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Chelsea Hanson

Chelsea Hanson is a nationally recognized grief educator, creator of the Loss to Legacy MethodTM, author of six gift books and founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes (http://www.withsympathygifts.com), which is an online memorial gift store and grief support center. Chelsea’s published books...

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With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes

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06/18/2015 10:24pm
Grieving Process: How Long Will Grief Last?

The reality is that you will grieve forever.
You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.
You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.
You will be whole again, but you will never be the same.
Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In the grieving process, you may hear people ask, "Isn't it time you let go?" or "Shouldn't you be over it by now?" These questions reflect the misconception that there is an acceptable amount of time to grieve. However, your sorrow is unique to you and your relationship with your loved one.
There are no short-cuts or quick fixes. Sorrow doesn't follow a linear timeline. The healing process varies.
You will learn to live with your loss. This doesn't imply you'll never be joyful again and not able to step forward; it simply means that your loved one will continue to be important in a different way.
Those who have not lost a piece of their heart expect sudden loss survivors to be back to "normal" within a few weeks or months. Others may encourage you to suppress your sorrow due to their own discomfort and helplessness surrounding grief. They don't want you to be in pain, but don't know how to help. Thus, others may pressure you to "move on" and "get back to normal." But there is no benefit to speeding through sorrow. You will heal in your own time and re-enter life gradually as a changed person with a "new normal."
Others should not expect you to be the same after grief. Life changes you, whatever the experience. For example, you are not the identical person after getting married, having a child, changing careers or getting divorced. Similarly, you are irrevocably changed and transformed by loss and will form a new understanding of life, love, meaning and purpose.
Most people expect grief to be over within a year, at the very most. Unfortunately, grief is a lifelong process. Instead, you will live beside it as you merge sudden loss into your life. Just as you will be influenced by the love of your beloved person throughout your life, you will be impacted by the loss. As Author Helen Fitzgerald so eloquently said, "At some point your grief will end, but this doesn't mean that there will ever be an end to the sense of loss."
You are the master of your grief journey.
You are the expert of your healing.
You are the teacher to those who don't understand.
Be empowered to ignore the judgmental responses or inaccurate interpretations of your experience. Take the opportunity to educate others on what you need.
When you've lost someone, you may feel very fragile. But the many suggestions from friends and family may make you feel overwhelmed or unsure. Take heart, and think about what is right for you by listening to your inner self.
How can you respect your unique healing timeline?
Chelsea Hanson, grief educator and life coach, guides heart-based women through the transformative process of grief to make their life and work matter in honor of those they love. For her FREE mini-class, The Art of Life - Create a Meaningful and Joyous Life You Love, visit http://www.ChelseaHanson.com. For her FREE guide, What to Say and Not Say at Time of Loss, visit http://www.WithSympathyGifts.com. This article was originally published at http://withsympathygifts.com/blog/grief/grieving-process-how-long-will-grief-last/ and has been syndicated with permission.


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