting you.

You need to cry so don’t be afraid of breaking down in front of people and letting it all out. It will get easier to talk about them without becoming too emotional. But if you have a good cry, so what? Experiencing strong emotion is part of life and means that you are a caring human being.

Read more about denial of grief here.  

What are the grieving process steps?  

The grief expert Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was the author of the idea of 5 stages of grief, but even she didn't expect that people would go through them one by one or in any particular order.  

The steps are: 

Not everyone will experience all of them and you may experience many other emotions during your grief journey.  Most people are in shock to begin with.   You may also experience guilt, or jealousy.  

We prefer to talk about the emotions of grief and you can read more about them here.  

Many people talk about waves of emotion or grief being like a roller-coaster. (Have a look at the beautiful definitions of grief written by our colleagues).  The grieving process is certainly not predictable and everyone will have their own personal grief journey, depending on lots of factors. Having support of family and friends or from a good therapist can really help.  Trying to keep a positive attitude and keep busy will also help.  We have an inspiring list of activities to help.  

Read more about Kubler Ross and the stages of grief

Stuck in Grief

Some people get depressed and need help to move along the bereavement path. If you find yourself getting stuck in grief, don’t be afraid to ring for help. Chat with a friend when you feel despair or join a grief support group.

Remember there is a difference between grief and depression. Don’t be afraid to grieve, to feel pain, to cry and let it all out. But if it gets overwhelming, then think about getting some help from your doctor.

If this is the first time you have coped with loss then it can be very hard and take longer. Only you can get through this. Family may love you but they cannot do it for you. You can do it for your loved one and your family's sake. You can cope and get on with your life for as long or short as that may be. Do it for your deceased beloved too. They would not like to think of you forever distressed.

Pink Flower to Cheer the Grieving Process

How to Feel Better

Every life is precious, every lifespan is different. Accept that and relish the life that your loved one had. Make time for yourself now. Give yourself permission to enjoy your life too. You don’t think less of a loved one because you are enjoying life again.

It’s what they would want and expect of you. It’s what you would want for your loved one if you had died first.

The length of the grieving process is different for everyone.  There are lots of pages on this site to help you work through it.   Start with How to Deal with Grief

Related Pages: 

Elizabeth Kubler Ross and the 5 Stages of Grief

Books on Coping with Grief

> > How Long is the Grieving Process?

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Self-Help Hypnosis Downloads

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind and help you cope with your grief. We recommend Hypnosis Downloads which have been created especially for those who are grieving by qualified specialists in medical hypnotherapy.

Choose from this list of grief and loss tracks for your specific type of loss.  


Memorial Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years.  What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life. 

These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the country and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate. 

The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.


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