How long should you grieve?. January 24, 2008 8:01 AM
How long should you grieve?.
Sudden death of a loved one must be the greatest shock possible, but, the loss of a loved one, even though you have been given advance warning that this will be the outcome of an illness such as cancer, and feel prepared for the passing, will leave you with that journey that follows.
The pain of grieving. This is a journey that you will, and, must take. You will not be prepared for the thoughts that will enter your mind, you will not be prepared for your actions, you will not be prepared for grieving. You have never faced these problems before, you have never had to ask the questions, you have never had to seek the answers.
But, how long should grieving last?. There is no laid down period, we are all different, we all had different loved ones, we all have different memories, we all had different circumstances, so, we all have different periods of grieving. This grief is just another part of your life. Life is made up of many parts. There was the part where you were a babe in arms, the toddler, the child, the teenager, the first love, the wedding, the children, the good times, the bad times, etc, etc, and all of these parts are now tucked away in your mind. You moved on, you closed the door on each part. At anytime, you, can open that door and relive that part.
Now, you are at another part, it is only another part, not the end, you still have life to live, and, even though you might not think it now, it is ahead of you.
This does not answer the question, how long?. The answer is personal to you, you will know when to move on. Young or old, you will meet someone, maybe for love, or, maybe just for company, and than, you will have to ask yourself a question, "Am I grieving for my lost loved one, or, for myself?".
Please note:, I am not a counsellor and my entries on this site are personal observations, I don't know if they are right or wrong, but, I do have my own experience of bereavement.
This is really good Trevor,thank you. I am greiving the loss of my place/pets.Also what I thought was true love,and soulmate,and my son.I cannot see my son,his mother is a _ _ _ _ _,and I have done nothing wrong,and paying child support.I lost my pets/place due to a recent fire,and just before that happened,I lost my,what I thought was true love. You are right,I dont think theres a time limit on greif,it takes time,and depends on the individual. I do my best to forge on,not try to think about it,but somehow,something will hit me,and I feel down. You know.....they say things happen for a reason,and you look at all the horrid things that happen to people,and wonder,where is the justification in this?
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While I understand the concept expressed, I think that the initial question is flawed and not answerable. Grieving does not end at any point in time, and such concepts lead to thoughtless comments like "It's now been a year, so you should be able to move on." After over 14 years, I still grieve my daughter's death, and "objective time" does not apply. (See previous thread for my comments on subjective time.) The notion that one grieves "for" the person/object lost is also mistaken. Grieving is always about oneself and the personal impact of that loss; which is why each grief journey is unique. Our hurt and pain is due to the abence in our life. We might comment upon and regret the loss of potential that might have been achieved, but that is, in my opinion, very different than grieving. Even when, as in the title of this group, grief turns to Joy, grief is still present and can reassert itself at any time.
So I guess my answer - as best as I can give one - to the initial question of this thread is "for the rest of your life." It is inevitable and to deny it robs you of authenticity and reality. For me, it is not a question of how long you grieve (which makes it sound like a conscious choice), but what actions you take/choices you make/reactions you choose during your grief journey.
I do not suggest that I have the answer to the question, and I agree with you that there is no definitive answer to the question, but I do believe that by posing the question, the replies may help someone somewhere.
The loss of any loved one, in any way, is, as you say, our loss, and we are grieving over our loss, often for our own selfish reasons, we are the ones that feel that loss as we travel through a period of our lives that we don't understand, we have never had to seek these answers before, and we now have feelings that we have never had before.
In my opinion they are not normal feelings, although it is perfectly normal to have them, the question is, Should we carry them on for ever?
I don't think so. I believe, that, in our own time, we should attempt to fill that void that the loss has caused. Continuous grieving can lead to a depression that can have terrible results.
Acceptance of your loss is important, we all have to die, and for every loving relationship one part will eventually have to face this reality.
Life is made up of parts, childhood, teenage years, the first romance, the marriage, the children, and so on, each part, at the end of that part, must be filed away in a little room in your mind, the door is closed, but, it can be opened again at any time, and so it is with a death. We can not remain in that past. life goes on. Life is for living.
Yes, this is an individual point of view, it will not suit every one, but I keep in mind the words that end a poem by Christina Rossetti,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
No, you never forget, you just have to open that little door.
"often for our own selfish reasons" - wrong, wrong, wrong! We do not grieve for our own selfish reasons, but because it is a natural part of loss.
"In my opinion they are not normal feelings, although it is perfectly normal to have them, the question is, Should we carry them on for ever?" Internally inconsistent - your first two phrases contradict themselves.
"Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad." - If this is truly your belief, then this is not the group for you. We will always remember and, at times, be sad, without judgment. This is a support group without judgment - if you are not at that point in your process, please do not impose your own perspective on others.
I will be leaving your other group, as we obviously have different views on grieving.
For those that are grieving there are many ways in which they can be given support, there is no "One size suits all" answer as it appears that you believe, each has to reach the conclusion that is of most help to them, and, to achieve that end, all views should be open to them, and, at times, a little self honesty.
The feelings, and our actions, after loss are not normal, most of them are foreign to us, they have been brought on by our loss. Jealousy at seeing a couple together whilst I am alone, I have never been jealous before. The point is that theses feelings are normal to many bereaved persons but have NOT been normal feelings throughout life up to that point, and, not feelings that should be carried on for the rest of your life, it will not help.
I am well aware that some bereaved wish to carry their grief on for ever, and some, sad to say, revel in that grief, everyone has a choice and if that is the road selected, so be it.
I have no argument with anything that a grieving person finds to be of help to themselves. Many find "Religion" helps them, others may find that "Mediums and Spiritualism" help, the main thing is that what ever way you find that helps, that makes the grief easier, is not wrong.
It is not my desire to " impose your own perspective on others" but to offer a different view, to let it be known that there are "different" ways and all are "right".
Your quote, "please do not impose your own perspective on others.". Tim, you have every right to delete any message or comment that is posted by others on your group pages, but, this would be you that would be imposing your own perspective, unsure whether your views can stand examination by others.
I don't know if my opinions are right and I always make a point of saying that these are my views based on my experience during the period after loss, they helped me to "move on", they may help others.
"Tim, you have every right to delete any message or comment that is posted by others on your group pages, but, this would be you that would be imposing your own perspective, unsure whether your views can stand examination by others." Interesting perspective and judgment, Trevor! Any actions I take as group host (after due consideration and deliberation) are in support of what I believe to be the group's intent and purpose, as expressed by the founder (not me) and in previous group discussions over a substantial period of time. If the other group hosts disagree with me, they are not shy about letting me know. My personal views and whether they "can stand examination by others" have nothing to do with it. Your judgment/assertion as expressed in the above quote is another example of what I was pointing out previously about your posts containing judgments.
Perhaps I am reacting to the manner in which you express yourself, but words that contain an implied judgment (e.g., normal, should) have generally not been used in this group. Offering personal anecdotes and experience is what this group is about, but always in a positive non-judgmental manner. Continuing to grieve for many years or for the rest of one's life is not negative (altho I recognize some do get lost and "wallow" in it) - it all depends upon the definition you have of grieving and what is in the heart and mind of the griever. Many of us who grieve have lives that are productive and mostly happy. Most of the people I deal with have no clue about my personal tragedy...and yet, I still grieve.
In my comments, I try to incorporate my personal grief experiences as well as experiences I have had in counseling/talking with many, many individuals on a grief journey, both in-person and through the internet. I only ask that you evaluate your words and expressions to eliminate judgment to offer your opinions and comments as options for consideration, as I try to do.
Hello Tim, looks like we will have to agree to disagree on this subject, I can't agree that your way is right, nor can I say that my way of handling grieving is wrong, as you say, there is no "One coat fits all" solution.
It would appear that you have a much greater experience in dealing with this subject, mine, is my personal experience, as I always hope to make clear in anything that I write, it worked for me, and, having watched others enduring long period grieving, where their life and the lives of their family were damaged badly, I feel great concern.
I would have hoped for the views of others on this thread, my original reason for posting, there must be several ways of working through this period and the experiences of others may help someone who is struggling at the moment.
Whilst I remain convinced that letting grieving persons know that long term grieving is not "the expected thing" to allow them to make a decision that will not be frowned on by others, and, for their own healths sake.
Yes Tim, maybe I was a bit adamant in the way I wrote my post, put it down to lack of my experience in that art.
Trevor, thank you for your latest post. I apologize if I sounded strident or inconsiderate. Part of it may have been the death of two co-workers in the last week, where I have been providing help and support to many in the workplace, which was stressful for me. As a result, I think I did not exercise the patience to step back and "take a breath" before responding or in deciding how to respond. I appreciate your intent (and your website) and look forward to our offering our unique experiences to help others.
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