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How Long Does It “Last?”

by Chaplain Julia Rajtar, MAPS, BCC


A question frequently expressed by the bereaved is, “How long does it [grief] last? Facing a death can feel overwhelming and may seem unimaginable. The pain of the loss can be so intense it can feel like it will never end. At times it may feel like we are all alone and no one else in the world understands. Speaking from my own experience, grief never ends. It does change, though. There is no “magic” time frame to our grief, like a year or so.


Grief is love, a love that does not want to let go. While we mourn the death of our person, we seek ways to carry that love with us, differently obviously, yet in our hearts, minds, and stories. “That stretches us because no one wants to let go of love. As we mourn our loss, we learn to live with our grief finding other ways to carry and hold that love.


Sometimes, grief is not love. Sometimes it is the absence of love. Sometimes it is the love we craved from a parent that never came. Sometimes it is the love we put into another person and never receive in return. That bond of love, or its absence, still unites us together as we grieve. Along the way, we seek ways to hold, carry, and live with or without that love.


So, how long does it [grief] last? Always. It is quite intense at first, and for each of us, the duration of intensity is different. As we continue to adapt to our loss, that grief quiets down. We will always miss those we love, even long after they have died.



To Read More on the Subject:

What’s Your Grief:

More Bakken Young Free Resources

The Columbia Center for Complicated Grief

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