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. Some people may find it impossible to get over their grief by themselves and may need more help. Sometimes this is called 'Complicated Grief' or 'Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder'. 

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 or see below for our recommendation for online grief counseling if you feel that you may need it. 

Related Pages: 

Elizabeth Kubler Ross and the 5 Stages of Grief

Books on Coping with Grief

Where to get help: 

Have You Considered One-on-One Online Grief Counseling? 

Get Expert and Effective Help in the Comfort of Your Own Home

The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.  

Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward?  It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life. 

Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.

  • Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you.  It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.  
  • Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.  
  • Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone. 
  • You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
  • Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
  • Or read more about how online counseling works here.  
Woman Crying. Get Started with Online Counselling

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.  

Read more about it here. 

For Remembrance: 

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Heart Shaped Sterling Silver Pendant for Cremation Ashes, Engraved Forever Loved

Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One

Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one.  Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles.  Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift. 

Click here to see our selection

Create an Online Memorial Website

Honour your loved one with their own memorial website.  Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website.  Free for basic plan with no ads. 

Find out more here. 

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To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life"

Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.  

The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day! 

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