One Year, One Month

In my counseling class, there was a woman who ran a widows/widowers support group. She herself had lost her husband several years ago, and had started this group to provide help for others in a similar position.

During a class on grief, she shared this: “For someone that has lost a significant relationship, for every year of that relationship, it takes a corresponding month to fully grieve. So when I lost my husband of 48 years, it took me about 48 months, or 4 years, to fully grieve.”

This isn’t an ironclad rule, of course. One of the main lessons about grief is that it’s unpredictable and nonlinear. Some people’s grieving process is shorter, others are more protracted. Yet it is a reminder that moving through grief takes time. Someone in grief may feel fine after a few months, but then be hit with another wave of loss. Yet that is not evidence of regression, but simply that grief is still taking its time.

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