How Long Does Grief Last?
Grief is a lifelong journey that changes over time. The grief you feel today will look different than the grief you feel years from now. Despite common perceptions, there is no “moving on,” “getting over it” or “closure”. Rather, most grief experts describe a process in which the grieving individual adapts to grief and/or integrates their grief into their life. This occurs through a combination of grief work, coping tools and time.
Because grief is so immensely painful, as well as physically and mentally exhausting, many individuals approach their grief little by little. This is referred to as grief work. Dr. Alan Wolfelt, founder of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, states “Denial allows us to be present for things we otherwise could not bear.” Denial is an important coping tool to allow us to function in some capacity when our world has been shattered. You do not have to fully embrace your grief in this moment.
You will find your grief does not really lessen over time; instead, your capacity to carry it increases. Eventually, it won’t feel so heavy and debilitating as it does today- not because you grieve less or you love you child less, but because you have adapted to carrying it.