Our society has it all wrong when it comes to timelines and grief. Our workplace gives us four days off, our friends think that after the funeral or celebration everything is back to “normal.” We think that at the most three or four months of grieving, and then we should be over it.

This is simply incorrect. So often people call us very early on in their grief thinking that there must be something wrong with them because it’s been six months and they are still feeling horrible or even sometimes worse than before.

I really need you all to hear that this is normal. For many people, grieving can take a long time. For all people, grief is not linear. It is not unusual for someone to feel worse months into his or her grief. We move back and forth, up and down, around and around. If you can imagine, it’s like untangling a huge and complicated knot. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes effort.

We think that we can get over a loss of our person in a short period of time, but we grieve the loss as we move through the world. It is by going about our day that we notice and feel the absence of our person. This is the work. 

Sometimes, because of circumstances, we don’t even allow ourselves to grieve until long after the loss. This too is surprising. I remember a lady moved away and came home after two years. This is when her grief showed up for her.

So, be gentle, let yourself take the time you need. Our grief will change over time, but it will still be there. We will always miss our people.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs