Loss, grief and bereavement

There is no timetable for how long grief lasts, or how you should feel after a particular time. After twelve months it may still feel as if everything happened yesterday, or it may feel like it all happened a lifetime ago. These are some of the feelings you might have when you are coping with grief longer-term.

Learning to live with the loss of someone you love can take a long time, and just as everyone’s grief is different, so each person feels differently as time passes.

When will I feel better?

You and the people around you may have expectations about how quickly you should move on. But grief changes over time, as you understand how different your life is without the person. We are all different and there is no timetable for how long it will take you.

The length of time is different for each person. For most people it is a long process and it can take years. After about two years you are likely to know the places, events and occasions that trigger your emotions. As you start to know these, you will also learn what helps you to cope with them.

After a while people around you – family, friends and colleagues at work – may forget what you have been through, or may encourage you to move on. You yourself may even feel that you ought to have moved on. But the goal is not to move on. Your grief is not something that can or should be ‘fixed’. The goal is to find a way to live with and cope with your feelings.

Friends, relatives and even work colleagues, are likely to be very conscious of what has happened and make time and effort to support you. But gradually things settle down and support from friends and relatives wanes. Only then do you have the time and space to understand how different your life is without the person you loved and to grieve for that loss.

There are lots of reasons why you might find it hard to talk about how you’re feeling. If you are not normally someone who talks about your emotions, you are not likely to start now.

But you may find that other people who are also grieving do want to talk about it, or want you to talk about it. When this happens you need to try to find a way to be sensitive to each other’s needs, whilst coping with your feelings in your own way. When someone dies, relationships and communications within families can become strained. Sometimes families don’t talk to each other about their emotions.

While no-one can understand exactly how you are feeling, you may find sharing your feelings and experiences with a Counsellor or others at a support group can help.